I was assisted in the posting of my remarks by a bottle of Whitehall Lane – Cabernet Sauvignon Leonardini Estate NV 2015. This a “Complete Cabernet” if you will. This bad boy is usually $80.00 – caught it on sale for $50.00. This is a blend of 94% Cabernet Sauvignon and 6% Petit Verdot. Strong – concentrated structure. Moderate acidity and tannins. Brooding. Dry. Opening with black currants, thyme, and walnuts. A sustain of blueberries, red currants, and vanilla. Ending with raisins, dried plums, and cocoa. Strong – moderately sweet finish.
“After 244 years of free slave labor and the most inhuman, sinister, and barbaric atrocities which pass in magnitude any savagery perpetrated against human beings in the history of the planet earth, and an additional one hundred years of so-called freedom accompanied by terror, the Committee seeking Reparations for the descendants of America’s Slaves, concludes that the payment of Reparations is an absolute necessity if the Government of the United States is ever to wipe the slate clean, redeem herself, and pay for the damages she has inflicted upon more than 25 million American citizens, who are members of the Black Race. The payment of Reparations is the only position America can take in the interest of justice and make an effort to restore the dignity to 13.1 percent of her citizenry.”
Queen Mother Audley Moore
This is a posting of a talk I did on January 7, 2023 at the “Boston Reparations Educational Series Luncheon.” Hosted by Sister Antonia Edwards in person at Hibernian Hall in Boston and simultaneously on a Zoom link (I spoke via Zoom). The luncheon was exiting – refreshing – and educational for those that attended, including myself. Reparationist Nyhiem Lord Abba provided clear information and history on the Government designation “American Freedmen.”
I provided guidance on the dangers of “local reparations” – along with explaining the dirty goals and strategies of The NAARC/N’COBRA Axis.
I did speak – but the fast-moving dynamics of the event did not permit me to finish my remarks in full. So I decided to post my remarks in their entirety here.
NOTE: This talk is a reworked version of an earlier post done on July 21, 2020 titled: “Statement Regarding Local Versus National Reparations.”
To The City Of Boston
Thank You For Having Me – Arthur Ward. I am Vice President of the Freedmen Descendants Of Chicago. I am here at the invitation of my Sister in Reparations – Antonia Edwards. To speak to you on something I regard as important – and to you as listeners to my remarks – I hope you find what I have to say important –
This talk is my opinion regarding recent developments in the quest for Reparations. And why the descendants of American Freedmen, as the directly affected group, should be opposed to these new developments.
I want to start this in clarity: Bringing local equity and economic inclusion for taxpaying Black American communities in terms of a fair share of contracts, school funding, city jobs and other necessities is admirable and legislatively correct. But those actions are not Reparations and should not be labelled as such. Ever. Those actions are supposed to be designated as equity services that should be performed in the normal course of executing local and state government for all citizens.
Reparations are a separate and different issue. Reparations is named as such to address a unique injury done to a specific segment of citizens. Reparations for slavery, Jim Crow, redlining, and other subsequent injuries are crimes that should necessarily and effectively be Federally addressed, and not mixed in with equity issues. Any indemnity for those injustices should be sought Federally, not locally.
The Federal government should be the only intermediary between the people and any reparational compensation. Properly done, Reparations should not and cannot be a state or municipal prerogative. We should be careful in not conflating local equity rights that are for everyone domiciled within a state, county, or municipality with Reparations claims that should specifically be reserved for the American Black descendants of American chattel slavery – properly rendered legislatively as American Freedmen. And specifically demanded at the Federal level – no matter where those descendants are presently domiciled.
Both are important but are different. One is pulling the knife of intermediate local neglect out of the back of any community so situated. The other is to heal nationally, a long-suffering chronic wound carried by the lineage of a specific Black American group. Reparations are the latter.
This is not to say that states and municipalities should not have an assistive role in Reparations conversations and actions. They should. But when it comes to local and state participation, that participation, that participation should only be from the standpoint of accumulating and providing data regarding locally-based companies and other entities, negatively impactive ordinances, and discriminating laws that are now and/or were previously on the books – racially-focused laws that were sustained and enforced.
Also – states, counties, and municipalities should be accumulating and providing substantial information regarding religious organizations, educational entities, unions, associations, and other still existing long-established institutions that directly participated in, and/or indirectly profited from slavery and post-slavery deprivative actions. Data that eventually can be converted into resources.
And that data should be provided to the Federal entity(s) and organization(s) that are directly involved with researching, evaluating, and negotiating towards enacting and implementing a national Reparations Act or Law. Why? Because only this Federally-based American government has the singular legal power of equal policy establishment, uniform eligibility assurance, non-resistible extraction, and ubiquity of distribution on a National basis. Do you understand?
The Federal government is, and should only be, the one intersection responsible for extracting, organizing, and distributing any and all reparational resources from corporate, institutional, city, county, and state entities. That responsibility being done through a resurrected, finely updated, and better organized “Freedmen’s Bureau” as an embedded Federal Agency that mirrors and expands the functions of – let’s say a Federal Agency like the “Bureau Of Indian Affairs.” And not through Pan African created independent non-profits like the proposed “National Reparations Trust Authority” or local “Stakeholder Authorities.” Which would secretly and criminally operate outside of Federal and Freedman oversight.
I call those constructions “Theft Authorities.”
