Also from The Guardian: Slavery reparations: should aid money be used to pay for past misdeeds?
Hmm, start by calculating how much UK wealth was
derived stolen from Jamaica, and then…
That’s a handy formula for the US context too.
How far can this go? There were quite some events in mediaeval Europe that left whole ethnics displaced or eliminated… Where is the logical spot to put the historical cutoff and why?
I wonder if the UK will ask Jamaica to take responsibility and recognize that they are running a trade deficit, some with the UK and may want to contribute to the rehabilitation of their country and start paying that back.
So, if Jamaica can claim reparations for loses from slavery (ended there in 1832), presumably Britain can claim reparations from the Danes and Romans who previously enslaved Britons? A while back I had a stab at working out what the repayment with interest of the Danegeld paid by the English to the Danes in 10th and 11th centuries would be and came up with something of the order of five octillion pounds. Of course, Germany and Japan would have to pay everyone else a pretty big bill for WWII at the same time, as no doubt would the USA to it’s Native American inhabitants. When you look at it, this just really isn’t a feasible idea…
Also, General Sir James Duff, according to the original Gleaner story, was the son of Cameron’s Great Uncle, which doesn’t suggest he was a direct relative at all…
I suppose “as far back as we can reliably follow the money” would be one measure. For example, in many cases we can point to the families/corporations/governments directly involved with slavery and clearly show who the modern-day winners and losers from that practice are. Jamaica is one such example.
In other cases it’s less clear. For example, most modern-day residents of Northern Mexico are descended from both indigenous Americans and the Europeans who colonized the continent at the natives’ expense. So the blame for past misdeeds (and the issue of who owes who) is much more convoluted.
Reconciling historical atrocities is about leveling nepotism, power, and familial wealth. Not about years or cutoff dates. And it can be done with money, legislation, policy, education, and many other levers. Or hell, all of them.
The cutoff point is clear. Can you force them to do it?
Sad but true.
That would be much less straightforward. The modern UK is more or less the same government that enslaved the people of Jamaica, and it’s easy to follow how the effects of that slavery have played out over the last 180 years or so. Much more difficult to track wealth over two millennia, especially since millions of modern-day Britons are likely to be descendants of those Roman legions.
And let’s not forget that the Roman Empire doesn’t even exist anymore. The modern nation of Italy has only existed as a unified state for less than a century.
Good work leveling out that slippery slope!
History is full of winners and losers. The exploited and the exploiters. I guess it is my cynicism that thinks “reparations” is rather ridiculous. It rights no wrongs, the people involved are long since dead, and it comes of as nothing more than a desperate attempt to extort cash from wealthier nations. And let’s be honest, poorer nations have had money given to them many times in the past, and it rarely has long lasting effects. It gets pissed away because the fundamental backbone that is needed to keep a nation prosperous is broken.
Though maybe I should get behind this. I am federally recognized as a Native American, and if we could trade the land we currently own as a nation in OK for original homeland near the Great Lakes area and I can get me 10 acres, well, yee haw, let’s do it.
Liberal application of rock salt and some elbow grease gets that sorted. That’s the kind of slippery slope you were talkin about, right? Right?
What about when money from the slave trade was used for philanthropy?
For example regarding Edward Colston:
He is a divisive figure in Bristolian civil society, viewed by some as an inspirational figure for the city, due to his donations of money to schools and other causes, but, in more recent times as Colstons activities as a major slave trader emerged, many in Bristol and beyond, now regard him as having committed crimes against humanity. Some have called for his statue to be taken down, and others that a memorial plaque honouring the victims of slavery should be fitted to his statue. Bristol’s first elected mayor, George Ferguson, stated on Twitter in 2013 that “Celebrations for Colston are perverse, not something I shall be taking part in!” Yet Colston’s name permeates the city in such landmarks as Colston Tower, Colston Hall, Colston Avenue, Colston Street, Colston’s Girls’ School, Colston’s School and Colston’s Primary School. He is also remembered, particularly in some schools, by Colston’s Day, on 13 November. A regional bread bun, the Colston bun, is named after him.
(I’d never heard of the Colston bun before)
Reparations sounds nice… money will be relocated from middle-class Britons who are themselves descendants of slaves, and given to Jamaican oligarchs who will spend most of it on debt repayments to foreign banks as a result of their decades of disastrous fiscal policy.
Am I getting this right?
People tend to hate when I bring this up, but it is totes true: generational and familial disadvantages caused by repression can be mitigated with economics.
And this one almost always gets me slapped: current tensions in class and race can always be traced back to unfair economics as a primary cause.
(Waiting for @Mindysan33 to kneecap me)
I think framing it as extortion, or anything of that ilk, is utterly and completely wrong. My mind isn’t settled on reparations, but in no way is Jamaica trying to shake down the UK.
Besides, @Mister44, as a recognized Native American, aren’t you eligible for free tuition, among other federally administered benefits?
Sounds about right. The rich get richer seems to sum it up.
Hey so which R tax plan do you lurve the most? Jeb!'s giant giveaway to the rich or Trumps even bigger giveaway to the rich? Golly I’m having a hard time deciding which one will blow the biggest hole in the all-important-until-Rs-are-in-power debt. Trickle down voodoo economics are zombie Reagan’s legacy. You betcha! (wink!)
I don’t believe so. That was never presented as an option to me. I was eligible for a scholarship from the tribe, but that’s it. I have never gotten any federal aid or money because of my Native American status. Unless that is factored into Pell Grants, but I don’t know if I even ticked off that race box on the form. And I was only eligible for pell grants one or two semesters, so if my NA status had any effect, it didn’t work for my whole college years. I have crippling student loans like everyone else.
People seem to think the Feds give Indians tons of freebies, but that hasn’t been my experience, and doesn’t line up with why those who are on reservations are some of the poorest people in America. They are on welfare and the like, but they are on it like any other American. Their NA status has nothing to do with it.
The tribe I belong to was actually the first tribe in America allowed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs to manage their own trust etc. While there are members who would like to see the money doled out more, the leadership has a long history of investing and creating long term programs. Most of them kick in when you are older. Like my mom now can get eye glasses and some meds cheaper through them. But these go through the tribe directly, not through the feds.
I agree with all of that. I don’t know what Jamaica’s economic problems are, but throwing some money at them would be a short term band-aid, vs fixing what ever they lack to make a stable economy.
Teach a man to fish, and what not.
I also wish to acknowledge that even in post-slavery, the US hasn’t played fair with blacks in various social programs. For example the exceptions for Social Security came out affected mainly poor blacks. Though things have gotten better since then, I am sure there is still more work to be done to make things on a more level field. But yes poor people, and especially poor blacks, don’t have the shoulders of their ancestors they can stand on to get a head start.