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Tulsa Race Riots of 1921 & The reparations Question Revisited
February 22, 2005 5:47 PM   Subscribe

Otis Granville Clark is a wonder. At 102, the former butler of Joan Crawford - who served Clark Gable and Charlie Chaplin - still drives, lives on his own and twice a week attends church in his home city of Tulsa, Oklahoma... Today his blue eyes have gone milky but they still sparkle, his wiry frame remains agile, and his most painful memories are still fresh - even after 83 years. Coiled on the edge of an understuffed sofa, Clark leans back and screws his eyes tight to summon up "that day". It remains the most vivid of his life... Historians call the firestorm that convulsed Tulsa from the evening of May 31 into the afternoon of June 1 the single worst event in the history of American race relations. To most Tulsans it is simply "the riot". But the carnage had nothing in common with the mass protests of Chicago, Detroit and Newark in the 1960s or the urban violence that laid siege to Los Angeles in 1992 after the white police officers who assaulted Rodney King were acquitted. The 1921 Tulsa race riot owes its name to an older American tradition, to the days when white mobs, with the consent of local authorities, dared to rid themselves of their black neighbours. The endeavour was an opportunity "to run the Negro out of Tulsa". Burnt Offerings
.See also The Tulsa Race Riot of 1921 or the tale of the lost city or another The Tulsa Race Riot of 1921. See also Frequently Asked Questions from the Tulsa Reparations Coalition. Previous post by allaboutgeorge re: Tulsa Race Riot Reparations on March 1, 2001 .
posted by y2karl (172 comments total)

 
When I came across first link via Political Theory Daily Review, it was the full article. I'll have to rummage around there and see if I can find that link and see if is still good. Meanwhile, here's a bit more from the article:

Neither the state nor the city has ever issued a formal apology and no one has received any compensation, despite the fact that survivors' stories have now been recorded in half a dozen documentaries, at least eight books, three national TV news shows, two textbooks, one romance novel, a musical and a movie for cable- TV.

And that was before the lawyers arrived.

On February 24 2003, 19 attorneys led by Charles J. Ogletree, a Harvard law professor and one of the country's most eminent black lawyers, filed suit in the US Federal District Court in Tulsa on behalf of the 123 riot survivors and 272 descendants. Ogletree had assembled a pro bono legal dream team, including Johnnie Cochrane, triumphant defender of O.J. Simpson, and Michael Hausfeld, a Washington D.C. lawyer who helped to win a number of Holocaust cases, including a $5bn settlement for victims of Nazi slave labour.

Before the legal action began, a few white civic leaders in Tulsa had spoken with regret about the riot and ONEOK's John Gaberino had recruited private donors to give $5,000 to each survivor, a move that collapsed once the lawsuit began.

"We had the money," he says, "But it's kinda hard to give money to folks when they're suing you." In lieu of direct payments, the state legislature in 2001 responded to mounting political pressure and awarded the survivors medals - gold-plated medallions inscribed with the state seal. Private donors covered the cost. Gaberino now leads a funding drive for a memorial museum, a variation of the memorial called for in the 2001 riot commission report. But the city has not budged on giving financial relief. The lawsuit has strengthened such sentiment, even though, so far, it has proven a poor test case.

Ogletree and company have lost at every stage. In March 2004, US Senior District Judge James Ellison dismissed the case, arguing that the statute of limitations had run. The plaintiffs filed an appeal with the US Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, but the dismissal was affirmed. Plaintiffs are to file a petition with the US Supreme Court on March 14. Ogletree remains optimistic, and the times may be on the side of the riot victims.

posted by y2karl at 6:02 PM on February 22, 2005


I'm sorry, but any sort of reparations for an event that happened long before anybody alive remembers (with the exception of one old man) are just not politically feasible. They'll do for blacks what the Florida recount did for democrats - polarize people at both extremes and stifle discourse in the middle - even if they in some sense "right."