There should not be a patchwork of different municipalities doing different things, in different places, with different eligibilities, and different outcomes. With some people otherwise eligible for Federal Reparations being excluded, and some people otherwise ineligible for Federal Reparations being included. This is explicitly improper. And all of this confuses and will possibly mitigate the Federal demand.
This practice is reparationally dangerous. One “local reparations” attempt is the resolution: “Supporting Community Reparations for Black Ashville” done on July 14, 2020. Specifically in Asheville, North Carolina.
This attempt is classic NAARC (or the “National African American Reparations Commission”), N’COBRA (or the “National Coalition Of Blacks for Reparations in America”), and FirstRepair of Evanston Illinois “local reparations” nonsense.
Family, “local reparations” is “Junk Reparations.” Understand. All “local reparations” schemes are “false flag” operations. Causing some people to believe that “local reparations” are a “first step to” Federal Reparations. When in actuality, all “local reparations” schemes are part of a long-game strategy to mitigate, then nullify the Federal demand. Using our long-time deprivation and hunger to lead us into a “let’s just get what we can get” trap. The term doesn’t even sound right.
Wake Up Family!
When you read the actual resolution, it starts off with accurately describing the historic injuries done to Native Black American people. Then it goes into an apology. Then it calls on folks to create policy and recommendations. Then a “study.” Then it calls on the creation of a commission. More “study.” Then it calls on a report to be created. Fine. Then the nominally specific term “Black” devolves into the even less specific – gray area term “minority.” Then an instruction is in there for a bi-annual update to the city council. Then it goes into the blackness of space with no conclusion or deadlines. This is a game Family.
Reparations should be a clean, uniform, fair, and straightforward Federal-level process. The word “Reparations” in this instance should only apply to Federal-level redress. Nothing else. Any collected data should never be used as a basis to enact mislabeled legislation that would result in local and state equity resources being expended under the label of “Reparations.” Reparations is a FEDERAL issue, responsibility, action, and remedy. If we are sincere about Pure Reparations, let us do this one-shot issue properly. We cannot play with this.
The other thing that municipal, county, and state legislatures could have done to help the Federal process along was to pass resolutions and legislation to support and adhere to the Dr. William A. Darity Jr. edits to House Bill HR40. Those edits should have included his [six] reparations principles and [three] goals, outlined in his testimony to the first HR40 hearing held on June 19, 2019. Those edits were not added, and at this point I would suggest a complete trashing of HR40 and do a de-Pan Africanized restart from scratch with Dr. Darity at the head of the restart. An HR40 2.0? Or a properly worded Executive Order. Let’s do that.
Because it must be done.
Another aspect of Reparations that is necessarily disconnected from “equity” issues is that without exception, applicable eligibility for Pure Reparations travels with the eligible parties generationally. That eligibility is possessed perpetually, and not limited geographically. Eligibility has no distinction between constituent or non-constituent, local citizen or localized non-citizen. Are there provisions in these local initiatives – including Boston’s – that will repair or compensate those that lived in those areas previously but now live in other areas? Including foreign countries? This is not addressed (and won’t be). Would those individuals be perpetually eligible to apply for “local reparations?” Would They? Ya’ll need to ask.
If it can be proven that a resident was governmentally injured that once lived in a certain local area, like Boston – in let’s say the year 1877, would that deceased individual’s descendants that now live in other locations be eligible to apply for compensation? Or, are the “local reparations” scope of Reparations “coverage” limited only to living individuals that are domiciled “right there, right now?” If that is so, then “local reparations” cannot be called “Reparations” at all.
Understand. If any business, government entity, or private individual owed you money while you were living in Boston – and had not paid you while you were living there – would that entity or individual suddenly be absolved of all debtor liability just because you moved to Cleveland? Make this make sense.
Actual justice claims have nothing to do with the current address of a directly injured or descended plaintiff. In a “Pure Reparations” situation, it would not matter if a descended plaintiff is “standing in the shoes” of a relative that was governmentally injured in the late 1800’s, and that descended plaintiff is now living, let’s say, in France as a naturalized citizen. That expatriated person would still be eligible for American Reparations if they can prove LINEAGE from American slavery – and their identity paperwork is straight. That’s It.
A “Pure Reparations” program should not be circumscribed by the present location of descendants, nor limited to living individuals. No “local reparations” initiatives that I know of have appropriate portability provisions nor reasonable geographical extensions. So what are they doing in Evanston? What is being done in Boston? Really? What is anybody doing? “Pure Junk” – that’s what “anybody” is doing.
NOW – Can States, Counties, and Municipalities Have A Role? Certainly. States, counties, and municipalities can and should have a role in compensative justice. But in a different and more appropriate way. Those localities would have to do real and operational history with a practical and fully compensative end.
In addition to incidental and systemic data gathered that would be provided to the Federal government, local governments could establish serious data-oriented commissions to proactively research and investigate specific locally-based historical incidents that were committed, witnessed, verified, and documented within their respective borders. Research and investigation. Settlements – not Reparations!
