I've heard some people talk about this like it's a good idea, so I'm curious.
I'm pretty solidly against the idea personally, but I'd like to hear from some smart people who are for it so that I can understand where they are coming from.
Slavery was a terrible thing, but almost all of our ancestors lived pretty terrible lives by modern standards. TheCSO has been known to point out that his people were so poor that mine owners hired them to work in the mines instead of slaves because slaves were too expensive to risk doing such dangerous work. (As someone who has some familiarity with modern workers compensation law, it amazes me that it used to be that a generous employer was one who paid you for the day that you maimed yourself in an accident, given that you hadn't worked the full day.)
I'm not saying that this was worse that slavery, I bet both ways of life were awful and I certainly don't know enough to rank them even if I wanted to. But it seems weird that we would draw an awfulness line that would make some ancestors lots sufficiently awful to rate reparations and some not.
Plus the economic impact on people today. I can't imagine the reparations would be good for the economy and I can't imagine how the calculations of what decades of suffering are worth will go. How much is sufficient if it was your whole family? How much if you're related to only one slave? If your ancestor figured out a way to buy his or her freedom, do you no longer get a check?
Plus the moral question. Will throwing money at the issue heal society's wounds?(The answer "No, but it's the best we can do," is, of course, not unreasonable. WASPy girl that I am, throwing money at the problem is often my solution for things, I will be the first to confess.) But is "the best we can do" good enough to merit all of the problems the mere act of giving reparations may cause?
Anyway, explanations and arguments are welcome. I'm just trying to understand the ideas.