We all have stories of our ancestors being discriminated against. Shit, sometimes it was pretty bad (as in this case). But those days were so long ago that there's no reason to take money out of the pockets of innocent poor whites to put it into the hands of innocent poor blacks. My Irish ancestors in Boston were treated poorly (probably not as badly, but still poorly), but I don't think that gives me any claim to the money earned by hard-working Bostonians today.

You can debate whether it is "right" all you want, but the backlash would do far more harm than good.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 6:06 PM on February 22, 2005


Here is that link. Right now, however, when I click on it, I am getting this:

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Our server was unable to complete your request due to high volume. Please try again by clicking your browser's reload button. If you receive this message again, wait a few minutes before attempting to access the page again.

posted by y2karl at 6:09 PM on February 22, 2005


Questions: Why should I have to pay for someone else’s mistakes? Not only was I not born, but neither were my parents and we didn't even live in Tulsa when we were born. Why should I pay when I do not feel that I should be responsible for repayment of something that I nor any of my ancestors had anything to do with?

Answer: The City of Tulsa and the State of Oklahoma are an entity that existed both now and in 1921 when the race riot occurred. Those entities are culpable for the riot that happened and the damages that occurred. This is akin to reparations paid to the Japanese Americans for involuntary internment during WWII. The Federal Government has spent billions on the Oklahoma City bombing, yet we the taxpayers had nothing to do with the setting of the explosives.

As American citizens we pay huge sums of money to help people anywhere in the world who have suffered devastating losses due to natural disasters or acts of war. Events for which we were not, are not, responsible.

The events of the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot resulted in devastating losses to a community of American citizens. They were not protected by their government from the actions of a vicious white mob. In fact there is evidence that government appointed officials participated in the destruction.

The real question is: Why in the world would we not pay reparations?
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Question: Funds are tight. The poor, the homeless, the addicted are with us now and require all that we can give. Is it fair to them to fund past wrongs to those who have overcome their trials already?

Answer: This issue is not about "giving away" money to those that suffered through the Tulsa Race Riot. It is payment for loss of life, property and liberty 80 years ago. It is the fulfilling of a promise from the City of Tulsa to help rebuild Greenwood. The money for reparations is not a "gift" to those that were in the riot, it is a debt that has been owed for many years and never paid.

The Greenwood community, now referred to as "Black Wall Street", was very vibrant at the time of the Tulsa Race Riot. Greenwood was a self contained and thriving community. Even 80 years after the riot Tulsa is still without a viable African American business community.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Question: How many descendants of race riot victims are there?

Answer: As of August 10, 2001, there are 127 survivors, and 275 descendants. As we envision how reparations would be paid, the "survivor" (or the survivors estate) would be allocated funds according to the loss incurred by the survivor's family at the time of the riot. Those funds would be either fully allocated to the survivor, or allocated to the estate as per the survivors last will or per the state laws. This is, of course, only one method for the fair allocation of funds. The final decision on how to allocate would be part of the dialogue.

posted by y2karl at 6:12 PM on February 22, 2005


(Please, please, please stop with these massive blocks of copy wrapped in <small> tags, y2karl. Have you no idea how totally unreadable it is? You've got to, because people have complained before. There must be many people with high-res monitors and their smalltext set to an actual small size that just skip your posts because of this. I know I'm one of them, for what little it's worth. kthxbye)
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:20 PM on February 22, 2005


(Sorry, not to derail, but here is what it looks like to me actual size. Carry on....)
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:29 PM on February 22, 2005


stavros, just don't look, just don't look...
posted by 1016 at 6:31 PM on February 22, 2005


NTM, isn't it kind of bad form to ask and then answer your own questions? If you want t debate yourself, that's great. But then I guess you won't be needing us.
posted by jonmc at 6:35 PM on February 22, 2005


It was a quote, jon, from a link above. On which you did not click.
posted by y2karl at 6:39 PM on February 22, 2005


horrendous, and there's more than one person left alive who lived thru it, thank God, not to mention what it did to the entire city. A disgustingly shameful thing, and no amount would be enough in reparations. It seems the people who run the town now still don't get it--good ol boys having fun?

