With reparations being such a hot-button topic, thanks, in part, to a viral clip from Trevor Noah and City of Minneapolis Councilmember Andrea Jenkins calling for real conversation, the MSR was inspired to hit the streets to find out what our communities think.
Brittany Delaney, poet and educator, Richfield
Yes, but how could we, simply, monetize our pain? And there is so much restorative work that needs to be done, in terms of criminal justice, education reform, housing, etc. It would have to be both monetary and restorative — without both happening in tandem, we’ve done nothing. And if the reparations don’t look like a repair of the system, there is no reparation.
Every structure that exists today would have to be torn down. The system is not broken, it is functioning as precisely as it’s supposed to function and failing precisely the people who it’s designed to fail. So, if we still are operating within that structure of White supremacy and not addressing key issues, just getting a check alone will mean nothing. Could we handle White people preaching that racism no longer exists post payoff? Didn’t we get enough of that during the Obama era?
Len Jones, 46, dean of students , Minnetonka
I believe as Black Americans, our reparation is well overdue. Not to put a particular amount that is due back, but I believe each person over 21 should receive a weekly check for the rest of our lives (eg; $3,500/week) non-taxed!
Yes, I believe so. I believe the amends should come in the form of changing systemic laws that have and do hold some African Americans back from progressing in the U.S. I also feel any money paid should go towards education, housing, community rebuilding, etc. so there is a greater long-term benefit thus providing empowerment and economic growth to the current and future generations of people.
Felicia Land, 39, South Saint Paul
Taiheichen Celestine-Lloyd, 43, Coon Rapids
I believe that Blacks should be paid reparations because even though slavery ended decades ago, the effects are still being felt today. This country was built on our backs and is still getting free labor by imprisonment of Black men. No other races face the hardships and prejudice that Black Americans face on a daily basis.
Reparations would be a way to show that America cares about the Black race and that it apologizes for all the wrongdoings by the Ancestors of the White Americans that are reaping the benefits of what Black people did for this country and is still doing today.
Sheila Crabbe, 33, teaching assistant, St. Paul
I think Black Americans are due reparations. Even though no amount of money could wipe away all the pain and suffering endured by their ancestors, I think a monetary gift should be given to all Black American families that is an amount enough to own a home without a mortgage and higher education for four years to two children.
Interviews conducted by MSR contributors Onika Nicole Craven and Stephenetta Harmon.