Research Incidents – such as this very short list of examples:
- The Tulsa Race Riot – Oklahoma (1921)
- The Rosewood Massacre – Florida (1923)
- The Ocoee Massacre – Florida (1920)
- The Wilmington Insurrection – North Carolina (1898)
- The Detroit Race Riot – Michigan (1863)
- The Atlanta Race Riot – Georgia (1906)
- The Springfield Race Riot – Illinois (1908)
- The Birmingham Riot – Alabama (1963)
- The Colfax Massacre – Louisiana (1873)
- Red Summer – 19 States (1919)
And those commissions should (this time) produce monetary compensation, set asides, and other special considerations to those directly injured victims or to their “standing in the shoes” descendants. Those compensations should be regarded as locally-based “settlements.” With fair compensation directed to specific individuals and/or their Freedmen descendants. If disaggregated specificity is too complex or if detailed historic information is unavailable – an arbitrated group case approach, or something similar may be necessary. Settlements – not Reparations!
An example of proper state-level commissioning and compensation in this realm is North Carolina, which, in 2013, became the first state to pay Reparations to specific descendants of American Freedmen victims of forced sterilization, soft genocide, and eugenics programs through a ten-million-dollar agreement. States, counties, and municipalities should do this. And more. But they should not have called these state-adjudicated and expended settlements “Reparations.”
A strict discipline of language is necessary. Those local and state-level settlements that are sometimes mislabeled “Reparations” are not intended to close any “racial wealth gaps” no matter how substantial or extensive those settlements may be. Any American Freedman recipients of such settlements would and should be fully eligible for Federal Reparations, with no contentions, modifications, or mitigations.
Now Let me speak on what I call – Special Equity Initiatives And The “Separate File.” If states, counties, and municipalities are sincere about materially atoning for historical local injustices towards American Freedmen, they may start by not labeling any special initiatives or proffered policies for them as “Reparations.”
If I may suggest the term: “Special Equity Initiative(s)” or “SEI(s).” I believe that would be an improved labeling of such actions. These SEI’s – if structured properly, would be immovably specific in practice, precisely worded in particulars, documentation, and law, and their provisions and benefits should never be expanded, modified, or overlapped to include other groups in perpetuity.
If you’re sincere.
SEI’s would be, and would remain in a “Separate File” so to speak. Terms that should never be used in crafting these initiatives would include: Black, African-Americans, Minorities, and People Of Color. And the newest inclusivity to nothingness term that should not be used is: “BIPOC” or “Black, Indigenous, and People Of Color.” Don’t use those terms. Those are descriptionally lazy terms.
BUT – terms like: Black American Descendants Of Slavery, American Freedmen, Descendants Of American Chattel Slavery, Descendants Of American Freedmen, and even the controversial Foundational Black Americans, could and should be used. All those terms would be descriptionally satisfactory.
That kind of specificity would be needed and acceptable in those actions. That kind of “separate file” specificity would also make it clear what kind of Black person (native or immigrant) would be eligible for SEI benefits. Real important. Those are potential benefits that should only go to Black people that have a lineage rooted in American slavery and were injured by all the deprivative historic injustices as practiced in the United States. Not as practiced in Africa. Not as practiced in the Caribbean. Not as practiced in Central America. Family – do you understand?
Certain legislators will use “local reparations” labeling to hide their legislative and advocacy shortfalls in accomplishing “equity” (which is what they were elected to do) for their constituents. Thus smokescreening their incompetence. For us Family – this is politically unfortunate, for both short and long-term reasons.
“Local reparations” can also be used as a self-serving “grant grab” for certain long-standing reparations theft organizations (like NAARC and N’COBRA and FirstRepair Of Evanston) to provide an “advisory role” to those same legislators crafting these counterfeit and ultimately counter-productive initiatives. I want you to notice that all members of The NAARC/N’COBRA Axis want to be paid to sit on commissions, when that is not the normal practice. Normally, commissioners are reimbursed for travel and food expenses. Along with possibly a small stipend for their time on the commission. Not the full-blown – top-level annual salaries that members of The NAARC/N’COBRA Axis demand.
Those same Axis organizations only provide dead-end guidance based on self-serving research to those legislators that are both mercifully sincere in helping others – and to those that are politically calculating in helping themselves or covering their incompetence. They will do both – as long as they get paid.
They have been doing this “advisory role” stuff for years and have not accomplished one dime of reparations. Not One Dime! The reason why they have not accomplished anything is partly a result of advocational and cultural conflation in the minds of the public. With that same public being taken in by “Pan-African” visuals and performance. You know – pseudo-African clothing, quasi-religious rituals, communications sprinkled with choice words from various African languages, pouring libations, flying-in African scholars to talk dumb-stuff at their events, drum beating, and other nonsense. I call it “kufi-stagecraft.”
They present a veneer of “knowing,” with many officials in those organizations holding and flaunting Master’s Degrees, Juris Doctors, and Ph.D’s. This is nothing but Black intellectual window-dressing. So that the Black public does not feel inclined or confident enough to question, challenge, or investigate these folks. Because “they know” what they are doing. They don’t. Notice that they use the word “international” a lot in what should be exclusively domestic conversations. What they present is all deceptive political and cultural marketing.
This being done with the historic Reparations figures of Queen Mother Audley Moore and Callie House cynically being used as props in their mis-informational presentations. This being done in total disrespect of, and divergence from, what those figures actually advocated. The very Pan African Queen Mother Moore for example – advocated for Reparations specifically directed to the Black descendants of American Slavery – and Nobody Else. Callie House advocated for cash pensions to be placed in the hands of American Freedmen – and Nobody Else.
