Reparations, in their most absolute form, "serve to acknowledge the legal obligation of a state, or individual(s) or group, to repair the consequences of violations — either because it directly committed them, or it failed to prevent them. They also express to victims and society more generally that the state is committed to addressing the root causes of past violations and ensuring they do not happen again” (The International Center for Transitional Justice, 2019). With this understanding, we can dispel the idea that, when it comes to the black community, reparations only take the form of monetary payment to black people. To do this, let us completely dissect this definition.
Firstly, “to repair the consequences of violations”, we know for a fact that simply throwing money at any problem will never truly solve it, especially when it comes to the ever-developing iceberg that encompasses all issues plaguing the black community. Even if this country were to account for each and every descendant of slavery, adjust the cost of 40 acres and mule for inflation and the current era in which we live, totaling to at least $6.4 trillion, this would only be temporary relief. This is due to the fact that, while this may be a heavy sum at first glance, only providing set financial compensation for centuries of the most odious of subjugation would be only a modicum not just of what we need, but what we deserve as a people.
Here, we must now address the portion of the definition stating the state’s reasoning for providing reparational solutions to adversely affected communities “either because it directly committed them, or it failed to prevent them.” Rather than choose between these two options to contribute to our suffering, the United States engaged in both. Developing policy to prevent any member of the black community from rising above the lowest rank of the untouchables in a hierarchical caste system, while also being willfully ignorant towards each and every cause and effect of racial inequality within the black community. If we are to make any progress at all after such travails, this country must take responsibility for each, and every atrocity committed on this land that it 1. Initiated and took an active part in and 2. Turned a blind eye to or looked towards and laughed.
Lastly, the most important part of this definition: “They also express to victims and society more generally that the state is committed to addressing the root causes of past violations and ensuring they do not happen again.” I pronounce this with absolute irrefutability: it is impossible to accomplish a liberated society, where root causes have been addressed as well as inequality in perpetuity, especially one where black liberation has been actualized, through the disbursement of capital means alone. It simply does not matter how much money is thrown at an issue, no matter what the source is, if there is no juxtaposed dedication to permanent solutions.
To all those who read this article think to yourself: what methods do you consider reparations and think further to how their instillment in this society will be of benefit. I promise, there is more to racial equity than the allocation of money.