Asheville City Council In North Carolina Has Unanimously Voted To Pay Reparations To Its Black Residents As An Apology For Slavery And Discrimination

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City Council Of Asheville, North Carolina, Has Unanimously Voted To Pay Reparations Its To Black Residents As An Apology For Slavery And Discrimination

People demonstrate in support of Black Lives Matter and reparations. Photograph: Nathan Posner/Rex/Shutterstock


The city council in Asheville, North Carolina, has voted in favour of reparations to African-Americans on the basis that they have been historically economically disadvantaged due to the slavery of their ancestors.


The Asheville City Council has also apologised for slavery and the discrimination African-Americans have received throughout the history of the country. The vote was passed by 7 votes to 0.


The resolution read:


"The resulting budgetary and programmatic priorities may include but not be limited to increasing minority home ownership and access to other affordable housing, increasing minority business ownership and career opportunities, strategies to grow equity and generational wealth, closing the gaps in health care, education, employment and pay, neighbourhood safety and fairness within criminal justice."


Councilman Keith Young, said in regards to the passing of the vote, that:
"Hundreds of years of Black blood spilled that basically fills the cup we drink from today. It is simply not enough to remove statutes. Black people in this country are dealing with issues that are systemic in nature."


The resolution will call for cross-organisational bodies to determine where tax money can be spent to best assist the African-American community.


While some have praised the move, others have reacted with anger, anger at why people living today should be paying for something that happened 150 years ago.


Councilwoman Sheneika Smith, took on these arguments, stating that the wealth of slavery had been passed down unfairly and this was justification for these reparative moves. She said:


"(Slavery) is this institution that serves as the starting point for the building of the strong economic floor for white America, while attempting to keep Blacks subordinate forever to its progress."


In the United States, the average white household wealth is $171,000 while for black families, it is $17,100. That said, while the wealth of the United States over the last 200 years was built partly on slavery, the overwhelming majority of the wealth created in the country was created by industrialisation in the northern states, and even 150 years ago the wealth of the south was economically falling far behind the non-slave states in the north. In effect, slavery played a relatively small part in the overall wealth of the modern United States. That is of course not to deny the racism that held many African-Americans back, up to and including the modern era.


The other issue with the program is how governments or states can possibly accurately distribute reparations? After all, a huge swathe of white America came to the US long-after slavery ended, and many of these people suffered religious persecution and bigotry also. Why should they pay for the crimes of others? Should African people who have moved to America after slavery receive compensation because they are black, but were never slaves? What of people who are of mixed race, are they partially responsible for slavery and partially the victim, should they both be penalised and compensated?


Many would contend that this is hardly a measure to defeat racism and if anything is more likely to result in pushing people into tribalism in a fight over resources. Many would ask if it is not better to take the route of Martin Luther King, who marched on behalf of all poor people, black and white, whilst also arguing against racism and prejudice?

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Thinking Humanity: Asheville City Council In North Carolina Has Unanimously Voted To Pay Reparations To Its Black Residents As An Apology For Slavery And Discrimination
Asheville City Council In North Carolina Has Unanimously Voted To Pay Reparations To Its Black Residents As An Apology For Slavery And Discrimination
The city council in Asheville, North Carolina, has voted in favour of reparations to African-Americans on the basis that they have been historically economically disadvantaged due to the slavery of their ancestors. The Asheville City Council has also apologised for slavery and the discrimination African-Americans have received throughout the history of the country. The vote was passed by 7 votes to 0.
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