People – understand that long-term advocacy for Reparations cannot rightly be equivalenced to an expert ability to formulate a proper Reparations program.
Never. Don’t fall for it.
Those organizations have had a major influence in shaping HR40 into the dead version that we have now. Understand People. It is because of the lack of legal, econometric, and legislative expertise within those organizations that further edits, and further edits, and further edits, are needed to make HR40 reasonably operational (“Operational” meaning HR40 if it had passed, being beneficial in substance, policies, and tangibles for the descendants of American Freedmen). Unfortunately, despite recent modifications, positive operationality of HR40 as written has not occurred as of yet.
Their lack of expertise also shows in the fact that the Evanston “reparations” eligibility standard is partly attached to one’s credit rating or ability to acquire a loan. Thus – making the true beneficiaries of that program the very banks that originally redlined our folks in the first place. Actual Reparations should enable you to transactionally and monetarily separate yourself from your original abuser. In this case – the originally redlining white banks. This program substantially and mercilessly puts you and yours right back into the hands of the enemy.
True Reparations have nothing to do with credit, mortgages, or home purchases as a component – or pre-existing property ownership requirements, or any intent to improve property, nor any relationship with a bank. Anything that is associated with anything you have to pay back is not Reparations. Period.
Those Axis organizations are dangerous to an actual American Freedmen Reparations claim. Because right now, they have the long-standing proximity, familiarity, and influence in the United States Congress and local governments that the grassroots descendants of American Freedmen do not have at this time. And the politicians they do deal with – like Congresspeople Sheila Jackson-Lee, Jerrold Nadler, and Steve Cohen are there to make sure that Reparations does not happen. To keep it contained and controlled and as minimal as possible. Especially Nadler and Cohen (their function is to do NAACP style “nigger management”).
Or if it does happen, Jackson-Lee is there to make sure that any positive outcome is finessed into a “Flat Black” benefit – with Caribbean and African immigrants getting the lion’s share. This would be provisioned through the NAARC conceived but as of yet – not constructed – non-profit called the “National Reparations Trust Authority.” This would be the depositorial and managerial entity to administer all reparations resources. Outside of government and Freedman oversight. Family, this is something that a pimp with an MBA would come up with. Now – in Evanston we have a “Reparations Stakeholders Authority.” Creative!!!
But even with that. Understand that those same Axis organizations have no real understanding of how a Reparations program should be legislatively or legally structured, articulated, or accomplished. That is obvious. Or, if they do understand (which is a strong criminal possibility), then we can only look at HR40 as a bold grifter set-up. With NAARC and N’COBRA using the Reparations issue overall and HR40 specifically as a means to cynically accomplish a substantial bag for themselves, at our deep and historic descendant of American slavery expense. Leaving the grossly injustified forty millions plus of us behind and wondering what happened. Throw in some ancestor worship, some libation pouring, and they will prove to be an embarrassment by political association in the long run.
Do you want that?
The People Shall Not Be Hustled. Well, only If you don’t want to be hustled. That’s on us American Freedmen. Understand, property tax reductions are not Reparations; filling potholes in low-income areas is not reparations; shifting certain tax revenues to melinated Black but undifferentiated people that live in certain impoverished areas is not reparations. Those are things that should be done as matters of equity, the normal course of doing city and state business. But they are not Reparations. Many legislators are legally and/or politically trained. They should know and do better. Our presently seated (as of this writing) Black Caucus representatives at local, state, and federal levels everywhere are quite busy with DACA, Asian, Latinx, and undocumented border-jumper resource delivery issues.
They may not have the time.
Now to the Caribbeans, and N’COBRA, and Evanston. If one dime of local resources under the label of “Reparations” goes into the pockets of anyone that is not descended from American chattel slavery – understand, that is not Reparations. Reparations for what? Just being black? Can we explain theft? Because that’s what it is. That’s What It Is. Evanston Illinois is potentially putting “local reparations” resources into the undifferentiated pockets of Caribbean and African immigrants that are domiciled in that city. That’s reparations theft Family. Understand?
The former Evanston City Counsellor that sponsored this counterfeit initiative, Robin Rue Simmons confirmed this at an interview done at a Chicago based radio show (WVON 1690) on January 5, 2020. While sitting on the same show with Kamm Howard, a leader (at that time) of the Pan African reparations theft organization known as N’COBRA that assisted her in crafting this very, very bad initiative. Afterwards, this was published in the January 11, 2020 online edition of the “Evanston RoundTable” newspaper:
“Alderman Rue Simmons said she had heard from some people that Caribbeans should not get reparations. ‘That’s not where we’re at here, in my opinion. In my opinion, we have to agree on this as a Council. This is a local reparations that is based on damages that were specifically done in Evanston. We have a rich and extensive Caribbean community here in Evanston, and I have no intention of trying to exclude that community.
‘We have to define that as a community. This is not a slavery reparations. There is much overlap because our discrimination is rooted in slavery because of the color of our skin. It dictates some of the discrimination that we have received, and it dictates the redlining and those damages for reparations in Evanston…”
And in the June 16, 2020 edition of the same publication. This was published:
“She [Alderman Rue Simmons] added she has heard talk about excluding Black people who have a Caribbean heritage from reparations in Evanston. She said, ‘Those families have had the same negative impact that African Americans have had. There’s no intention of excluding any Black person from our programming based specifically on where their ancestry has come from. We all have come from the continent of Africa. We all have ancestors that were kidnapped and enslaved… We’re not going to be differentiating between Black people in Evanston.’
