The case against reparations

Excited and scared to tackle this sensitive topic.  This is a controversial topic. This is a heated topic. I clearly do not have the answer to it.  So I won’t even pretend I’ve got this.  But what I can do is obviously give my opinion on the topic.  Moreover, I can also look at the arguments through negotiation lenses.  By this I mean, looking through the smoking mirrors, focusing on the problem rather than the emotions attached to it, but also looking at how emotions are used.

This is an ambitious goal, so I decided to start a 3 part series on the topic.  First, I review the case for reparations, now, I’ll discuss the case against reparations and finally, I’ll give my opinion.  3 part series because I want to force myself to dig deep into the research before formulating an opinion.

Let’s review the most compelling arguments against reparations.  It is uncomfortable for me. Especially after reading such a compelling argumentation from Ta Nehisi Coates.  Still, I need to practice what I preach. Looking at EVERYTHING from different perspectives. Even when uncomfortable.

  1. Slavery has not hindered the economic progress of Blacks.  Economist Thomas Sowell reveals in a study that most people believe that 3/4 of Blacks live in poverty, whereas 1/4 is the real number.  Actually, if Black Americans constituted their own country, it would be the 11th largest economy in the world.  Black Americans have a longer life expectancy than Blacks in the Caribbean, or in African countries. Still, need to triple fact check this.
  2. Who gets what?  First the who.  Who qualifies? the Blacks. How do you define Blacks? Do you use the “one drop rule” or do you award only “pure” Blacks.  With the “one drop rule”, you probably compensate too many people. So many that the reparation may be too small to be relevant.  Also, you may have people pretending to be Black to get reparations.  On the other side, if you compensate only “pure” Blacks, do you use a version of the comb and brown bag?  Either way, this could be a divisive situation, that could be more costly than the reparations Blacks would receive
  3. Who pays what?  It is estimated that less than 10 percent of whites owned slaves.  Moreover, a vast part of today’s non-Blacks population comes from immigration.  Probably a fraction of the whites was involved in slavery.  So, is it fair for all whites to pay for the reparations when they had nothing to do with it?

These 3 arguments are the most impactful in my opinion. I will fact check them and let me know if you know they are alt-facts.  Still is hard for me, because I had to read a lot of bad arguments to find these nuggets of what I consider truth. Most come from this source. And I really had to filter the arguments to remove the “waste”.  Even, a great institution like Stanford University published shaky arguments in what I call a “confuse them if you can not convince them” article.  Frankly, many of the good arguments against reparations sound racist.

Next week I will share my unfiltered opinion on the topic. And it is not so much about if I am for or against. But more the reasons behind.  In the meantime, I want to hear your opinion.


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