I'll answer just in case you're really curious, and not just baiting me to put forth something that you can shoot down because you believe reparations is either an absurd or dead issue.
I see it as a non-starter in that I don't see it likely to happen, and also can't imagine how it would work without causing more harm than good but don't see it as something to ridicule.
My argument has never included a well thought out plan for implementation. In fact, in all the arguments for the cause of reparations I've seen(Randall Robinson's The Debt, Coates' Atlantic Article, Boris Bitner's Case for Black Reparations to name three good ones), I don't believe I've seen anyone try to actually plot out a working plan for financial reparation of injustice due to the practice of slavery. Such a plan would have to be economically sound in the context of the ever shifting economy and logical to the satisfaction of ever contentious politics, and I don't think I've seen anyone try to blueprint it.
Yeah, I asked because I noticed I hadn't ever seen one. And I think that's because the debate is just stuck on the concept but for me to seriously consider it I'd have to consider the practical implications. I guess in a way I am ready to more seriously consider it and wonder what it would look like.
My argument has always been and remains that the issue of government reparations for the ancestors of black chattel slaves is an issue that is worthy of discussion. It just is.
I admit that I haven't always agreed that it was even worthy of discussion. Ten years ago I thought it to be more of a fringe militant position and thought even discussion of it was harmful (in that I thought it was racially divisive and set back race relations for blacks without any prospect of it reaching consensus).
I think the country has progressed enough on the conversation of race that having this discussion is less divisive now than it was a decade ago, but still do believe that this is unlikely to get off the ground, and that white people and even other minorities like latinos or asians will feel "punished" for something they don't feel responsible for (and not get past that).
The issue does not present itself as a yea or nay vote as to whether it's worthyfor discussion. The issue abides as a moral obligation to at LEAST discuss, not dismiss as a settled matter or ignore simply because it's so uncomfortable.
It's not because it's uncomfortable but because I don't see it as having a realistic prospect of being helpful while the discomfort can cause a backlash and regression in progress.
I just don't know how it could be implemented in a way that is helpful and while I agree that some level of discussion of this is helpful I think that there is also a point at which it can become unhelpful if pressed too hard.
The almost immeasurable, and undeniably vital financial benefit of chattel slavery (especially for the purpose of producing cotton) to this nation; and the devastating damage it had on the people on whom the crime was perpetrated AND their ancestors SHOULD be something that people of moral substance WANT to discuss, and not dismiss as whining or the amusement of the naive.
And it is something that society today is willing to discuss, it is really the specific idea of reparations that is so much more sensitive. I think that most people disagree with a race-based approach to this vs a class-based approach (myself included).
If you read Coates' recent critique of Sanders carefully (or at all) it is clear that this is Coates' main contention as well. Reparations for slavery has never been seriously considered - "considered" meaning discussed with a truly open mind.
If you mean the nation as a whole I agree. But I think that sometimes this is a way of saying that it is not agreed with. I think it's not a given that an open mind would be receptive to the idea.
I'm familiar with the arguments for it and have given them serious genuine consideration (though seeing a better example implementation than I am able to conceive would be a way to consider it even more seriously) and my main disagreement just boils down to the preference for a race-based vs class-based solutions.
I understand the counter argument to my position too. A class-based solution does not address all the influence of the race-based problem. But there are problems with a race-based solution as well. One is that the optics are not great and many people are not thoughtful enough to not see it as reverse racism. Because of this it will inevitably be racially divisive and provoke a backlash, in my opinion. It also is often perceived as less "fair" to the average person, and I think this is instinctual. While a class-based solution would not address all of the general inequality between black and white races (one example is because it's not just that there is more poverty in the legacy for blacks but also that the success is less successful, the rich less rich too) it has some advantages that directly address the disadvantages of the reparations (or positive discrimination approaches).
But I'm not going to go into my arguments for class-based approaches too far, I am not here to shoot down the idea my question was sincere. I can't imagine a good implementation of reparations. There are some things I can see working (companies that have been shown to directly profit from slavery could be targeted etc) but I just don't see how it can work as a helpful instrument and not just another wedge issue.
I am legitimately curious about what proposals have been put forth on how this would work.