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Reparations: America's Debt to Black Citizens

When we discuss white privilege & reparations, one aspect that's always left out of the conversation is Military privilege, and how the GI Bill set up working-class white men for middle-class lifestyles. These benefits allowed them to go to college, buy homes, and put their children through college. While Black veterans were screwed over by the government, who promised them true freedom in exchange for their service. An entire generation of Black families missed out on homeownership and college education.

A Black-owned business during the “Black Wall Street” days of Tulsa, Oklahoma. (Courtesy of Greenwood Cultural Center)

When we talk about generational wealth, it goes beyond the benefits of chattel slavery. The destruction of Black wall street, and numerous destroyed Black businesses across America throughout the decades. Not to mention red-lining, which prevented Black families from buying homes in prospering, suburban neighborhoods. Redlining is a method of discrimination that is still used today, while not as overt as it once was. School zoning is just a more modern way to keep Black/other minority children from having access to the same quality of education through property taxes.

But these examples all show why reparations are still needed for Black households today. Millions of Black Americans were screwed out of homeownership and college education, which could've set their children up for better futures. Recently, the city of Evanston Illinois announced that they would issue reparations for eligible Black households. According to an article from, The City Council on Monday voted 8-1 to begin making good on its pledge to distribute $10 million over the next 10 years with the distribution of $400,000 to eligible Black households. Each qualifying household would receive $25,000 for home repairs, down payments on property, and interest or late penalties on property in the city. Considering the state of Illinois and their long history with racism in the north after the great migration, this came as a nice surprise. We can only hope that cities and states across America follow behind.

Then there's accountability. Acknowledging that you as a white American, benefit from these systems put in place by your ancestors. So how can you help?

1) Use your voice to show public support for reparations. As twitter folks would say, 'Bullying works.' LOL

2) Support Mutual aid resources that help Black people. Mutual aid is an exchange of resources and services, political participation in which people take responsibility for caring for one another and changing political conditions.

3) Support local bills that improve education outside of middle-class zones.


5) Encourage equal opportunity in your workplace for Black people.

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