Beginning in 1619 and ending in 1865 the united states of America practiced slavery on African/African American individuals. Slavery is system where property law is applied to human beings, meaning one person can buy, sell, and own another person. Slavery has been a dark part of American history, a great wrong committed by the US government. From a young age we Americans are taught by our parents and teachers the importance of doing what is right and when we have done the opposite, we are expected to right our wrongs, simply because it’s the right thing to do, but if we as citizens are expected to right our wrongs then why is the government an exception?
Firstly, reparations should be paid to African Americans because Reparations have been paid in not only America but countries all over the world and have been done successfully, so if they were successful in the past why not now? After world war II many Jewish people had no homes or property because of the events of the holocaust and fearing the safety for themselves and their families more than 136,000 Jewish Germans emigrated to Israel so between 1953 and 1967 German chancellor Konrad Adenauer decided to pay three billion German marks in reparations to Israel, which is the equivalent of seven billion dollars, because he knew it was the right thing to do. 87.5% of the reparation money was used to develop the country by buying equipment and materials to build up its industry, buying mining equipment, paying for irrigations, paying for railways and electrical grids to be built, and to pay for fuel all these developments made life more comfortable for the Jewish population so if paying reparations made it easier for the Jewish to become comfortable living then the same thing can be done for African Americans today through reparations. The united states government themselves have even paid reparations in the past. Reparations were paid in 1988 for the unnecessary imprisonment of 82,000 Japanese Americans during WWII each getting 20,000 dollars and an apology to make amends for the suffering they caused, the American government paid these reparations because it was the right thing to do, but if African slaves have gone through a great deal more of suffering for an even longer time then that would mean they should also receive reparations.
In addition, slavery built the up Americas economy and yet they have never been paid back, without slavery there would have been no way for the north to industrialize as quickly as it did. One of the most notable forced labor African slaves were forced to preform was the act of picking cotton and on average would pick 200 pounds of cotton a day in the harsh heat with no breaks or payment, this cotton production is what help the American economy sky rocket, cotton textiles (breathable fabric) were one of the first industrially produced products, thanks to the African American slaves, and became the most important commodity in the world trade by the 19th century resulting in the world buying ¾ of its cotton from the south making the slave and plantain owners very rich and by bringing in money from other counties the American economy greatly benefited. Since the government and the country as a whole would not have been as successful without slavery it would only be fair that those slaves and their families would compensated for their grueling and painful work, it’s the right thing to do.
Finally, reparations should be paid because slavery and its effects have put African Americans today at a great disadvantage in life. Contrary to common belief slavery did not begin because of racism but because the Americans felt more superior then Africans due to the Americans having more developed tools and weapons like guns, while the Africans had primitive tools an weapons like bow and arrows, and spears. racism was a product of slavery, Slavery caused white Americans to grow prejudice towards the African Americans since they saw themselves as “above” the African Americans, this resulted in very discriminative laws being passed after slavery was abolished like the Jim crow laws that segregated people based on their race. Although racist laws like those have been abolished their effects still linger in today’s society, a prime example of this would be “redlining.” Redlining, defined by Wikipedia, is the systematic denial of various services to residents of specific, often racially associated, neighborhoods or communities. In today’s society redlining is predominantly practiced by banks when offering loans, redlining puts African Americans at a disadvantage because almost all neighborhoods targeted for redlining are predominantly black neighborhoods and since blacks couldn’t acquire loans they couldn’t buy new houses in better areas like the suburbs like white Americans did and since white Americans could own more expensive property when the market went up they could sell that property and accumulate wealth an opportunity African Americans didn’t/don’t have which is one big reason so many African Americans live in poverty. A recent case of red lining happened in Chicago, Milwaukee, and Minneapolis from 2008-2010 where people who were qualified but lived in minority neighborhoods were dined loans over qualified people who lived in predominantly white neighborhoods (source Washington post). In addition to racist laws and redlining African Americans are put at a disadvantage when it comes to schooling, because the majority of schools get government funding based on property taxes people who live in minority neighbor hoods have poorer education since they cannott pay for things like facilities, teachers, and supplies. A study by Edbuild showed that non-white majority schools received twenty three billion dollars less than white majority schools. If schools are aren’t well funded in African American schools then the African American students won’t do as well as they could with more resources, resulting in their grades suffering and hindering their chances of going to post-secondary school which in turn would lead the student to get a job that doesn’t pay well keeping them in poverty, but if reparations were paid this could all be avoided since the African Americans can use the reparations to move to a neighborhood with better schooling putting them at an even playing with everyone else.
In conclusion America should pay reparations for slavery because reparations have been successfully paid in the past for less damaging things, slavery built the economy, but African Americans haven’t been paid for their services, and finally slavery has put. For us to develop as a country and society we mustn’t neglect our wrong doings but amend them, the only way for society to progress is to right our wrongs because “it is the right thing to do”.