Alderman Braithwaite (who happens to be of Jamaican lineage) agreed that Black people will not be differentiated based on heritage. ‘We are all one.”
So There It Is Folks. Robin Rue Simmons and her dismissive statements.
In true Caribbean style: “It don’t matter what you people think – I’m TAKING this!” And without a machete! That’s a Bad Sister. Could any Black American go to any Caribbean country and hustle Reparations resources from THEM in this manner? I don’t think so. I wonder if she asked Sir Hilary Beckles whom is the vice-chancellor of the University of the West Indies and chairman of the CARICOM Reparations Committee for the Caribbean when he visited Evanston: “Would there be any kind of reciprocity coming from CARICOM for American Freedmen since we are covering Caribbean expatriates with American Reparations resources here?”
And Family – I don’t know about Boston. But in the Chicago area, Caribbeans and Africans don’t get redlined. They NEVER had a problem in getting mortgages to purchase homes in predominantly white or Black areas. They never have. Never. So I don’t know what Robin Rue Simmons is talking about.
Black Diasporans – like Yvette Modestin from Panama and Professor Jemadari Kamara from somewhere other than here, have no respect for American Freedmen or their separate and distinct history. Intentionally. Should I rethink my position on Black immigration? I think I should. No more Black immigration. I’m not liking the way our Black Diasporan “Brothers and Sisters” are trying to mess over us.
It is also baffling and disappointing to observe the kind of cold disregard and cynical contempt that The NAARC/N’COBRA Axis practice towards American Freedmen people as well. Those organizations don’t seem to understand that there is a connection between correct responsibility and proper outcomes.
The Caribbeans in Evanston are dishonestly basing their eligibility for reparations on their ability to blend into a rich and unique American Freedmen history that they were not here to make, receive, suffer through, or change. Period. They are able to commit reparational theft under the undifferentially deceptive racial cover of “Black” and “African American” identity ahead of us. An egeregious conversion of history. No Nigerian went to jail with Rosa Parks. No Haitian helped the Montgomery Bus Boycott. No Cape Verdian was touched by the Ku Klux Klan.
This false marketing is being done in the same way that American descendants of slavery are always placed last in line to receive rightful benefits whenever those benefits are flagrantly mis-distributed to others under the “minority” or “people of color” or “disadvantaged community” or “inner city” categories. Same thing. With that, Robin Rue Simmons can dictatorially say to us American Freedmen in so many confident and magnanimous words: “We all came from Africa. We all this. We all that. We all here – and to hell with you Niggers.” And of course, the “Niggers” she is referring to are the descendants of American Freedmen. NAARC and N’COBRA have “collectivized” us without our permission.
Just so you may be clear: Under “Minority” – the hierarchy goes:
- White Women
- Native Americans
- Latinx’s (citizens and illegal non-citizens)
- Black Immigrants (new arrivals and citizen-generationals)
- Foundational Black Americans. Last.
Under “Black” and “African American” – the hierarchy goes:
- Caribbean Immigrants (and citizen-generationals)
- African Immigrants (and citizen-generationals)
- American Freedmen. Last again.
American Freedmen should always insist that their political affairs be dealt with and contained within a “separate file.” Just like Holocaust victims and their descendants, and the Native Americans are. Everybody stays on subject. No more “Black AND Brown” conjuntioning of our issues. A “Separate File” understanding operationally stops any confusion or “gray areas” when it comes to Pure Reparations. That way, nobody can be in the room but us. No Caribbeans. No Africans. No Pan African hustlers of ambiguous provenance playing games. No “Native Black AND Diasporan Black” conjunctioning of this issue.
Simple. Period. And Out.
Understand Family, there are no “local reparations.” This newly created label is an N’COBRA created grant hustle. A hustle for politicians to get out of doing the daily equity and resource delivery work that they should be doing. A hustle for certain Pan-African organizations to grab grant money through sham non-profits and newly created consultancies (like Robin Rue Simmons’ FirstRepair and Kamm Howard’s new Reparations United) for doing zero-sum research and providing bad advice. Advice which takes a Pure Reparations argument fully off-track.
A hustle by certain Caribbean immigrants in concert with legislators and certain Pan African organizations, specifically NAARC, N’COBRA, and FirstRepair of Evanston to accomplish the redirection of resources that should be for the descendants of American Freedmen over to Caribbeans that live here, the CARICOM organization in the Caribbean by secondary and tertiary means, and as many undifferentiated African pockets as possible. A hustle by certain political candidates for campaign strategy purposes, dangerously using the Reparations issue as a political plaything.
A hustle by closeted Reparations opponents for expedient political window-dressing. A hustle for strategic white liberals to systematically kill or mitigate the National demand by a thousand cuts. We see you.
Let US focus on Pure Reparations. Actual reparations are not income-based, net worth-based, where-you-live-based, who-you-know-based, phenotype-based, DNA-based, or color-based. It is lineage-based only. It is a debt due to a specific ethnic group. Devoid of Pan African intrusions or guidance. Only for The descendants of American Freedmen in this case. To cite an extreme but valid case: Oprah’s lineage is American Freedman. Oprah Winfrey would be eligible to apply and collect on this American Freedmen reparations claim. So is Michael Jordan. So is Beyonce. So is Magic Johnson. So is your rich Black brother-in-law. It is a debt, primarily payable in cash. And not innovatively converted into “other forms.”
