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Reparations for Slavery and Discrimination - Just Say NO Essay example

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Reparations for Slavery and Discrimination - Just Say NO

"If you are the son of a man who had a wealthy estate and you inherit your father's estate, you have to pay off the debts that your father incurred before he died. The only reason that the present generation of white Americans are in a position of economic strength...is because their fathers worked our fathers for over 400 years with no pay...We were sold from plantation to plantation like you sell a horse, or a cow, or a chicken, or a bushel of wheat...All that money...is what gives the present generation of American whites the ability to walk around the earth with their chest out...like they have some kind of economic ingenuity. Your father isn't here to pay. My father isn't
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Absent a clear definition of black (who would judge?) or reliable documentary evidence of descent (surely lacking in most cases), what presumptions would be accepted and how could they be rebutted?

Third, would beneficiaries have to show that American slavery caused their current condition? [Editor's Note: Under the American system of justice, civil courts (lawsuits) and criminal courts (prosecution of crimes) require such proof of wrongdoing, criminal acts, or harm.] What if they would otherwise have been killed or enslaved by their African captors, or sold to non-American masters?

Fourth, should all taxpayers bear the cost of reparations, or only those descended from slaveowners or from those who lived in the slave states? The list of such technocratic questions - none of them fanciful - could be extended endlessly.

Even though affirmative action does not entail direct payments for past discrimination, most supporters view it as a compensatory program; the greater economic opportunities it affords its beneficiaries do constitute a kind of reparations and are intended as such. After more than 30 years of affirmative action -- and my work on a comprehensive article on this subject in 20 Yale Law & Policy Review 1 (2002) -- several effects seem clear. (Many other effects, both good and bad, are more debatable).

First, the number of individuals
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