For about a week now there’s been this ongoing buzz about Bernie Sanders’ firm NO on reparations to African descendants of Slavery. Many seem to be appalled and let down. For me, I must say that I was not surprised at all. After all Bernie Sanders does NOT have the lived experience of disenfranchisement, disparity, calamity or brokenness. I thought it was interesting that when one of the commentators from the Breakfast Club asked Bernie: “So 44/45 presidents the US has had, do you think we need another white guy?” Bernie responded by saying: “You need this one!”
I found his answer a little arrogant even though I guess there weren’t too many other answers to be given. But it seems to be the common though process of many white men. The Patriarchy surrounding this perspective of blacks and People of Color :needing” is bothersome. It’s this attitude that continues to be prevalent in social and political movements. The white Savior Complex. Unfortunately, it’s not a stranger to any party affiliation and it’s this element that impedes the work of liberation. Furthermore, it often leads to neutralized and benign policies that don’t accomplish what’s actually needed in impacted communities.
What is needed are conversations, groups, and movements that are led by African Americans and People of Color that will unapologetically articulate needs and changes politically.
Marianne Williamson, Author, and Democratic Hopeful nominee for 2020 Presidential race has brought the conversation of reparations on a national level : “I believe $100 billion given to a council to apply this money to economic projects and educational projects of renewal for that population is simply a debt to be paid,” WIlliamson has stated. I applaud her willingness to have this on her platform. However, I am not sure how $100 billion became the magic number. Nor do I like the method of “distribution ” via vague projects she mentions.. African Americans are quite capable of articulating how, how much, when and to what extent these “wrongs” can be erased.
What is needed are candidates, leaders, and politicians that are capable of listening and moving forward with those individuals who are impacted. It is not enough to support reparations vocally and not have a clue as to where the repairs are needed. Unfortunately, to just present the Green New Deal as being the best option isn’t sufficient either. (It’s easy to discuss healthcare, free education, climate change, wealth disparities, mass incarceration and infant mortality). These areas are definitely premier when it comes to reparations but it’s not complete. Also, insulting to diminish the discourse of rectification to those who have been subjugated to a check (40 acres and a mule). A serious platform of reparations must offer a solution(s) that wipe out deeds, wrongs, sins committed in these areas: Legislative, executive, administrative, budgetary— In all levels EVERYWHERE.
To name a few: Release all Black Political Prisoners who fought against criminal and discriminatory practices of government. Amend or Repeal the word “except” in the 13th amendment. Tax Exemption Status, Preserving Black Sacred Sites & Monuments, Restitution of land stolen, intellectual property and artistic creations, and Acknowledge of the right to being Self-determined.
Again, these are just a few. The point is that real reparation dialogue rights the wrongs aggressively! White Liberals can NOT articulate these issues because they don’t have a clue. So, before I rest on any candidate, etc., saying that they, he or she is what I need I will beg to differ. Whether it’s the Green New Deal, $100 Billion reparation projects, or simply saying NO to a position of reparations (Reminder: Reparations is part of the Green Party platform) it must be challenged and written Audaciously.