The concept of reparations has origins back to the Civil War, when large parcels of land were given to freed slaves as reparations for their servitude. In South Carolina, Virginia, and Mississippi tens of thousands of acres of land were given or sold at a substantially reduced rate to black families. “40 Acres and a Mule” is often discussed in the context of reparations for slavery. However, strictly speaking, the various policies offering ‘forty acres’ provided land with a price tag— and not as unconditional compensation for lifetimes of unpaid labor.
Reparations continue to this day. West Germany paid reparations to Israel and the World Jewish Congress for confiscated Jewish property under Nuremberg laws, forced labor and persecution. However, no reparations were paid for killed Jews during the Holocaust. The German Government continues to pay reparations to Israel to this day.
So, clearly, the issue is not whether or not reparations have historical context, but whether or not they are due. In May of 2014, Tim Worstall (contributor with Forbes.com and a fellow at the Adam Institute of London) wrote a piece on the value of reparations in modern day America. According to his rationale, the total value of slave labor stolen, from the signing of the Declaration of Independence (when liberty was said to be unalienable) until the start of the Civil War is $378 billion. When compounded at 1% annually over 154 years, the modern value of that labor is $1.75 trillion.
Here’s the problem with the reparations argument. The United States spends the about $1 trillion annually on welfare programs. About half of that amount goes to medicare and half towards federal and state welfare programs. Although black Americans make up about 13% of the population, they account for 41% of welfare participants. You can do the math here, but in terms of tax dollars paid to black families, I think we’re paid up and then some. But back to the reparations movement. An emerging voice in the movement is a flamboyant YouTube personality by the name of Gazi Kodzo. Kodzo has been distributing bigoted videos for less than a year.
The troubling part of Kodzo’s retoric is that his following is growing. With 47,000+ subscribers, he is certainly building an audience. His most popular video, with over 600,000 views is one where he interviews submissive white hipsters. During the interview, Kodzo asks a series of questions about the interviewees beliefs on reparations and white oppression of American blacks. All of the interviewees give robotic answers where they accept responsibility for all of the woes in the black community and agree to pay for 500 years of slavery.
The concerning part comes when Kodzo asks “Prince” from Seattle about reparations. Prince spews out the same cuckolded sentiment as the rest of the crew, but he adds something at the end of his rant; “We’re coming to get it.” Jessie speaks after Prince; the talking points are similar if not the same as his predecessors, but at the end, he reinforces his “comrades” earlier comment. Jessie says, “You owe money and if you don’t give it, we’re coming to take it.”
At the end of the video, Kodzo directs viewers to visit www.uhurusolidarity.org, where a PayPal account has been set up to accept reparation payments from white Americans. The site also encourages whites to hold fund raisers for the purposes of donating profits to the movement. “Taking the Reparations Challenge is a way for the white community to pay reparations to the programs and organizations of the African People’s Socialist Party as it leads the struggle for self-determination worldwide. This is solidarity, not charity!”
A form provides several suggestions to raise funds for the APSP, including bake sales and house parties. All of this, standing alone, does not mean there is trouble on the horizon. But when aggregated with the recent murders of 5 police officers in Texas and 3 Police Officers in Louisiana, and the words of Sherelle Smith (“take the shit to the suburbs”); it doesn’t take a genius to deduce that the threat of additional violence is very high.
These racist people and organizations are reaching more people, as evidence by the increasingly accepted language on the news outlets. Even on Fox news, a BLM activist called for the abolishment of police departments. As far as Prince and Jessie goes, I have two words – Molon Labe.