Beginning 400 years ago, and for more than 250 years of this stolen nation’s history, African slaves built the United States into one of the wealthiest countries on the planet. As a result, America owes an unconscionable and unforgivable debt to the ancestors of those slaves. As the country is challenged to confront both the violent legacy of slavery and the dehumanizing tradition of systemic racism that pervades every aspect of its society – especially now at this critical juncture in American history – it is finally time for that overdue debt to be paid in full. The thing is. most white folks are skeptical to downright offensive when it comes to reparations – after all, they have benefited the most from slavery, Jim Crow & systemic racism. By having a national conversation about reparations, and by ultimately paying them, the United States can right a historic wrong while building a stronger and more equitable future. That shouldn’t be something only advocated by Black Americans —it is time for white Americans to join the call as well. If Germany, Canada, France & Austria can do it, so can we!
The African American intellectual WEB Du Bois was right when he described the enslavement of at least 12 million Africans as “the sum of all villainies, the cause of all sorrow, the root of all prejudice”.