Cash “directly into my hands” is the working universal language of capitalist America. That should be your language as well. Because I don’t understand “other forms” talk. As you shouldn’t. Again, not a poverty or relief program.
It Is A Debt.
Also: A Pure Reparations program in fact is not minimizable to city or state resource and governance issues. Any resources expended under a “reparations” heading should not and cannot be for “everybody,” especially those groups that clearly would not be eligible under a federal claim, like American citizens of Caribbean lineage. How does any “local reparations” end up funding scholarships or programs for Jamaican immigrants in Evanston? How is this? Conversely, American Freedmen are rightly locked out of the CARICOM reparations claim at all levels. Repeat – AT ALL CLAIMABLE LEVELS. Understand? And we should be, because of nonconnected histories and governments, different slavery trajectories, problematic international legalities, and very real political logistics reasons.
We Should Have Clarity and Appropriateness Regarding Reparations – Ahh yeah Family. To label distribution and equity activities that should be done on the local level as “Reparations” is conflicting messaging. Purposely done to confuse and deflect. This “local reparations” nonsense can be used as a form of nullification through the strategic interposition of lesser initiatives, which, as these initiatives spread nationally, will potentially undermine and/or eliminate the greater National Reparations case. Do you understand? Local and state legislators may or may not be aware of this. Or may or may not care. Maybe? Ya’ll need to Ask.
But this is the danger again. This “local reparations” can technically be used as a political tool to destroy the possibility of Pure Reparations being expended at the Federal level by Reparations opponents. One possibility is that the Federal government could reduce this Federal demand to a “state’s rights” issue.
Don’t think they can’t.
Some local and state monies necessarily and substantially come directly from the Federal government. And that Federal money – no matter where it goes, who gets it, or how it is used, is always differentiated as “Federal money.”
Understand Family: If even a dollar of that Federal money is designated, directed and expended under any “local reparations” labeling – city by city, county by county, state by state. Everything in terms of potential resource extraction would be reset downward. Step by step. Penny by penny. Dollar by dollar.
Just to illustrate: Every potential thousand dollars in justified recompense from the Federal government could potentially be reduced to one dollar. Because Federal Reparations resources would be already spent at the state and local level. Just to use a hypothetical. This is important: The language we use and the reparational structures we create whether local, county, state, or federal – are critical.
To reiterate: That reset means that if more cities and states decide to do this, the ultimate Federal reparations liability will theoretically over time be severely reduced or possibly nullified. Yes – Zero. Because that Federal money would have already been accepted, designated, agreed upon, expended, and spent through and in states, counties, and municipalities as Reparations. When it is time to talk in reparational substance – and finality – and the correct money at the apex – we are there – the Capitol Hill level – the Federal government can Simply and Legally Say:
“We already paid you Reparations. Go Away.”
For American Freedmen: The time for “getting what we can get” is over. We have to get it ALL this time. But we have to get it ALL in proper legislative order.
NOW. A word about The NAARC/ N’COBRA Axis. Of which – One of your locals – Yvette Modestin from Panama was formerly a Commissioner with NAARC. And now runs this local organization called “Encuentro Diaspora Afro.” Hold On! We will get to her in a minute. But at this point People – I want you to let these original quotes which were recently modified on NAARC’s website to sink in:
“NAARC firmly asserts that reparations should not be restricted to people of African descent who can prove their lineage to what is termed ‘American’ enslavement.”
“We strongly affirm the right of all people of African descent in the U.S. to receive reparations, irrespective of when they arrived here or their country of origin.”
You See? This is Pan Africanism. Freely giving the recompense from the struggle of our grandparents and parents to any Black person that arrives here like Halloween candy. “Just show up!” This would be the world’s first fly-in reparations program.
Get a check – leave a plantain as a tip.
One of your own local organizations: A “New Democracy Coalition of Boston” posted this interesting article in the January 4, 2023 online edition of Medium.com. Titled: “Boston Can Create New Models for Black Reparations. Let’s Hope the City Doesn’t Blow It.” Blow What? I didn’t know Boston was that kind of town.
OK. So, I’m quoting an excerpt:
“We are morally compelled to trace the historical linkages of those who were directly harmed and ensure that we approximate some kind of justice for them,’ says Reverend Kevin Peterson. ‘These are Blacks who live directly in the legacy of those in Boston whom have been robbed of their wages and culture in this country. — They deserve Reparations first. Black immigrants – from other states or countries throughout the African Diaspora – must then receive compensation or benefit from reparations policies.”
I’m asking a question: “Reverend Peterson – whom is this ‘we’ that should be ‘morally compelled’ to do something stupid? For example, there are 3000 direct descendants of African slave traders that are African Black that live in this country. Do they get reparations too? West African countries owe us reparations as well.
Do ‘we’ pay their expatriates? Everybody. Right? How does that work Reverend?
If West Africans aren’t talking about running our money in THIS direction – the right direction – we don’t have much to talk about Sir. Because we sure ain’t gonna speak on paying THEM any reparations. But that’s another conversation. If Any.”
So Boston Freedmen!!! Whomever this Reverend Kevin Peterson is – you would be doing yourselves a great favor by keeping this ignorant person far away from dealing with any substantive Reparations discussions in your town. He’s a dummy.