Zinn on it, and other horrible things we did.
posted by amberglow at 6:46 PM on February 22, 2005


(jonmc, I believe y2karl's text is quoted from the reparations FAQ in the original post)

Wow. I heard about Tulsa in passing but nothing like this. Definitely nothing in American History. Aircraft bombing? Shit.

I think reparations is only fair since it will be in terms of actual funds lost. And you'd think there's be a memorial or something . . . sweeping possible mass graves under the rug? That is one embarrassed city.
posted by schroedinger at 6:48 PM on February 22, 2005


y2karl...not to snark at all...seriously...but do you have a possible stake in these potential reparations?

If not, fine, but if so, you should do the full disclosure thing.
posted by 1016 at 6:49 PM on February 22, 2005


I figured as much, karl, but the fact remains that the way the argument is presented discourages discussion and debate, by reducing it to "I know what you're going to say and here's why you're wrong, so there's really no need to discuss it."

And like stavros said, if it's in the link, is it really neccessary to copy and paste a huge block of miniscule text?

As far as the actual suit itself goes, I've got mixed feelings on it. While it's nice if survivors can get some compensation for lost property, reparations for something that happened 84 years ago don't do much to help the current plight of poor black people in Tulsa, and it smacks of "too little, too late."

Plus, it opens up the floodgates. Would the survivors of the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire (assuming there are any, although I'm sure there's descendants) be able to ask for reparations? The Matewan Massacre? I'm not being facetious or trolling, it's an honest question.

Plus it just seems to me to be largely motivated by people looking to relieve some sense of historical collective guilt, which is, first of all, I concept I reject, and secondly, does precious little good for the current situation.

Zinn on it, and other horrible things we did.

What you mean "we" ? Neither me nore my ancestors rioted in Tulsa or lynched any black people. My only resemblance to those people is that we are the same skin color, and to assign shared blame on that basis is wrong on it's face, and like someone said upthread only fans the flames of resentment and backlash.
posted by jonmc at 6:53 PM on February 22, 2005


Another bombing. And a settlement.
posted by grabbingsand at 6:54 PM on February 22, 2005


jon, you make some fine points...who is the "we" amberglow is referencing...my father's people got here in the late 17th century from England, never owned slaves....my mother's got here around 1914 or so, from Russia, to escape persecution...so what's my share of this inherited liability? For "our" horrible things...?
posted by 1016 at 6:59 PM on February 22, 2005


We all have stories of our ancestors being discriminated against. Shit, sometimes it was pretty bad (as in this case).

Just had to look again to see, yes, he really did describe this massive violence as 'discrimination'.

Jesus.


posted by Space Coyote at 7:00 PM on February 22, 2005


So, jon, you feel then that Germany should not be paying reparations to the survivors of the Holocaust ? After all, most Germans alive now were not around during World War II--is it not also, by your logic, unreasonable to ask them to pay for something with which they had nothing to do ? Just what is your statute of limitations on the matters ?
posted by y2karl at 7:00 PM on February 22, 2005


oops, </i>
posted by Space Coyote at 7:01 PM on February 22, 2005


these matters ?

And, is it not also wrong, by your logic, that we should ever pay anything to those Americans of Japanese ancestry who were put into interment camps during the World War II as well ? Or do you have a pick and choose approach to these matters ?
posted by y2karl at 7:04 PM on February 22, 2005


I mean, you weren't alive then--why should it be on your dime ? In fact, as the FAQ noted, why should you have to pay anything to the survivors of the Oklahoma City bombing ? You didn't have anything to do with that, either. Not to mention 9/11. Why should the 9/11 survivors get paid a dime ? I mean, let's be consistent.
posted by y2karl at 7:07 PM on February 22, 2005


Or is it only when the reparations are for black victims of racist violence that you get extra queasy ?
posted by y2karl at 7:08 PM on February 22, 2005


Matewan was a Union/corporation riot that turned deadly. Triangle Shirtwaist was a horrible industrial fire. Neither sets of casualties were products of a municipal entity, as is the case in Tulsa in 1921 and in Philadelphia in 1985.
posted by grabbingsand at 7:11 PM on February 22, 2005


I should probably append my statement by saying that I do believe that we do have plenty of work to do to address the current effects of the legacy of slavery and Jim Crow, I'm just not convinced that actions like this are the smartest or most effective way to do it. A large chunk of that work involves education and work on peoples hearts and minds.

