Let me break this down real simple. No political spin for Democrats or Republicans. Whites or blacks. Particularly though for my white friends who get so angry at the mention of slavery and its impact.
Generational wealth is built over generations. A generation is 40 years. Let's do the math. At the time of the Declaration of Independence (1776), African slavery was legal in all 13 colonies.
By the time of the American Revolution, slavery had become institutionalized across the U.S. Meaning, blacks were chattel (property) and whites were persons. Chattel worked. They could not own the land they worked on. Whites profited and passed down their wealth.
Chattel was forbidden from learning to read though they built the schools. Knowledge and opportunities to become educated were passed on generationally by and through whites. Not so for the chattel.
Whites progressed through cohesive family units working together, building family-owned businesses. Chattel could not form cohesive family units. They were property not "people" and children, men and women were sold to work for no wages. No wages.
White "family-owned" businesses, through chattel free labor, were made astronomically profitable because but for the minimal cost of some materials (even the trees for lumber were cut down by the chattel), there were no labor costs, no wages to be paid, so it was all straight profit; making them exponentially profitable as those businesses grew and were passed to the next generation and grew even wealthier, or were sold at a profit. For the chattel, nothing.
It wasn't until 1865 that slavery ended. Then 100 more years of Jim Crow where blacks, though no longer considered chattel were redlined, whites would not sell them land, they could not get loans even if they had stellar credit and could repay them.
They could not get white-collar jobs, higher paying jobs, though qualified. Had to go to school longer, work longer to get jobs they were over-qualified for yet even those went to less qualified whites who earned more. All of this.
Do the math. If 40 years is a generation (and it is), only since the Voting Rights Act, Fair Housing Act... 1964, 1965 have we even been able to begin to work, prosper and pass on what "wealth" we could work for. Meanwhile, white generational wealth continued to steamroll.
From 1776 to 1965 is 189 years. One hundred eighty-nine years divided by 40 (a generation) is 4.7 or 5 generations. Blacks in America by 1965 were already 5 generations behind the curve.
To put that in context; in one generation, thousands; the next generation tens of thousands; the next generation hundreds of thousands; the next generation, millions as populations grew.
None in each of those generations were paid for their labor. Not to mention the inventions and recipes stolen in those 189 years which we couldn't own and patent but whites did; capitalized on, some even building their brand and empire on (i.e., Jack Daniels), handing down as theirs through generations to their families.
How could we build wealth? It's not that we were lazy, far from it. It's that we were shut down, shut out and not even considered as human beings.
Add loses from systemic racism from 1965 onward. Negative economic impact? Astronomical. Easily in the trillions.
So when many of my white right friends and the black right of the world (God bless their hearts) who fall in with the madness by putting forth the silly argument that blacks should be further along and the playing field is now equal - it is not. It can never be equal. Such loses can never be regained, certainly not recouped.
Add to that, we forsook the God of our fathers and put our trust in the very people who held their boot on the neck of our ancestors.
Don't be deceived, white Democrats and white Republicans all benefited, still are...It wasn't their party, it was their race from which they benefited at our expense and at the expense of generations.
That's why I finally divorced myself from both parties. I am evangelical because I believe every word of the Bible to be true. I believe strongly in the family because it is God's design.
If you think that puts me squarely in a political camp - you're wrong. And we have been wrongly brainwashed to believe that one party "owns" family values and Christianity. Like many in the world of politics, I thought I had to be one or the other, to be "included."
I have since learned better and have a more accurate view of who I am, more important whose I am (God's) and it's why I can write so freely these kinds of pieces. I get it from both sides because I kowtow to neither side. I don't have to belong to any party or tribe and don't.
I am a student of government, history, Christianity, and leadership. If you take the emotion out of it, the racism out of it, the offensiveness out of it and looked at this issue realistically...
Yes, black people are and have been historically at an economic disadvantage because of the legacy of slavery.
It was impossible to build while for generations physically and psychologically chained; and, for generations more, dehumanized. You can't build on thin air.
And this isn't whining nor am I making excuses. Truth is the truth.
You can't begin a race, spot a white runner two feet from the finish line while the black runner is chained to the starting block - shoot the starter gun, wave the flag as the white runner crosses the finish line, then dog out the black runner in the starting block for not running faster and harder to catch up when finally free.
There is no catching up and there can never ever be any reparations. Generations hence can never ever be "repaired" or "repaid." Lives destroyed, so much potential generational wealth and prosperity forever lost generationally to history.
And politicians on both sides need to quit politicking this issue. We deserve better than this cheap political theater; carrot and stick routine for cheap political points they know is pointless and for what? Votes.
America could never repay or pay for that which it has so richly profited at the expense of generations of black people.
Do we still suffer the consequences generations and generations hence? You bet we do. The break up of our families didn't start with the welfare state, but with the United States.
We never should have been lacking anything and certainly not lagging for generations economically and educationally behind.
American slavery was evil. Jim Crow was evil. Racism is evil. But, there is a God in heaven.
Only God and not any politician can force repayment and right so much devastating wrong.
Who is to pay? Where will the dollars come from? How much? To whom? Who gets to decide? The politicians in Washington, D.C.? Please.
Most of them can't find their butt with both hands, let alone find the fortitude to even broach the topic of dollars for reparations. Little more than political theater by D.C. drama queens and wanna-be kings.
Many of my generation as was our fathers' and mothers' generation before us; and theirs from generations past hold fast to the belief that God yet reigns.
The same God that delivered then will deliver now. The same God that provided then, provides now.
He is a God of justice and righteousness and only He can repair and repay.
It is foolhardy to keep pushing even the notion that the hand that once enslaved will ever be the hand that repays.
Not on this side of glory.
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