It seems like only yesterday that Capitol Hill Democrats ‘promised’ to do something about the reparations issue as it affected Black folk. What African Americans (and I do interchange the use of Black and African American) got for those past election year promises was to watch the Democrat-held US House and Senate come up with more foreign aid (in rapid fashion) for the Ukraine in a matter of days. Not to be outdone, last year—while gas was cheap–there was a Biden Administration ‘float’ on the idea of a $450K payout for illegal aliens who were ‘wronged’ by coming into this country through our wide-open southern border.
But wait—there’s more.
Not to be outdone, Republicans (my party, by the way)—who stand a good chance of re-capturing the House and Senate in 2022—have remained blissfully silent about the reparations issue. They too were a part of the chorus of spending over the last several years on the Hill. Further, former President Donald Trump said and did very little on the reparations issue the last time out, nor does it look like he will do much on the matter in 2024—IF he decides to run again. He did do a lot for HBCUs, but no movement on reparations.
Black Lives Matter? On reparations for Black folk? As the old-line gangsters used to say: ‘Fuhgeddaboudit’. This conglomeration of Blacks and whites had a chance to REALLY help Blacks. Nope. They couldn’t even help Black crime victims’ families…but they DID manage to ‘help themselves’ to millions of dollars raised on behalf of African Americans (properties in ‘exclusive’ areas of the US and Canada, really?). Thus, the money is gone, the BLM leadership has been scattered to the four winds, and various tax agencies are hunting for them…and the money.
I would be amiss if I would leave this out. President Obama—and this is documented—helped the American Indians ‘settle’ the remaining lawsuits against the federal government into the millions of dollars. They got theirs by the bushel basket load. Those lawsuits dated back to the 1850s, I believe. Of course, Black folk are still awaiting that check from the good ‘ol U. S. of A for more than 150 years of services rendered. The Capitol Dome on The Hill. Yeah, our labor built that…and the bodies of some of those workers–slaves many of them IF not all of them are buried and their families STILL uncompensated in Arlington National Cemetery.
AMERICA: CHECK, PLEASE!
I’m no ‘late riser’ on the reparations issue. I’ve been writing on this topic off and on since the 90s. I have an electronic footprint on this topic the size of Godzilla (without the morning dragon breath). The Democrats talk but won’t do; the Republicans won’t talk OR do.
So, once again, reparations have been quietly shuttled to the back burner.
My phrase that will (hopefully) pay off someday is “America, Check Please!” For those who think that I’m too demanding, consider this little nugget of wisdom: EVERY other group of color in this country since this country was founded has gotten their check and/or settlement. The Indians have theirs, the Chinese, the Jewish, the Japanese, and others have had past financial and physical wrongs ‘settled’ in one way or another–with cash attached.
What about us?
Out in the private sector, the ‘woke’ crowd has used Black folk for ‘marching muscle’ and little more. The maskers and anti-maskers have failed to bring this matter to the table OR public comment. American corporations and social media creators have not held ‘blackouts’ (pardon the irony here) or shadow-banned people for not supporting reparations. Nary a peep out of the Hollywood or media streaming MSM. The comic book kingdom has been virtually silent. In our classrooms, we don’t have a ‘pro-reparations’ curriculum. In sports, I heard and seen more written about Black celebrities ‘pumping money’ into NASCAR sponsorships than ‘reaching out’ to other Black folk who pay THEIR hard-earned dollars at the box office and the sports stadium to ‘help’ make them famous.
Oh, and that last Super Bowl half time show? Didn’t hear a peep from ‘ol ‘Snoop’ (sans Martha Stewart) and company about reparations. No one ‘repped’ the reparations set. No one flashed signs in support of this issue. I guess this issue wasn’t ‘Black enough’ for them.
TO HONOR DR. KING:
I am penning this column just a few weeks ahead of the anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Perhaps you remember him? The bold preacher who led and marched for justice for Black folk ‘just’ so we can have the third Monday in January off every year—according to some of the ignorant in our society. IF our youth would take the time to search their Iphones for something more than music and mayhem, it would interest them to know that King’s second ‘March on Washington’ was scheduled to happen during the summer of 1968. He did go public on this fact.
