REPARATIONS – WHAT IT IS, WHAT IT IS NOT
Daoud J. Khaliq & Alex Davis
Reparations United Front
There is a lot of confusion about the issue of reparations. We hope to clear up any and all confusion about this all important issue and add to the understanding of it. First of all reparations (for Afrikan American slavery) is not a new issue. The concept has been around almost since the beginning of slavery, itself. Various leaders in the Afrikan-American resistance movement have spoken of and worked for reparations, among them David Walker, Frederick Douglass, Marcus Garvey, Martin L. King, Congressman John Conyers (author of HR 40, the reparations study bill), Rev. Jesse Jackson, Rev. Al Sharpton, Minister Louis Farrakhan and Minister Silas Muhammad among others.
Reparations – Definitions
Reparations is a complex, multifaceted issue. Reparations impacts on a variety of areas due to the complexity of the crimes committed against us and the consequences we suffered as a result of those crimes. Reparations is defined in 2 parts:
- A government acknowledged, apology, atonement and
compensation for it’s participation in the seizure and misuse of valuable property-labor property taken from Black Afrikan-Americans who were kidnapped and enslaved between 1775 and 1865 in this country, using that ill gotten property to unjustly enrich this country and help it become the great nation it is today, all without fairly compensating those Afrikan-Americans or their for the deliberate loss of said property.
- Compensation (demonstrating the atonement) for the 140 years (and counting) of a set of government supported activities called JIM CROWISM and BLACK SEGREGATION (including the lynching, murdering and raping of Black people and the razing of Black townships) all of which relegated Afrikan Americans to the bottom rungs of society).
- Compensation (demonstrating the atonement) at fair market value for continuing government supported anti-Black socio-political economic activities and their consequences that have deprived Afrikan Americans of respect and their rightful honored place in USA society.
NOTE: Internal reparations does not excuse, absolve or dilute the responsibility of the various US governmental components nor American corporations, vis-à-vis Black Americans and what it owes us. However, our redemption is both external and internal and will not occur without our taking responsibility for part of our own healing.
- Black assessment and identification of those negative and
debilitating aspects of our communities that we can mobilize
and organize our efforts to repair, reform and correct for
our own benefit.
- The formulation of actions plans – both short term and long
term – to address the problems and negative aspects,
assessed and identified, and the implementation of those
WHAT REPARATIONS IS
- It is our race-based quest for justice in America.
- It is our race-based quest for the restoration and redemption
of our dignity and positive worth as a people in this country
and on this planet.
- It is our relentless quest to achieve respect for simply being
Black people in the country and in this world. The single
collective existence of Black people in America and on this
planet is one of common, habitual and omnipresent
From that core (a nurtured product of white supremacy) all
else that ails us comes.
- It is the race-based quest for an APOLOGY (to our
ANCESTORS) An ATONEMENT (to demonstrate the
sincerity or at least the seriousness of the APOLOGY) and
COMPENSATION (in some form decided by Black people in
- It is our race-based quest to heal this country of its racist past
and present and to provide a viable, non-racist alternative for
this country’s future.
- It is the accumulation of overwhelming bushels of evidence, including personal testimony, property records and deeds, financial profits and transactions, historical documentation and a clear sense of righteous indignation together balled up into tight, steel-trap arguments that will compel victory in the foreseeable future.
- It is a national/regional struggle in the USA that is closely
intertwined with a global reparations struggle against vestiges
of colonialism and capitalist exploitation. A reparations victory
anywhere will show the way for reparations victories
- It is both an INTERNAL and EXTERNAL struggle to exact
acknowledgment, apology and atonement for this country’s
long-term abuse and exploitation of Black people.
- It is a demand for the release and return of our Black
- It is logical, it is correct and it is winnable.
WHAT REPARATIONS IS NOT
- It is not a plea for a hand-out, another welfare program, or an
extortion plot to fleece White folk. Reparations is not solely an
economics issue – we cannot buy the respect that is due us.
- It is not a substitute for regular and ordinary social
programming done by the USA government.
- It is not a far-out fantasy of the lunatic fringe.
- It is not an issue that Black people will simply forget and “get
- It is not going to be won by trying to solve all our problems
at once. We must focus our efforts.
- It is not the panacea for all Black problems, but it is the
beginning of our being able to end those ills that have kept
us down for so long.
- It will not cause more racial friction; it will finally allow racial
healing in America.
- It is not a struggle that can be won by one segment of the
Black population in the USA. To win, we need a coming
together of virtually all segments of the Black population.
- It is not a struggle for the lazy and/or one-time participant. To
win this struggle we must be RELENTLESS for reparations.
- It is not a struggle that will be won by EMOTIONS,
ZEAL,RIGHTEOUSNESS and PASSION alone.
We must have continuous strategic planning, common sense,
mother wit and mutual respect to get this great task
We hope to be given the opportunity to share more
news and information concerning the Reparations
Movement with our comrades in Pasadena and San
Gabriel, as well as the rest of the nation.