The Africana Studies Program at Rutgers Camden invited the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America (N’COBRA) to speak students Thursday night. Professor Mahdi Ibn-Ziyad introduced the topic of reparations being passed due toward African Americans. The class was split up into five groups and each had a student leader. Each group was assigned a topic to discuss, and one of the feature topics was “Reparations to African Americans have already been paid.”
The group shared that reparations have not been paid. “Welfare was not created based on race, so it is not a reparation” one of the members said. “There are more white people on welfare than there are black. We still haven’t gotten our 40 acres and a mule.” Resources are being held in banks, insurance companies and corporate businesses. Many businesses today were built from the money of the slave trade. Many African Americans are victims of consumer fraud from major banks, especially college students. Student loans are taken out from banks that thrived from the slave trade. A power point lecture was presented on the history of African American slaves.
A report was shown that the reparations has been given back to other people except blacks. In 1830, General William T. Sherman created an order that land grants that would be given to newly freed slaves. It promised 40 acres and a mule, but that order never passed the House of Representatives. “Blacks who are eligible, should be granted checks from the money gained from the slave trade,” another member said. “Blacks have the right to know which banks were created from the slave trade so that they are aware when choosing banks.”
Money is not the only form of reparation that was discussed. Education and media play a role as well. Student leader, Dashell Shaw, believes that people need to be more educated about African American history.
“Textbooks need to be changed because schools have either been altering history or not going in depth about the truth,” Shaw said. The media continues to control the image of African Americans.
African Americans are seen in a negative light and not always acknowledged for their work. The hashtag #oscarsowhite is a term that is trending, not only because of the unbalanced representation but lack of recognition for African American work. The rights African Americans have gained today was fought for. In order for something to be a reparation, it has to be given in benevolence from whites.
The head of the Africana Department, Dr. Kevin Green believes that whites owe reparations on a macro level. “We are not looking for reparations from any individual. It needs to come from American businesses and corporations,” Dr. Green said. African Americans who are entitled to reparations has to be descendants of slaves. Another student leader, Nairobi Colon believes that there should be a distinction between which African American gets reparations.
“There should be a system created to make sure the right people are getting back what was taken from them. It has to be fair,” Colon said. Dr. Green says that entitlement should be a global process. Each country should have its own system of handling reparations. “Black people, anywhere are entitled to reparations if their ancestors suffered slavery. It shouldn’t only be limited to Americans, because slaves were scattered all around the world. Those who never got it are entitled to it.”