You know that I think about this issue a lot, and from a variety of angles. This just came to me and I'm curious about your thoughts. MBM
If the U.S. were to ever acknowledge a debt to slave descendents, would it also - by definition - have to acknowledge that same debt to poor and working class whites?
I argue that the strongest case for reparations is on the issue of non-payment of wages. If that were won, would poor whites have a case by, in essence, arguing the other side of slave reparations coin? Could they argue that the wages that didn't go to slaves, but that were earned, should actually have gone to them. Think about where many poor and working class families would be had they be given the opportunity to provide the labor that slaveholders sought to avoid by utilizing slave labor over many many generations. Through slavery, poor/working class whites were denied the opportunity to earn a decent living. Slavery suppressed their earning opportunities and kept them in poverty while rich whites got richer. Do they have a case? If so, what impact does that have on our case? Does it weaken our case? Could it stregthen it?