Sorry for my absence. I have been swamped trying to play catch up since I got back to the states.
I wanted to respond to a couple of outstanding questions that clearly have some import with regards to my standing in the ongoing conversation.
First one asked by Nate:
"They benefited, now [it's] our turn"
 What do you mean by that?
 You seem to be drawing some paralell between the way white people benefitted from slave labor and how Black people will benefit from reparations. Please expand on that.
Nate: I never once made the connection between black reparations and white priviledge. You did that... very early on, I might add. My comment was never about the contrasting of white advantage versus that of black condition.
And it was admittedly unfair of me to allow you to continue down a dark road of your own making just so I could have fun poking you with a stick. I knew that you were mis-reading the statement, even after I provided you with one of your own direct quotes to clarify it, and I was in no real hurry to lift the fog from your view.
My original point was that you used historical reparations as not only a model but a point of justification (unless I am missreading your comments) and I would submit that it's a road that leads to a flawed conclusion and dangerous intellectual precipice.
When you introduce a model for justification that states...
A. Japanese (or any of the other groups you mentioned) received reparations for unjust acts at the hands of the US Government.
B. Blacks have been treated unjustly at the hands of the US Government.
C. Blacks deserve reparations
...you open up a flank on your position that didn't need to be there. Now, you are not only caught defending your central point: that reparations are a just method of 'leveling' the historic and institutional disparity between blacks and whites... but you are now are forced to defend the adherence to the model itself. And every deviation from the existing model becomes a weakness in your overall argument.
My point, to make it loud and clear, was that slavery was a unique experience in America. The resulting institutional racism, rape and murder that paralleled it were too unique. If you are going to call for reparations, and I still personally have my doubts, then one shouldn't ever (in my estimation) introduce exisiting historic models into the conversation. The argument must be made and carried on unique grounds that no model yet exists to cover.
Even alluding to "they got their's and now we want our's" arguments or positions trivializes the enormity of the impact of slavery.
In my humble opinion. :-)
Second one by EbonyRose:
quote:Native Alien ... I have a question for you!
Do you not believe it is necessary and/or possible and/or would be advantageous for us to both receive governmental reparations and establish a movement which works to uplift ourselves?
Right now, we have neither one ... but would it not/could it not be more beneficiary to use the available resources of one to supplement the success of the other? Or do you believe that the twain should not meet? That there should be only one way by which we accomplish our goal?
I am not certain it would help, EbonyRose. Asians, for instance, come over here and establish economic cooperatives within their communities without the help of government. These are informal community lending clubs that start with a bunch of folks with little and grow to having something for all. While I know this occurs in the black community in pockets, Asians have proven extremely successful in community-based self-reliance. It is but one reason I don't see that the governement's money is only or even the best way to proceed.
I have worked with a number of programs that not only assist the economically disadvantaged (of all colors) in gaining access to opportunity but also work to help those people interacting with the poor, in business and education, understand and navigate the culture of poverty successfully.
I say that to say this: there is a reason that many of the lottery winners you read about find themselves months or years later in the same financial shape they were in before they won. Money is not the only variable missing in those who are economically disadvantaged. I would submit that it isn't even the most important variable. There is a culture of poverty that impacts worldview, speech, class, gender relationships, etc. It is a quantitative culture with specific rules, limits, and roles. And it is powerful.
Figuring out how to break through that powerful and palatable culture is what those interested in helping the disavantaged should be talking about, again.. in my humble opinion. Until then it doesn't matter because being poor has it's own rules and introducing abstract concepts like "a movement" fails to resonate for the poor looking to survive in America and exist in a culture which in many ways breeds characteristics that sabotage the poor's attempts at survival.
In the final analysis, EbonyRose, I guess I see reparations as another band-aid on a gushing wound. It is nice to talk about. It certainly gives blacks something to beat each other about (in proving their level of blackness), but in the end... there will always be poor people living lives less than imagined. There are dirt poor white people living in the Appalachians right now. They are not there because of slavery and reparations will not help them escape their condition.
If we can break through the culture of poverty we can help all of those in need, regardless of skin color. I guess my compassion extends beyond simply poor blacks (but is certainly inclusive of them) but also is concerned with making lives better for everyone living the kind of life I used to live.
Finally, any conversation about reparations that excludes how the majority (whites) would accept the message -- and now I'm talking about marketing -- solely because those advancing the point are afraid of seeming like they are kowtowing to whites or are a mouthpiece for "the man" is doomed to failure. Unless someone has a plan to clone Sen. Barak Obama the last I looked the Senate has one brotha. Any plan must take into consideration the marketing of said plan to the majority of the country. Any consideration less than that is both naive and Quixotic.
Thanx for your question and please let me know if I answered it to your satisfaction.