Kwame Akoto-Bamfo's "Nkyinkim" sculpture, dedicated to the memory of the victims of the Transatlantic slave trade, is displayed at The National Memorial For Peace And Justice in Montgomery, Alabama, on July 6, 2018. (Photo By Raymond Boyd/Getty Images)
Kwame Akoto-Bamfo's "Nkyinkim" sculpture, dedicated to the memory of the victims of the Transatlantic slave trade, is displayed at The National Memorial For Peace And Justice in Montgomery, Alabama, on July 6, 2018. (Photo By Raymond Boyd/Getty Images)

Reparations. Reparations. Reparations. Reparations? Reparations! Yes, reparations.

Everybody seems to be talking about reparations for descendants of enslaved Africans in the United States. And while literally everything that could be said about reparations for slavery has already been said, everybody just hasn’t said it yet, so here I go.

Reparations are not a bunch of checks to Black folks to purchase new rims for their Escalades and what not. Such checks would be delivered on Friday and back in the hands of white folks by Monday. High-end? Low-brow? It doesn’t matter, and thankfully reparations won’t happen that way. No checks.

Reparations are not increased funding for HBCUs, or giveaway programs facilitated by some churches, community centers. Reparations are not more and larger grants.

Reparations ought to be a sincere, vigorous effort by The White Man to repair the damage his abuse caused to millions and millions of kidnapped Africans, who made this country rich and strong, but who were enslaved and abused for more than 400 years. Apologize, Mr. White Man. Pay reparations to the former slaves. Repair the hurt you caused.

But I’m afraid white people are just too “contrary” to do what’s correct like beg for forgiveness for the way they treated Blacks. If Black folks are involved, white folks will reject that which is even in their own best interests. Their hatred of Black people, their deceit and dishonesty know no bounds. They will never pay, unless they’re made to pay.

They believe that this oppressive, murderous, treacherous, Trump regime was sent to them from Heaven above, when it is really taking them to hell … on a rocket. They believe that Black people should be grateful for being brought here from the jungles of Africa. They are as wrong as wrong can be.

Look at the way they treated First Nations people, from whom they stole this continent. The White Americans violated every single treaty they signed — some with blood with the Native Americans. Indians say: “White Man speak with forked tongue.”

What reparations are truly about is The White Man doing right by his slaves. Making an expression of debt and gratitude to millions of people for centuries of free labor, labor which made America rich. Rich.

After the Civil War, the land owned by the treasonous Confederates was seized by the Union, and was to have been given to male freedmen in the quantity of 40 acres, with a mule, compensation, to help the lowly freed slaves get on their feet in the new society. But after Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, his successor Andrew Johnson vetoed the legislation, the confiscated land was returned to the traitors, in 1877 federal troops which had been a protection for the freedmen, were withdrawn from the South, and Blacks were left at the mercy of their former masters. The white terrorist night riders were born, to force Black back into servitude.

So, it’s clear to me. This White Man will not do the right thing by his former chattel unless he is forced. Sixty-five years after Brown v. Board, there seems to be more open hatred and hostility expressed toward Blacks than before the civil rights movement. Yes, there is some racial understanding, but not enough to offset the daily abuse shown by die-hard white “deplorables.” They hate Black people/Muslims, and they’ve got leaders who are encouraging the worst from white folks, rather than their “better angels.” And these are the people who must agree to grant reparations to African descendants of slaves.

They really loathe living around Blacks and preach “go back to Africa,” but they would never enable or even permit Blacks to leave them to live in a separate state or territory.

My last takeaway about reparations is that they will not be forthcoming anytime soon, despite the worthiness of the cause of reparations payments for slavery, unless that is, a tremendous force acts, and changes that recalcitrant white mentality.

Askia Muhammad

WPFW News Director Askia Muhammad is also a poet, and a photojournalist. He is Senior Editor for The Final Call newspaper and he writes a weekly column in The Washington Informer.

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