While I loathe racism and bigotry in any form, I also can see how say, an out-of-work white oil rig worker (probably the descendant of sharecroppers or cheap immigrant labor himself) hearing about this and feeling some resentment, which creates a fertile breeding ground for both racist attitudes and fertile recruits for racist organizations. Not that this is any excuse for racism, but I think that only the extremely naive would think that these things develop in a vacuum.

In fact, as the FAQ noted, why should you have to pay anything to the survivors of the Oklahoma City bombing ?

Well, believe it or not, I have mixed feelings about 9/11 reparations as well, and like I said, I have mixed feelings about the whole enterprise, not that I'm one hundred perent agianst it, just that it calls for extreme judiciousness.

One question: they've located surviving victims, have they located surviving perpetrators or city agencies that they can prove caused harm through inaction? That would clarify things somewhat.

Or is it only when the reparations are for black victims of racist violence that you get extra queasy ?

If that's a backhanded accusation of racism, I'd like to say that I find it to be a cheap shot, a scarlet letter routine, and unwarranted.
posted by jonmc at 7:13 PM on February 22, 2005


Or is it only when the reparations are for black victims of racist violence that you get extra queasy ?

By survey, those sort of reparations are very unpopular among white people in America. So should reparations be based upon a popularity contest as in 9/11 victims=Good but Tulsa Race Riot Victims=Ungood ? Should we only correct injustice when it makes us feel good about ourselves ? Let's just not call it justice in that case. Self-flattery is more the apt description.
posted by y2karl at 7:16 PM on February 22, 2005


While I loathe racism and bigotry in any form, I also can see how say, an out-of-work white oil rig worker (probably the descendant of sharecroppers or cheap immigrant labor himself) hearing about this and feeling some resentment, which creates a fertile breeding ground for both racist attitudes and fertile recruits for racist organizations.

So, then do you hold that German payments to Holocaust survivors probably cause anti-semitic attitudes and fertile recruits for Neo-nazi organizations as well ?
posted by y2karl at 7:20 PM on February 22, 2005


What you mean "we" ?
I mean we--us citizens of the US, whose government and soldiers are even now doing horrible things in Iraq, and Guantanamo, and elsewhere. It's always happened, it's still happening, and we share the responsibility--even if for no other reason than to try to ensure it doesn't happen again, which we're failing miserably at, and also sending the message that it's important to stop/fight this kind of thing--and that the people killed had value--something not at all realized at the time, and maybe even not now.

Think back to the freedom riders--they weren't directly responsible for lynching or segregation, but they realized that it's one country and we're all here together, and what kills some, hurts all.
posted by amberglow at 7:25 PM on February 22, 2005


Once again:

"y2karl...not to snark at all...seriously...but do you have a possible stake in these potential reparations?"

Haven't heard back from you on this. Any response?

And, as a conservative, I find jonmc's taking violent exception to anybody's accusation of racism to heart...like jon, I loathe racism and bigotry in all and every form.
posted by 1016 at 7:25 PM on February 22, 2005


karl, all very well and good, but you're not listening. To repeat myself again, I don't necessarily have a problem with this case, but I do have questions and concerns. Like who, exactly, is entitled to sue? where is the money going, directly to victims? to outside agencies? charities?

So, then do you hold that German payments to Holocaust survivors probably cause anti-semitic attitudes and fertile recruits for Neo-nazi organizations as well ?

The German governmant was directly responsible for the suffering of holocaust survivors. But I don't the average young German citizen of today to feel any guilt for the holocaust nor should he. If they can prove that the Tulsa City Government's actions or inactions caused harm in this case, then, sure, the Tulsa City Government should pay up. Just as in slavery reparations suits, I think that if you can find a family whose ancestors built their fortunes on the baks of slave labor, then that family should pony up.

