Why Are Reparations for Black Americans So Controversial?

Reparation is defined as the making of amends for a wrong one has done, by paying money to or otherwise helping those who have been wronged. It is also known as monetary restitution is a common form of reparation.

Japanese Americans
During World War II, the United States has its own concentration camps. On February 19, 1942, by executive order of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 125,00 people of Japanese descent were interned due to the suspicion that they would conspire against the United States. Many of them were American citizens, but they were still forced to relocate from their homes to inland camps. Japanese Americans lost the United States Congress issued a reparation fund of $38 million, and then awarded each survivor $20,000 in 1990. About 80,000 people claimed reparations, for a total of about $1.6 billion.

The Alents
During World War II the United States occupied the islands of Kiska and Attu, in the  Alaskan Alketian Chian, and deported  881 Alents to campus in Juneau, Alaska, about 2,000 miles from the islands. In 1988, 450 living survivors of the camps were awarded $12,000 each. When the reparation act was signed, the United States admitted that it had kept Alents in captivity  for much longer than required for their safety, and failed to provide sufficient care at them. In 1995, more compensation was given  to the communities for the loss and damage to churches during the war.

The Jewish Holocaust Survivors
Adam Kredo wrote an article entitled "U.S. to Pay Out New Reparations for Holocaust." Earlier this year back February The State Department announced  that additional reparation payments would be made to victims of the Holocaust as part of its claims program. This program covers Jewish people who were deported by France during World War II. "While no payment can provide complete justice for all who were impacted by deportation from France we hope those affected by one of history's darkest eras will receive some additional relief from these further payments, a statement from the department."  

The State Department's Office of the Legal Adviser, said through its International chains and Investment disputes Office, has administered the Holocaust Deportation Claims Program since its inception. The reparations program was established by the United States with France under agreements relating to the deportation of Jews by the French government during the Holocaust. France's provided $60 million to the United States to distribute to Holocaust survivors and their living families under the agreement. Payments to survivors included $204,000 for those who survived their deportation, $57,000 to living surviving spouses or those deported, and a pro rate amount if the individual died after 1948.

Holocaust survivors will have payments to date on approved claims total $30,028,500. According the U.S. State Department said " With the additional approved claim amount, living survivors would receive in total $401,880; living surviving spouses would receive  up to $100,470; and heirs of survivors and surviving would receive a portion of these amounts."  The Obama Administration earmarked $12 million for Holocaust Survivors. The allocation from the Department of Health and Human Services to the Jewish Federations of North America, to be disbursed over the next five years, was part of an imitative launched by then Vice President Joe Biden to address the needs of survivors in the United States. Additionally, combined with private matching funds, the approximately $2.5 million per over the next five years. There was trauma-informed supportive services for Holocaust survivors.

Native Americans
"My Indian policy starting with honoring the unique government to government relationship, and ensuring treaty responsibilities are met."  -Barack Obama
In 2016 The Obama Administration settled 100 lawsuits that totaled $3.3 billion. The lawsuits were brought up by tribal governments against the federal government. The policy sought to remedy lost wages, land, etc. The treaty responsibilities include agreements dating back to the 1800s that made the U.S. government the trustee for huge portions of tribal land. The Department of the Interior says it manages almost 56 million acres of the land on behalf of tribes, and handles at least 100,000 leases on including housing, timber, harvest, farming, livestock grazing, oil, and gas extraction. Over 250 tribes had assets held in a trust by the federal government. According the lawsuit the U.S. government was supposed to be a good trustee but that did not occur. Land was also not properly managed.

In 2019 Senator Elizabeth Warren reintroduced the Refund Equality Act of 2019. The bill was passed in June 2019. The bill is also known as Promoting Respect for Individuals Dignity and Equality Act of 2019 ( PRIDE Act or HR 3299). The bill has been presented as an attempt to remove discriminatory gendered language on tax return forms, but it also allows same-sex couples to claim the marriage tax break for the years they were "married" before it was legal.

"The federal government forced legally married same-sex couples in Massachusetts to file as individuals and pay more in taxes for almost a decade. It it only right that we change this tax code to make it fairer for all."  -Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts)

"By eliminating gendered language that discriminates against same-sex couples and putting money directly back into the pockets of families who have earned it, this critical legislation offers commonsense fixes that modernize our tax code and honor our bedrock values."
-Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi

The cost of this bill is estimated at $57 million through 2029. Under this legislation, same-sex couples who were forced to file their tax returns separately could claim a tax break starting from 2004. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will be required to pay interest on the difference in their return.

Toni's Thoughts: Based on the information above I have no issue with any person or group getting retribution and restitution for the abuse they have endured. I just have an issue with people saying that Black Americans such as myself do not deserve a debt we are owed. I have an issue with people getting angry when the topic is brought up only because it shows their racism and hypocrisy. I have an issue when people like Joy Reid and Alexandria Osacio- Cortez try to redefine the conversation so they benefits from the work of my ancestors. As the old saying goes "What good for the goose is good for the gander." I am offended when I see Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and Kamala Harris, etc. deflect or play dumb when tangibles for Black Americans are brought up.

"Americans are totally fine with Reparations just not for Slavery" Annalisa Merelli, Quartz
"U.S. to Pay Out New Reparations for Holocaust" Adam Kredo
"U.S. Government To Pay $492 Million to 17 American Indian Tribes" 

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