“The major sources of wealth for most of the super rich are inheritances and in life transfers. The big reason is racial differences in access to resources to transfer to the next generation.” – William Darity
– Matt Bruenig
The need for reparations for African and Native Americans is real.
It is also not enough.
Reparations are a stop gap. A token of good faith and intention. A necessary step in the direction of a society that has a chance to rebuild itself toward equity and justice.
This topic is on my mind and heart a lot lately because of things I witness in my communities and in the lives of friends.
These things fill me with anger, as they should.
The need for reparations, and for truth, and perhaps eventually, a long time from now, for some sort of reconciliation, are tied to the history of oppression and dehumanization that infiltrates our society today.
The ramifications of racism, white supremacy, bigotry, wealth-hoarding, and entrenched systems of inequity mean that we cannot simply say “slavery ended a long time ago.”
We cannot simply say “Native Americans should just leave the reservation if they don’t like it.”
There is no “getting over it”, when one lives within systems of oppression, even when one lives a relatively happy and successful life.
Instead of Black, or Latinx, or First Nations people “getting over it,” how about white people increase our awareness of the oppressive systems at play, and do something to change our society’s values?
In the United States, wealth is measured by property, education, assets, and money.
1,400 Americans control most of the wealth in the US. These are the .01%.
The .01% own exponentially more assets than the top 1%.
The top 1% are predominantly white.
White people don’t control most of the wealth because they are smarter or work harder. White people control most of the wealth because of systematic oppression, white supremacy, and the continued impact of personal bias, and racist policies.
When systems are set up to disenfranchise whole sectors of a population – and keep them from educational opportunities, voting, internships, funding, housing, loans – there are almost no avenues available for wealth accrual.
And under capitalism, wealth and property accrual are the only things that seem to matter.
Out of 540 billionaires in the US, two are African American.
Accruing money and land does nothing to help the soul.
However, access to basic resources makes day to day life much easier and less stressful.
Stress causes health problems. Lack of resources also leads to extreme lack of time. Lack of time leads to difficulty in taking care of the most basic of life’s needs.
Astonishingly, even under crushing circumstances, creativity rises, a testament to spirit. [Read more…] about Reparations Are Not Enough: Thoughts on Inequity and Justice