After the abolition of slavery, discrimination and hate crimes continued to occur, eventually leading to Jim Crow laws and later the civil rights movement. Combined, these past events formed the current dilemma we have today, which is the constant feeling of inferiority, and the lack of representation in corporations and places of power, among minority groups. This inferiority and lack of justification by minorities should be over but, despite the end of slavery, segregation, and most discrimination, minority rights continue to be a hot topic and with this we need reparations to help justify and be the voice for minorities.
Minorities play a major role in our United States population and with the rate of minorities growing, they are set to overtake the white population. This is forming the idea of the “aging white population attentively listening” to the needs of minorities, a key factor which would lead to better economic support. Government support for minorities, in order to help them build a strong workforce, would help to generate support for the services they depend on more than the white population such as Medicare and social security. Minorities are also the future leaders, doctors, and employers and are forming a “cultural generation gap.” This gap is being formed because with ways of “aging whites fading in favor of those younger minority populations”, the track to reparations to help justify and vocalize the needs of minorities is underway (Greenblatt). Although minorities make up a major part of the population, especially African-Americans, “only 18% of blacks are satisfied with their treatment and support while 51% of the white population are satisfied with the treatment and support of blacks and minorities (Newport).”
The well known idea of reparations is to repay those who have been victimized, such as the free slaves who were given money in the late 1800s when the emancipation proclamation was written. Reparations have also been given to descendants of slaves from Africa, Asia, and other countries where slaves and coerced workers have descended from. New proposals aim to support and justify the rights of minorities in the context of scholarships, financial assistance, and benefits, which in turn would make minority rights less of a controversial topic and be the voice for minorities. In April 1989, Ray Jenkins of the Detroit Council proposed a $40 billion plan for education among minorities and those wanting to attend trade school, which is the form of reparations that should be used in order to avoid dependency on government resources by minorities (“Reparations for Slavery?”). In more recent reportings, democratic campaign runner Kamala Harris has proposed the Lift Act, which would “support families in the U.S. earning under $100,000”, under this umbrella is where most minority families stand in terms of economic class (Laughland et al Adjei-Kontoh). Recent studies show that “U.S. black families’ average net worth is $17,000 which is one-tenth of the average earnings of a white household”, which is why proposals such as the Lift Act would support minorities and would help vocalize their needs without just providing payments that would restrict creativity, expansion, and growth (Laughland et al Adjei-Kontoh).
The U.S. has programs such as Welfare, Social Security, and Medicare that are available to all, including minorities, so what would reparations offer, other than vocalization and moral support that isn’t already accessible? “Slavery is over and the lack of development is due to social ills such as broken down families and high crime/violence (“Reparations for Slavery?”).” “Although slavery is over and high crime/violence and broken down families”, are common among minorities, reparations would provide support to fix current issues. Issues such as lack of education and discrimination among minorities is a commonality but, through vocalization and justification our society could provide a steady platform for future generations (Greenblatt/ “Reparations for Slavery?”). Many opposers of reparations say that they would cost too much, especially making them available not only to blacks, but all minorities (“Reparations for Slavery?”). Reparations to all minorities would be ideal but, the expense for them as stated from both sides is too much. This opens up the door for the government to propose a way of support through a program/law similar to the “Lift Act.” Recent research shows opposition of reparations by political campaigners such as Bernie Sanders, as said by Adolph Reed, “Sanders is the only one who is honest about the wrongheadedness of the notion. It’s not a serious policy-based issue, both because it is an unnecessarily convoluted way to pursue a redistributive politics and because there’s no realistic way to imagine winning a legislative agenda for it (Laughland et al Adjei-Kontoh).” Although some campaigns such as that of Sanders are against reparations of any form, they are important in fixing our society and moving past long standing issues, building our future in a good light, and bridging the gap between minorities and whites.
Minority rights and needs are just as important as those of whites, but they lack representation and many are left feeling inferior which leads to statistics that show low satisfaction of treatment by minorities and whites showing opposition to it. Recent statistics show that white Americans are 76% satisfied with the way Asians are treated and also say that they are 61% satisfied with the treatment of blacks. Referring to the previous statement, “blacks and Hispanics are generally much less positive than whites about the way they and other minorities are treated (Jones).” A root of this inferiority, lack of representation, and low hope is that, “1 out of 3 black boys can expect to go to jail in their lifetime, while 1 out of 6 Hispanic boys can expect to go to jail” due to mass incarceration. Comparably, “only 1 out of 17 white men can go to jail”, showing that reparations can help to lower the mass incarceration which affects the minority population more, and reduce the government funding for prisons and court cases (“Mass Incarceration”). “Mass incarceration is a huge problem in the U.S.”, and leads to discrimination, lack of representation, and the struggle for minority rights. These issues influence minority rights and with reparations and support, these statistics could change in favor of both sides and also provide economic growth.
Minority rights is a current issue that needs resolution in order for the U.S. to move on and make vital choices that improve the future. Government support through programs such as the Lift Act, as proposed by Kamala Harris, could help inspire the next generation to make similar reparations. These changes would reduce discrimination, vocalize for minorities, and reduce the idea of minority rights to a minimum. Reparations would reduce issues such as mass incarceration, discrimination, and economic gaps. Our societies would be able to move on to new issues and the future for minorities would be bright and hopeful and even bridge the gap between minorities and whites.
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