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Reply to "A REMISS SOCIETY MUST STAND THE GAFF"

Souljah,

I think that you have two different subjects here. They're both important, but they are quite different.

the first one is about reparations. Gen. Sherman's Special Field Order No. 15, the one about "forty acres and a mule," and which is quoted often among us, did two things:
1. It established reservations for blacks in South Carolina and Florida (was there one other place? I don't remember that. Could have been, though).
2. It restricted the forty acres and a mule to the freed blacks living on the Sea Islands of South Carolina, and actually it was "no more than forty acres" and an army mule no longer fit for army service.

I'm not sure that we can build a case for universal reparations for African Americans based on this. We have to use other arguments.

The other issue that you raise is the one of racism. A much more serious issue than reparations, it strikes at the heart of human nature and therefore is going to be much harder to erase.

The two are not connected or related in any way. Reparations is external, decided upon by government (even if prompted by the people). Racism is internal, arising from our innate fear of "the different."

Therefore reparations will not solve the problem of racism.

Let's say that everyone gets, oh, $50,000 (it's just a number out of the air. Choose your own if you'd like). A. What will we do with it? B. What difference wiill it make in society?

Well,
A. Some of us--a lot of us, if the history of lotto winnings is any indication--will spend it on gambling or drugs or car(s) or general celebrating until it is gone. Then what? Some will invest it and make more. Then will we hear cries about sharing what's fair? ("Yo, black! Help a bro'!")

Well, that is merely an idle question. However, one thing we do know: money creates its own problems.

B. OK, so what about the racism that takes up most of yor post (and rightly so)? How will reparations help that?

It won't. Racism is merely a species of fear, some of which is justified. The part that is was shown a few years ago in a series of psychological tests designed to detect prejudice (in its technical meaning of "prejudged conclusions"). Men and women were placed in a room doing everyday kinds of things while connected to soemthing like a lie detector that registered heart rate and blood pressure and such. Then different people would walk into the room, and the subject's reaction was recorded.

Those reactions showed fear or concern in this ascending scale:

white women
black women
white men
black men

And the subjects all recorded the same order of fear or concern, even when black women or men were the subjects. the fear was less in the black subjects, but it was significant.

This means that we feel the same kind of fear when we face each other that whites do when they face us.

There's a reason for it. The reaction was universal. Our gansta rappers and home boys don't do us any good.

Now, this is just to say that some--not the majority--of racism has some justification. We have to recognize that we have a certain responsibility for it. Not much, but some.

Now, about your job: this is much worse, and much harder to rid ourselves (as humans) of. It's been a handy evolutionary reaction for millions of years, and city life in the last, what, five thousand years?, is not going to rid us of it. It's dislike or fear of the different. In nature, the different eats the different. That is ingrained in us.

Today that shows up as color prejudice among even us--I have heard many women say that they prefer the dark men. Julian Bond need not apply, I guess. Fortunately (for me) I am of the "dark man" profile, but it bothers me that some of us, subject to exactly what you describe, would still do much the same thing. My lighter cousin would be considered second-string because of his color? And by people of "his own" color?

You see how deep the impulse for racism runs?

Reparations cannot help that.

Only we people working together can.

Maybe reparations is a good idea, and maybe it isn't. It is not my intention to debate reparations. Rather my point is that racism is universal, it is not subject to external "solutions," and we--black and white--have to work on it together.

Let's see: how about taking our reparations money, pooling it, and building businesses so that we all can get work?

Oops, there's always people like "Rev" Lyons who will take the money and buy a house for his mistress. A kind of mini-Enron, wasn't he?

The answer will not be so easy.
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