Like I said, it's more the potential repercussions that have me concerned. And yes I do reject the notion of collective guilt, it's way too close to visiting the crimes of the father (in this case a "father" whose only relation to me is skin color) upon the son, which is a concept that any good secular humanist should reject.

I mean we--us citizens of the US,

So you are now responsible for the actions of a government that you do not control? why not take it further, are you responsible for the actions of any US citizen? I loathe the things you talk about as much as you do, and I'll what's within my (extremely limited) power to voice my displeasure with them if it helps stop them, but I fail to see how public self-flagellation helps anything.


And, as a conservative, I find jonmc's taking violent exception to anybody's accusation of racism to heart...


I'm not a conservative, so don't get any ideas about using me to push an agenda. Otherwise thanks for the support.

"y2karl...not to snark at all...seriously...but do you have a possible stake in these potential reparations?"

Haven't heard back from you on this. Any response?


Just to be fair, this question is (despite the protestations of the questioner) out of line, too. I've butted heads with y2karl numerous times, but I believe he's sincere and that his motivations are good, so I'll happily give him the benefit of a couple million doubts.
posted by jonmc at 7:36 PM on February 22, 2005


"y2karl...not to snark at all...seriously...but do you have a possible stake in these potential reparations?"

Wow. Just.. wow.

That sneaky y2karl, posting all that crap to MetaFilter as part of a grand get-rich-quick scheme.
posted by Space Coyote at 7:40 PM on February 22, 2005


So you are now responsible for the actions of a government that you do not control? why not take it further, are you responsible for the actions of any US citizen? I loathe the things you talk about as much as you do, and I'll what's within my (extremely limited) power to voice my displeasure with them if it helps stop them, but I fail to see how public self-flagellation helps anything.

It's not public self-flagellation, it's recognition, respect, and a sign of our progress as a nation, like our reparations for interning Japanese during WW2, etc. (We weren't alive when it was done, but the money for that came from us, like the German money came from present-day Germans who pay taxes.)
posted by amberglow at 7:44 PM on February 22, 2005


"y2karl...not to snark at all...seriously...but do you have a possible stake in these potential reparations?"

My father was born in what is now Poland, my mother's family was of Northern Irish/Geman stock and I was born in Idaho. Do you have any other stupid questions to ask ?
posted by y2karl at 7:46 PM on February 22, 2005


that's a clear case of someone projecting their own selfishness onto you, y2k, and ridiculous.
posted by amberglow at 7:47 PM on February 22, 2005


This is amazing, y2karl. I appreciate this. Makes me want to go The U. of Tulsa, and volunteer to put all this on the internet.
posted by bitpart at 7:56 PM on February 22, 2005


And if you'll indulge a bit of a related aside here, I think the resentfment people feel in cases like this is something of a by-product of how many Americans (possibly with some justification) feel about their government. They feel alienated from it, that it's a big mysterious entity that operates in secret, that they have no control over, and that is often antagonistic to them. This is usually backed up by personal experience. Most peoples experiences with the Public Manifestations of The Sate are unpleasant. When you see an envelope in your mail with a city, state or federal goverment seal on it, are you happy or are you apprehensive? But the fact does remain that the Government acts on the citizen's dime, if not always at their behest or best interest. Whic may account for the easy separation people make between their own actions and their governments.

Like I said, just an aside, and just a theory on some related epiphenmoena.
posted by jonmc at 7:57 PM on February 22, 2005


One question: they've located surviving victims, have they located surviving perpetrators or city agencies that they can prove caused harm through inaction?

In some government participated in the deed.

In some government performed the deed.

In none did government prevent the deed.

In none did government punish the deed.

And that, in the end, is what this inquiry and what these recommendations are all about.

Make no mistake about it: There are members of this commission who are convinced that there is a compelling argument in law to order that present governments make monetary payment for past governments' unlawful acts. Professor Alfred Brophy presses one form of that argument; there doubt less are others.