His theme for the second march? Reparations for his people. It’s documented, baby!
An assassin’s bullet made sure that Dr. King didn’t make it past the spring of 1968. Now, I’m no ‘conspiracy theorist’, nor do I play one on the web. But it seems kinda strange that this part of the King dream is seldom mentioned. Why? Once again, an old street proverb—mess with someone’s money and you’ll get their attention.
Both the Civil Rights and the reparations issues started in the church.
Dr. King dared to mess with America’s money by reminding her that the same folk who worked in the fields for nothing, built the Capitol in Washington DC for nothing and cooked thousands of meals for other families NEVER got paid! Dr. King held a mirror up to America’s face and she did not like what she saw. Dr. King ‘got’ some attention for his stand in support of reparations. IF we truly want to honor him, let’s pick up his mantle and march forward with the mantra: “America, Check Please!” The election cycle is not that far away.
One of the past chief roadblocks against reparations from its critics is the following: “The documentation as to whom has been wronged have been lost to time.” That held water—until a few years ago. The federal government came out with a book—an 8,000-page BOOK that is available for FREE download entitled: “Dem Days Was Hell”. The subject: slavery. It contains documented interviews done by American writers featuring in-person interviews with surviving slaves who were still alive during The Great Depression. Those who were interviewed were from a variety of states—Including my home state of Indiana.
I’ve already downloaded my copy.
Further, the original writing project was paid for by the federal government under the programs put forth by the late President Franklin Roosevelt. All those original records STILL sit in federal vaults. It would NOT be that hard for Congress to set up a commission through, say, the Smithsonian (the history people), locate the documented families, pay them $550K each for the pain and suffering of their family member, and a fat 10% ‘Finder’s Fee’ for each of the families of the writers who interviewed, wrote, researched, and tracked down those living slaves.
No, everyone would NOT be getting a check initially…but this would be a GREAT ‘good faith’ payout. Under ‘The Ramey Reparations Plan’, at least SOMEONE would be paid—and, yes, it should be tax-free income. Who knows? We could see other ‘missing’ or ‘lost’ slave records surface from attics, barns, and shoe boxes quicker than you can say WOW!
REPARATIONS ARE BIBLICAL:
Why has the church world remained quiet—for the most part—on reparations for African Americans? As a Christian and Minister, myself, I am amazed at the crickets I have been hearing from many of our churches—Black, brown, and white.
Reparations ARE biblical. If you doubt me, read of how the Hebrews got their pay after more than 400 years of ‘free’. They spoiled the Egyptians and set the standard. Further in the Old Testament, when David and his men were robbed of their stuff; their wives and children were kidnapped, and homes were burnt to the ground, reparations were collected, and restitution made by those who were responsible.
These are two examples right from the KJV and there are probably others.
Bottom line? Abortion on demand is wrong, and the church has a lot of fight in it about this crucial issue. The ‘social agenda’ churches have a variety of causes they charge on about. Yet, few have championed “America, Check Please!”. Here’s my challenge to the church members who may be reading this column. Do your OWN homework in YOUR Bible. Search the Scriptures and write them down. THEN, take them to your Pastor and church leadership and ask them two questions. The first: “Why not?” The second: “When?”
That is, unless you like seeing the reparations issue on the back burner—again!
I also have a challenge for our young people. Those twenty—and thirty—somethings who seem to have more time for nonsense with their tech toys than finding out about their own history. Young person: you should KNOW that Black History is not ‘just’ for one month a year. Do your homework on the reparations issue and find out how many in YOUR family were slaves back in the day. Reparations is THE issue that should be on the front burner with the generations coming up behind us. Young person: don’t get sidetracked. Don’t yield to the diversions that ‘pop up’ to rob your time and your mind. Get focused! You want something to march and fight about? Here it is: “America, Check Please!”
Mike Ramey is a Retired Minister, KJV Bible Teacher, syndicated columnist and book reviewer who lives in Indianapolis, Indiana. “The Ramey Commentaries” is one of a variety of his columns appearing and abounding in print and cyberspace, written from a biblical, business, and common-sense perspective since 1996. To drop him a line—or a whine—the address is still the same: firstname.lastname@example.org. ©2022 Barnstorm Communications International.