It is well known that the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade was a global event.
Yes It Was. But the question is how the institution of slavery was handled in a separate – a disaggregated sense here, here, and there at each sovereign termination of the Atlantic transit. Every separate time. The question is always: “Where did individuals ultimately land – LEGALLY?” Those landings were accepted AND REGISTERED by traders here, here, and there under different, separate – autonomous governments. Separate and sovereign. Those independent governments had and have their own constitutions, laws, policies, structures, imposed slave cultures, and self-decided abolition timelines. And those other – disaggregated, independent, enslavement operations – AGAIN FAMILY!!!
Had nothing to do with slavery operations in the United States.
Other countries should deal with Their own issues, deal with Their own people, address Their correct perpetrators, and pay Their own bills.
The United States should not be pinned as the world’s default paymaster to compensate for the criminal activities of other countries. Any particular robber is not responsible for all robberies. A justice claim has to equally provide justice for both the victim and the accused. Justice for both the potentially compensating government – and the potentially compensated group. There should be a justice-grounded Federal bill and a Federal commission that in finality – exclusively addresses the historic ills of the descendants of United States Chattel Slavery and the exclusively domestic aftermaths that only American Freedmen have suffered. This compensative legislation being properly rendered, will provide equal justice for both the correct victims and the correct responsible government. Full Stop.
There ARE NO operating reparations commissions inside or outside of the United States that include even the possibility of American Freedmen being included in their justice claims. None. Like the “Afro Panamamian Reparations Commission” doesn’t include us. “ARE you listening Yvette Modestin?” They make THEIR line-drawn exclusionism quite clear on their websites – like CARICOM. The Caribbean Commission has fifteen countries organized in the Caribbean archipelago and one continental country in South America (Guyana). And again – the United States is definitely not one of those countries. And we are definitely not included in their Reparations issue. They make sure of that. “Ahh… No niggers from America.”
Jamaica’s GOVERNMENT was in the news petitioning for Reparations from the British Government. We took a look at various media platforms reporting this – and American Freedmen inclusion was nowhere in there nowhere. And nowhere else. You See? When NAARC and N’COBRA were asked if they would petition the Jamaican Government for American Freedmen to be included in this claim, the N’COBRA twitter person replied “NO.” Why was I not surprised?
“Why NO reciprocity for Freedmen?”
The main issue with The NAARC/N’COBRA Axis, is having and maintaining an African Diasporan sensibility for Reparations versus those who may be oriented as ADOS, FBA, Freedmen, et cetera – that are grounded in American specificity. Let us get with the facts. The United States has always practiced specificity grounded reparations in the form of compensative legislation or Civil Suit since 1789.
No reparations legislation or the like anywhere on this planet has ever been “Pan” anything. Reparations worldwide has ALWAYS been specific and targeted and Federal. That is not nativist nor xenophobic nor unfair. Unlike the way Axis criminals will lie you into thinking. That is just the way reparations programs that are actually legitimate reparations programs are structured and deployed.
When “Pure Reparationists” participate in these “local” and “state” reparations arrangements – WE REALLY DON’T WANT TO DO THAT. “Then why do it?” Because in actuality we are getting ahead of the mess. Attempting to get control of the mess. And putting out the destructive small fires that The NAARC/N’COBRA Axis have started across this nation. Attempting to re-stabilize their destabilization of the issue – as our advocational and constructive energies have been diverted to a large degree from the Federal case. The most important case.
Our focus should be Federal ONLY. True Reparations is always a Federal issue.
I have a book titled: “The Handbook Of Reparations” by Pablo De Greiff (ISBN = 978-0-19-929192-2). The 1020 pages of text in this book covers the nature and details of every major Reparations program accomplished in the world. Every single program in this book is FEDERAL-LEVEL-ONLY. No “local” nonsense done nowhere in the world. And neither NAARC nor N’COBRA (You Know – “the reparations experts”) are mentioned even once. Maybe they don’t qualify?
The Handbook was published in 2006. N’COBRA has been around since 1987.
Even though N’COBRA has not accomplished reparations at no time anywhere, even after more than thirty years in operation – they fraudulently put themselves and their associates out in front of everything and everyone as the “experts” of reparations. They want to open the “grifitlicious” door for individual members and associates of NAARC and N’COBRA to establish organizations like “Encuentro Diaspora Afro” (I think that’s how you pronounce it) run by Yvette Modestin.
Opening the door to create fake research concerns, and advising but incompetent “non-profits” (like FirstRepair of Evanston) to non-productively “assist” legislators in developing reparational theft policies, systems, and programs.
They are not beyond using long-standing organizations like certain cooperating chapters of the NAACP or “King Boston” as “fronts” to advance their agenda. If things convene in the way that the Axis wants it to – expect to see that growing list of “experts and consultants” to only consist of certain slick Caribbeans, certain bossy Central Americans, and certain grifting Pan Africans.
American Freedmen must proactively STOP this open Pan African DISRESPECT. Ask yourselves Family: “How does Yvette Modestin – a native of Panama; a person that is not lineaged from Lynching; a person that is not lineaged from Slave Rape; a person that is not lineaged from The Montgomery Bus Boycott; a person that is not lineaged from the Tulsa Massacre; a person that is not lineaged from The Great Migration; a person that is not lineaged from Racial Eminent Domain; a person that is not lineaged from Redlining – GET TO MOVE TO BOSTON – and tell YOU Native American Freedmen – HOW your Reparations should go?” How?
