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What Does America Owe Black Americans?

September 30, 2016
Plain English Version


A new report by the United Nations says America owes black Americans a lot. It took a U.N. committee more than a decade to make its findings.

To begin with, the report says that the slave trade was a crime against humanity. It goes on to say the U.S. should pay reparations. About the present day. The report says the recent deaths of blacks at the hands of police are like the lynchings of the past.

One purpose of the report is to highlight the status of black Americans. Most of the findings are well known. Black poverty is higher than white poverty. The same is true for most other indicators of well-being. In general, blacks are worse off than whites.

Many Americans are skeptical about their role in the lives of black people. It is part of current life that many issues divide the American people. Americans do not agree about climate change. Many still even do not believe that President Obama was born in the U.S.

What should the nation do about the idea of reparations? Most likely it will not do anything. Some of the ideas about what can happen are of interest. The committee said America might just apologize to blacks. It can also promote health and educations programs aimed at blacks. It suggests mental health programs, training in new skills and loan or debt forgiveness.

Germany paid billions to Jewish victims of the Nazis. The U.S. gave money to Japanese Americans who were in camps during World War II.

The report also includes some positive findings. It says the Affordable Care Act is helpful to American blacks.  It also reports that the number of blacks in jail has gone down.

America tries to maintain that it is a color-blind country. It is not. Rather, it is “color conscious.” It has never supported the idea of large-scale programs designed for blacks. Except programs and laws intended to end discrimination.

Most Americans agree there should be no discrimination.  But that is a far as most will go. This report may start a discussion.

Source: The Christian Science Monitor September 28, 2016

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