Black Reparations

I used to be pretty liberal.  I was for the helping of minorities through the affirmative action program.  However, over time I began to understand that these programs sometimes reward mediocrity by giving the contract/job to some of lesser ability soley due to race.  A job/contract should be given to someone/company solely because of their ability.  If that means all black builders, or none, then so be it.  Imagine that I am owner of a baseball team.  I am going to have tryouts and get the best baseball players I can.  I may have an all white team, or I may have an all black team.  Either way, if I stay true to the notion of hiring the best players, then I will have a competitive team.

Now, on to reparations.  I used to think that this notion was the cutting of a check to individuals because of their skin color.  I was against this notion, and this is the paradox with my conservative notions that individuals know best how to spend their money.  It would be too costly to give every black American a check that would amount to anything.  My grandmother won part of a lottery… the check was for twenty-four cents… less than the price of mailing it.

However, reading about Liberation Ideologies lately, I come upon the notion of reparations.  The notion is that instead of individual checks, money will be spent on colleges and low interest loans for black businesses.  There is an argument within the black community in that they say that there is no such thing as collective guilt, and that present day white Americans had nothing to do with slavery and shouldn’t be owing anything of the sort.

This idea, however, has merit for me.  The part that I like is the money for schools.  The South, today, is slowly making progress, but is behind in many ways.  I left Arkansas, but I debated within my heart for some time, and the issue is not dead, that perhaps I need to return to the State, that I could be one more light, one more person that is for equality and tolerance and liberty.

Education in Arkansas is consistently at the bottom.  They compete with Mississippi for the bottom spot… and the other Southern states are in the mix as well. 

And here is where some of my socialist leanings come in, though I don’t think it is as clear-cut as this… in that a chain is as strong as its weakest link.  The poorest, most uneducated, area in the country is the South.  This isn’t to say that they are all backwards, they aren’t, but the technical skills training are lower in the South.  Clinton, heralded in Arkansas as bringing the state up from the mud, didn’t do much for the state’s education levels.

I am for spending much more money on colleges, and right now those with greatest need are those in the South, and particularly the black colleges.  More books, more aids in the classroom, wireless access across the campus, and cheap or obtainable laptops for the students.  It is nice that at PSU one can carry a laptop to different classes and while the history professor talks about the Donatists, one can look up online an internet filled with information about the Donatists.

This isn’t fair, to be sure… there are lots of other colleges that could use the money as well.  I’d like to see them get funding also, but let’s take care of the ones in worse shape first.  And I make no distinction to size either, whether it has a hundred students or ten thousand.  I want the same access to technology and libraries for the small school as the large school.  I was upset that the library at PSU is not as good as that at U of O, but when I searched for various books and found them at other universities, such as Western Wahsington, Oregon State, and Reed College, it took two days for that book to be delivered to PSU.  This inter-library network makes my library truly amazing.  I’d like to see black colleges have similar networks, or if they do  have them, have them upgraded with speed (there must be trucks and drivers to move these books).

As the posters say, Black History is Everyone’s History, and this is true… for we are all one America.  I disagree with calling people African-Americans, or the like… we are all Americans.


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