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Tearing Down Confederate Monuments Does Not Equal Reparations to Black People

 

by Alberta Parish

On Sunday, August 20, 2017, I took my mother to the hospital where all I saw were elderly Black women and one elderly Black man occupying the rooms in the emergency department.  As I looked upon their faces, I couldn’t help but think about how each of them had gone through an era in which they’d experienced racial violence on both a systematic and social level, and how those experiences have contributed to the various illnesses that many are now suffering.  That emergency room looked pretty bleak for Black people, many of whom have all kinds of health issues that are directly related to stress and poverty.  In fact, stress has been linked to heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer.  Stress and poverty have also contributed to the high mortality rate including infant mortality rate in the Black community.  Most Black women are working longer hours because they’re single parents.  A lot of Black women are having children with men who don’t really have anything of substance to offer them.  You are responsible for ensuring that your children do not go to bed hungry, which means you must have some form of income.  However, the unemployment rate for Black men is 40%+ in most urban cities.  Most Black communities in this country are economically impoverished.  In addition, the majority of mom and pop businesses in Black neighborhoods are not owned and operated by Black people, which is a stark difference to the early 20th Century when there were a few wealthy Black communities like the one that existed in Greenwood, Oklahoma.  Before integration policies were established during the Civil Rights Movement, Black Americans had total control of the businesses in their neighborhoods and also supported other black-owned businesses in their communities.  As a result, a few Black communities such as Greenwood, Oklahoma also called Black Wall Street became wealthy.  In 1921, Greenwood was destroyed by White men after a White woman accused a Black man of sexual assault.

Today, most mom and pop businesses in predominantly Black communities are Asian-owned.  They tend to not employ a lot of Black people.  In fact, I personally know about seven soul food restaurants in Atlanta that are completely owned and operated by Black people.  Meanwhile, there are hundreds of Asian-owned restaurants in Atlanta.  I haven’t seen a black-owned supermarket or grocery store in my community.  But I have seen a couple of Asian-owned grocery stores in my community.  These stores are not as big as Kroger and Wal-Mart.  However, they’re doing pretty well.  Although there are more than a hundred black-owned hair salons in Atlanta, I don’t know one Black woman who owns a beauty supply store where Black women shop for hair weave and other beauty products.  Integration has proven to be ineffective for Black people just like it was for European Jews in Nazi Germany.  Many migrated to the United States after the Holocaust and, seventy years later, they have more wealth collectively as a group than Black Americans born in the past 65 years with ancestral history to these lands.

After segregation policies ended in the 1960’s, African-American businesses began dwindling.  Without an adequate amount of capital circulating in Black communities, Black theaters, banks, hotels and restaurants began closing.  Many Black owners were also forced to sell their businesses due to dwindling profits.  Black people wanted government jobs, and other lucrative employment opportunities only afforded to White Americans.  So they pushed for equal rights in education, housing, employment, etc.  Martin Luther King, Jr. and other civil rights leaders also wanted access to public facilities and restaurants where only White people were allowed.  After the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, many Black high school students were able to enroll in certain universities and colleges, which were previously off limits to Black people.  Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 established the Affirmative Action program under which many Black Americans had benefited.  As a result, a large majority of Black Baby Boomers were able to go to college when it was still affordable and get high-skilled jobs as well as government jobs that were traditionally White-male dominated.

Contrast 1964 to 2017 in which the average Black college student has up to $50,000 in student loan debt.  Some have over $100,000 in student loan debt.  Today, there are far too many Black people who are routinely disqualified from securing a bank loan to start a mom and pop business due to not having enough personal capital, and poor credit scores based on unpaid student loan debt, credit card debt, mortgage debt, etc.  If millions of Black people could secure loans similar to Asian immigrants, we could create our own jobs and employ our people in our own communities like the past Greenwood, Oklahoma community.  However, there are rules and regulations that systematically deny Black Americans start-up loans for businesses.  Change the rules, and the playing field can be leveled.  But systemic racism continues to deny bank loans to Black people based upon a set of rules that unfairly prohibit primarily the working-class poor from accessing capital due to their past credit history.  Unfortunately, many Black Americans have poor credit scores due to loan defaults, unexpected healthcare bills, and loss of employment.  Losing a major source of income can result in homelessness, car repossession(s), and loan defaults.  Most Black people do not have economic stability.  To pull yourself out of poverty, you must have economic stability for at least 20 years and more.  In addition, having one stream of income is not enough to live in the richest country in the world.  You better have some skills in addition to that job!  Like Dr. Umar Johnson said during a recent interview on the Breakfast Club, “As long as you have a skill, you can always feed your family but if all you got are degrees, you might end up in the unemployment line.”