She’s the BOSS NOW? Please…
American Freedmen HAVE NO SAY WHATSOEVER in other Reparations Demands internationally or domestically regarding other groups WHATSOEVER. Adjo Amouzou – a NAARC Commissioner was born in TOGO which is in Africa. She has more say in shaping a Reparations program FOR YOU than YOU DO.
There it is Family – Pan Africanism – in your face!
Both Yvette Modestin and Adjo Amouzou in a properly constructed American reparations program – people that are now shaping OUR program would not be eligible(!) for American Freedmen Reparations. So – ask yourselves Family: “Why and how are these foreign born – very ineligible people all the way up in our reparations business?” Got a Green Card Sweetheart!? Ask Them!!!
Now. Whatever they do in Togo – you will never hear of any native-born Black American running, shaping, deciding, or influencing anything in Togo – in Panama – in Nigeria – in Senegal – in Jamaica. NOT NOWHERE!!! But a Togolesian can boat, fly, or swim here and shape OUR reparations? OK? Chinese and Japanese folks are both Asian. RIGHT? But you NEVER find Japanese people running Chinese people’s stuff or Chinese people running Japanese people’s stuff. RIGHT?
And you never will.
Boston Freedmen – TAKE YOUR ISSUE BACK. And render it properly.
I mean this: I have no NICE words regarding this situation. I am vicious when it comes to our Reparations. The tendency of American Freedmen to be sweet and accommodating to all is the primary reason other groups have walked over and upon us for so long. Your Reverend Kevin Peterson thinks that we have not been walked over enough. Reparations is not inclusive. Reparations is always exclusive. And our Reparations should not be open to “new models” like some morons have suggested. The old models are good enough. Always remember that the job of The NAARC/N’COBRA Axis is not to move us forward – but to keep us running in place in perpetuity. To forever keep Pure Reparations out of our hands.
I speak like this because I have no game. I’m just myself. Fully Native American Black. A Complete American Freedman. That’s the Attitude: John Henrik Clarke said it best to me – he said: “My attitude comes from the essential selfishness of survival.” I KNOW that every American Freedmen’s attitude IN our survival should necessarily be set IN that place. Right Now – As Well.
The Pan Africans are making a joke out of our seriously historic issue. They are messing with our inheritance. They are messing with our money. They are messing with the future of our children. We have been so deprived and financially abused for so long that we will blindly sign onto bad deals just so that we can “get what we can get.” Selling ourselves out for reparational pennies on the dollar. LITERALLY.
Understand Freedmen – for you to self-identify as a Pan African is a definite downgrade to your own Native Black American personhood. By default you are also unconsciously identifying with a dangerous cabal of organizations. Mainly consisting of: The NAARC/N’COBRA Axis run by Dr. Ron Daniels; Reparations United run by Kamm Howard; and FirstRepair of Evanston run by Robin Rue Simmons. A group of calculators that as a matter of their own unwritten organizational policy – coldly downgrade and de-prioritize American Freedmen’s history, justice issues, and rights to the inheritance their antecedents have created.
A group, that in this country, prioritizes the improper desires and plans of the African Diaspora – over the justifiable needs of American Freedmen. NAARC – N’COBRA Axis-type Pan Africanism is a capitalistic form of intra-Black racism. A coldly cynical – insidious type of racism that prioritizes the value of the lives of the African Diaspora over the value of the lives of American Freedmen.
Just look at what they’re doing.
I say NO to “local reparations.” But IF you must do it. Don’t bastardize it. Don’t inclusionize it. At least do it properly. At least do it right. At least do it rightly for us American Freedmen exclusively. And if this can’t be done properly: Family – have the foundational fortitude to shut it down completely. And start that bad boy over. OR, more properly – kill it altogether. You will have to do that Boston. You must get the proper political will to do that.
Boston Freedmen! This is yours. NO to Pan Africanizing this justice claim at any level. NO to Yvette Modestin inserting herself into a business she doesn’t belong in. AND NO to the arrogant Pan African Professor Jemadari Kamara of the University of Massachusetts posing as an expert in something he has no expertise in.
Boston Freedmen. The entirety of American History attests to the justice of our unsatisfied Reparations demand. What amplifies the justice of this demand is the preponderance of the continuousness of the wrongs. Uniquely aimed at US the American Freedmen. In Full Intentionality. Done by this white-supremacist Society. Done By This Government.
Our exclusively deep and long-suffering losses were never addressed nor recompensed. Even though our Blood – our DNA is inextricably intertwined, thoroughly infused, and bottomlessly enmeshed to THIS American soil. A brutal, extractive, and unrelenting history done continuously. Since 1619 unfolded and still unfolding under this reddened watch so far of 146,000 Sunrises and Sunsets. We The People – have an unrepeatable and incomparable history. Right Here.
An intense continuum streaming nonstop From Then. Till NOW.
Only the proper Reparations and all accompanying Freedmen-centric legislation with protections is what will FINALLY get us to Full American. Boston Freedmen. This is your responsibility to make. To demand. To conduct. To happen correctly. Established in the here, the present, and the continuous future.
Boston Freedmen – TAKE YOUR ISSUE BACK. And render it properly.
Thank You So Much for listening.
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