We owe a part of this discussion about reparations to the present electoral cycle, as we approach the 2020 presidential campaign. With China meaning business, we saw what a slight turn can do, as global markets reeled from the news that China has devalued its currency. We live in a global economy, and we are deeply connected. There was a time when the sun would set on the British empire. And as Europe’s goal was to conquer the world, America has followed suit on its way to becoming the economic power that it is. However, African Americans must retool our philosophy when it comes to negotiating with this economic behemoth.
My uncle, Dr. M.T. Thompson would always tell us, “when you know whose you are, then you know who you are.” And it is knowing who we are, that makes the resounding shout of freedom valuable. Businessmen might leave the theology to me, however, that theology contains being the moral compass for those corporate titans who have mismanaged the resources of the Theos. And preachers must exhort that all men are accountable to one another, and still have the ability to evaluate a corporate annual report. Kaiser Permanente is just one such example of a corporate giant that passes on all their cost to its patients, while it pays its CEO $16 million annually.
We must approach the council of this imperialist machine with the power to change this system. Reparations will be a fight, and we can win because there are more people at the bottom than there are at the top. We must listen to our elders who have fought this fight before us, as we still grip that eternal plow that moves us closer to our destiny. And we must change also. We must drop our slave ways and interrupt our peasantry with a decent education for everyone. In his book, “The Souls of Black Folk,” I read where W.E.B. DuBois said, “They exhibit, therefore, all the advantages and defects of such training; they are willing and good-natured, but not self-reliant, provident, or careful. If now the economic development of the South is to be pushed to the verge of exploitation, as seems probable, then we have a mass of workingmen thrown into relentless competition with the workingmen of the world, but handicapped by training the very opposite to that of the modern self-reliant democratic laborer.”
We must engage our strengths, work on our weaknesses, embrace our elders, encourage change, and entice a community to speak from the bottom to the top.