Acceptable Forms Of Reparations For The Black Community That Don’t Include Weed
Cynthia Nixon (aka Miranda from Sex and the City) caught a lot of heat for suggesting that decriminalizing weed might be a form of reparations for Black people in New York. This was probably not the best move she could have made in her gubernatorial run, but she later clarified her point. “I’m not going to use that word anymore,” Nixon told the New York Post. “We have to make sure that the communities that have been most devastated by the war on drugs are prioritized for small business loans and other kinds of support. Obviously it would in no way make up for Jim Crow or slavery or hundreds of years of that. But part of the marijuana equity movement is beginning to repair some of the devastation.”
Basically, Nixon’s heart was in the right place but her phrasing was unfortunate. Still, the idea of reparations is intriguing. Much of the wealth and economic system in the United States was built on the backs of slaves. They were never paid for their labor, and the generations that came after them were also discouraged from building wealth. If the federal government was going to repay the descendants of slaves (not that I expect that to happen any time soon), there are few ways that it could make reparations–and these don’t include pot.
Student Loan Forgiveness/Repayment
The pursuit of dreams often takes us through college or trade school. Not many people have the ability to pay for school out of pocket, so they rely on student loans to take care of tuition. Depending on how much you make once you graduate, it could take you decades to pay off your student loans. But, if the U.S. wanted to make things right with the Black community, it could forgive all student loan debt accrued by Black American Students.
If you’ve already paid off all your students loans (kudos to you), then the federal government can simply repay you all the money shelled out to settle that debt–including interest.
As previously stated, getting a good education is not cheap. Millions of kids are going to underfunded schools, and they need access to facilities that are more up-to-date. To help set future generations up for success, the federal government could pay for all school tuition from pre-school up to a doctorate-level degree. This would include any tuition required for trade schools.
Clean Slate Credit
Good credit is a cost-effective way of paying the Black community back, but great credit is priceless. The federal government could give Black citizens that descended from slaves a clean slate with their credit score, setting us all at 700. This would be a fairly low-effort form of reparations that would be a huge financial benefit to the Black Community. However, I would suggest that this come along with easy access to financial planners that can help us all maintain good credit. Those of us who already have good credit would get an additional 50 point boost in their score.
Compounded Interest Savings Accounts
Instead of directly shelling out tons of money at once, the federal government could issue reparations in the form of a savings account that grows with compound interest. Recipients can contribute as much as they would like as often as they like, but each savings account should start out with $5,000 of seed money.
We never did get those 40 acres and a mule that our ancestors were promised. The federal government could make good on that by giving each family some valuable real estate.
Settling All Debts
It’s hard to build wealth when you’re constantly paying off debts. If the federal government settled the debts of Black people that descended from slaves, that would free us all up to get in good financial standing.