This is not that legal argument but another one altogether. This is a moral argument. It holds that there are moral responsibilities here and that those moral responsibilities require moral responses now.

It gets down to this: The 1921 riot is, at once, a representative historical example and a unique historical event. It has many parallels in the pattern of past events, but it has no equal for its violence and its completeness. It symbolizes so much endured by so many for so long. It does it, However, in one way that no other can: in the living flesh and blood of some who did endure it.

These paradoxes hold answers to questions often asked: Why does the state of Oklahoma or the city of Tulsa owe anything to anybody? Why should any individual tolerate now spending one cent of one tax dollar over what happened so long ago? The answer is that these are not even the questions. This is not about individuals at all - not any more than the race riot or anything like it was about individuals.

This is about Oklahoma - or, rather, it is about two Oklahomas. It must be about that because that is what the Tulsa race riot was all about, too. That riot proclaimed that there were two Oklahomas; that one claimed the right to push down, push out, and push under the other; and that it had the power to do that.

That is what the Tulsa race riot has been all about for so long afterwards, why it has lingered not as a past event but lived as a present entity. It kept on saying that there remained two Oklahomas; that one claimed the right to be dismissive of, ignorant of, and oblivious to the other; and that it had the power to do that.

That is why the Tulsa race riot can be about something else. It can be about making two Oklahomas one - but only if we understand that this is what reparation is all about. Because the riot is both symbolic and singular, reparations become both singular and symbolic, too.

Compelled not legally by courts but extended freely by choice, they say that individual acts of reparation will stand as symbols that fully acknowledge and finally discharge a collective responsibility.

Because we must face it: There is no way but by government to represent the collective, and there is no way but by reparations to make real the responsibility.

Does this commission have specific recommendations about whether or not reparations can or should be made and the appropriate methods? Yes, it surely does.

When commissioners went looking to do the right thing, that is what nearly all of them found and what they recommended in last year's preliminary report. To be sure they had found the right thing, they have used this formal report to explore once more the distant terrain of the Tulsa race riot and the forbidding territory in which it lies. Now, they are certain. Reparations are the right thing to do.

What else is there to do? What else is there to find?


Final Report of the Oklahoma Commission to Study The Tulsa Race Riot of 1921

From Tulsa Race Riot - A Report by the Oklahoma Commission to study the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921
posted by y2karl at 7:59 PM on February 22, 2005


So you are now responsible for the actions of a government that you do not control?

I think that, in principle, this can be a good way to think of the relationship between the citizens of a democracy and the government of that democracy. The government is answerable to the citizens, and the citizens are responsible for the government. I recognize, however, that this is not always a realistic--or even practical--way of looking at things.

There's also the question of whether an individual actor is acting as a representative of the government or as an individual. For example, where do you draw the line between an undisciplined soldier or group of soldiers behaving badly in a combat situation and a government-sanctioned war crime? These are difficult questions....

why not take it further, are you responsible for the actions of any US citizen?

Be careful with this argument, because it works in both directions. If you claim to not be responsible for any actions of your government, then the entire social contract breaks down. If you have no responsibility, then why should you pay taxes (other than that because you are forced to, as the Randians are fond of saying, at the barrel of a gun)? If you have no responsibility for your government, then why do you bother voting? Why should your vote be counted, for that matter? I think that part of civic responsibility, and part of being a citizen of a democracy, is owning up to and taking responsibility for the failures of your government, as well as reaping the benefits of living in a successful democratic state.
posted by mr_roboto at 8:01 PM on February 22, 2005


yup. This is not that legal argument but another one altogether. This is a moral argument. It holds that there are moral responsibilities here and that those moral responsibilities require moral responses now.

