I am writing to you regarding the issue of monetary reparations to descendants of slaves. While I agree that it might be a good attempt to apologize for the history of slavery and abuse, the question of how exactly it would work remains unanswered. Below are the reasons for why, until there is a better and more carefully thought-out strategy, this idea is doomed to failure.
First of all, it is not clear who exactly is supposed to qualify for the reparations and how it will be determined. Evidently, all Black Americans are meant to qualify. However, there is a number of other possible options, including mixed-race people, recent and future immigrants, as well as illegal ones, subsequently gaining legalization. This issue is contested and will only become even more so if a reparation program is to be launched (Frum). Then, there is a question of who receives how much: not all Black people are poor, and some of them are poorer than others. No one seems to consider whether everyone is to receive the same amount of money, and whether it is to be per person or per family. It has to be decided whether there will be an adjustment for need and how it will be measured. And if convicted criminals – about a million African Americans – are to be counted, they are to be supported by the government’s money. These are complicated issues that need a lot of thought put into them and coming to a definite solution seems to be easier said than done.
In addition to that, there is a fact that the program is likely to expand to other minority groups. If African Americans are to receive reparations, are Native Americans, Mexican Americans, and Asian Americans not supposed to as well? Granted, perhaps, their reparations are not to be the same in amount, but they still would want to be paid. Moreover, the question of who decides how the money will be allocated, who made this choice, and on what premise, is to create discontent among people not receiving reparations and even among those receiving them.
I urge you to consider creating a more sustainable program before implementing a reparation initiative; that way, many of the problems listed above can be avoided.
Frum, David. “The Impossibility of Reparations.” The Atlantic, 2014, Web.