The only thing a lot of Black children have to look forward to in 2017 is economic oppression.  A lot of people should never have created children, because they are not economically stable.  Love is not enough.  Love is not enough to settle down with someone who will not enhance your life in any way.  Neither is love enough to raise a Black child in a country where there are economic policies in place that give primarily one group an unfair advantage over another group.  Love won’t feed your child, and ensure his or her safety.  Love won’t ensure that your child has access to a great education in a great school environment.  Children need suitable health and dental care, suitable education, suitable housing, access to healthy foods, and they need parents who can provide emotional and intellectual support.  They do not need parents with either mental or emotional illnesses who have very little capital.  In addition to a poor diet, stress and poverty are killing a lot of Black people.  Having very little income sometimes means not having access to healthier foods.  It is well documented that many foods Americans consume have been sprayed with pesticides.  Many farm animals are injected with chemicals to help them grow faster, which in turn causes health problems for those who consume these animals.  Our food and water supply are deliberately being poisoned.  They’re genetically engineering food to feed billions of people currently on the planet.  However, these genetically-modified foods are doing more harm to our bodies than good.  But profits to these multi-millionaires/billionaires are more important than the health of the American people.

In America, children and elderly citizens are NOT greatly valued, because they represent the weakest of our society.  Every day, children go missing in the United States due to rapists, Satanist organizations and pedophile rings, many of which are owned and operated by business moguls, and other multi-millionaires as well as billionaires.  Thanks to social media, many of these people are being exposed.  They’re able to buy police departments, and therefore, have gotten away for years with crimes against children.  They have effectively covered up much of these crimes as a result of many law enforcement officials whom they have on their payroll.  Around each holiday, children go missing and many of them are never found.  There is no media blitz on these missing children like the media blitz on Donald Trump.  Thousands of children have been reported missing since last year, and there is no great outcry from citizens of this nation.  America is a land full of corruption, child sacrifice, greed, pedophilia, systemic racism, and inequality perpetuated by individuals who care nothing for human life, and would rather put every group except their own at an unfair advantage when it comes to economic equality than to lose the wealth they’ve accumulated through past racial violence, domestic terrorism and government policies.

Recently, many state leaders across the country have put plans in motion to remove Confederate monuments.  However, tearing down Confederate monuments does not equal reparations to the descendants of African slaves.  It only represents the tearing down of historical images that commemorate institutionalized slavery and domestic terrorism against Black people for hundreds of years.  But where are my monetary reparations?  If the United States Government is truly apologetic for crimes committed against my ancestors, then they would pay today’s Black Americans reparations for those crimes.  Unless the federal government plans to pay Black people reparations, then all other acts or gestures is really fruitless.  Show me the money!  Award government contracts to Black people!  Create programs funneling lots of money to Black people!  Create economic policies that give Black people immediate access to lots of capital!  Ensure that Black entrepreneurs won’t be denied for bank loans to start businesses!  Create a universal income for Black people!  It is time for this country to come to grips with the fact that it owes Black Americans reparations.  If U.S. politicians and political activists and ANTIFA and the Black Lives Matter organization aren’t talking about reparations to Black people, then all other talk about human rights to all people is only a talking point… something that they tell themselves to feel good about themselves and their existence in the world.

bullet columnist Alberta Parish is best known as a take-no-prisoners commentator, and author of “The Evil Within Him.”

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