It gets down to this: The 1921 riot is, at once, a representative historical example and a unique historical event. It has many parallels in the pattern of past events, but it has no equal for its violence and its completeness. It symbolizes so much endured by so many for so long. It does it, However, in one way that no other can: in the living flesh and blood of some who did endure it.

posted by amberglow at 8:02 PM on February 22, 2005


From the report's introduction:

This Commission fully understands that it is neither judge nor jury. We have no binding legal authority to assign culpability, to determine damages, to establish a remedy, or to order either restitution or reparations. However, in our interim report in February, 2000 the majority of Commissioners declared that reparations to the historic Greenwood community in real and tangible form would be good public policy and do much to repair the emotional and physical scars of this terrible incident in our shared past. We listed several recommended courses of action including direct payments to riot survivors and descendants; a scholarship fund available to students affected by the riot; establishment of an economic development enterprise zone in the historic Greenwood district; a memorial for the riot victims.

In the final report issued to day, the majority of Commissioners continue to support these recommendations. While each Commissioner has their own opinion about the type of reparations that they would advocate, the majority has no question about the appropriateness of reparations. The recommendations are not intended to be all inclusive, but rather to give policy makers a sense of the Commission's feelings about reparations and a starting place for the creation of their own ideas.


I believe that some sort of memorial has been erected and that, also, the survivors have been given gold plated medallions commemorating their experience. None of the other recommendations of the comission have been carried out.
posted by y2karl at 8:10 PM on February 22, 2005


In some government participated in the deed.

In some government performed the deed.

In none did government prevent the deed.

In none did government punish the deed.



Fair enough. I was asking, not accusing.


That is why the Tulsa race riot can be about something else. It can be about making two Oklahomas one - but only if we understand that this is what reparation is all about.


That might be the intention, and it's an honorable one, but I'm not sure that would be the actual outcome.
posted by jonmc at 8:13 PM on February 22, 2005


If you claim to not be responsible for any actions of your government, then the entire social contract breaks down.

I have a sinking feeling that ship sailed a while ago.
posted by jonmc at 8:14 PM on February 22, 2005


As a lurker, I would very much appreciate it if y2karl would trust me to click the links he provides and read the contents there rather than copy and paste them directly into the thread in increasingly unreadable typefaces.
posted by S.C. at 8:26 PM on February 22, 2005


I think that if you can find a family whose ancestors built their fortunes on the baks of slave labor, then that family should pony up.
But what about all the people who didin't own slaves directly, but benefited from slavery? And what about the fact that people still benefit from being "White" in a society which did build its fortunes on the backs of slave labor? I don't think anyone is suggesting punishing the present people for crimes from the past as if the present people commited them. This is about acknowleging injustice which was done by a collective group against other human beings.
posted by MightyNez at 8:30 PM on February 22, 2005


As a lurker, I would very much appreciate it if y2karl would trust me to click the links he provides and read the contents there rather than copy and paste them directly into the thread in increasingly unreadable typefaces.

Deaf ears, pal. Trust us, it's falling on deaf ears.
posted by GeekAnimator at 8:33 PM on February 22, 2005


Interesting, but for me the real gem here is the Political Theory Daily Review. Thanks for pointing that out, y2karl.
posted by .kobayashi. at 8:36 PM on February 22, 2005


And what about the fact that people still benefit from being "White" in a society which did build its fortunes on the backs of slave labor? I don't think anyone is suggesting punishing the present people for crimes from the past as if the present people commited them. This is about acknowleging injustice which was done by a collective group against other human beings.

You contradict yourself. You basically said that you don't think we should punish people, but that the entire white race is somehow guilty by accident of birth. Which is the exact propoganda white supremacists use to stoke resentment. I'd rather not give them fodder.


And what about the fact that people still benefit from being "White"


I think it's more that being white might spare someone certain hardships and indignities. And somewhere there's laid off Wal-Mart shelf-stocker reading that and thinking "White Privilige, my ass." So as long as we frame the discussion in these terms, it's all gonna fall on deaf ears or worse.
posted by jonmc at 8:41 PM on February 22, 2005


I saw the typeface as seen on Stavos screen. I am 55 years old, my eyesight is poor and I have trouble reading fine print and yet I had no trouble whatsoever reading the small type he sees, the size of which can be adjusted on this end, or so I am led to understand.

Also, there is proof abundant in this thread that people do not click the links and read the contents there prior to honking off.

Blind eyes, pal. Trust us, the links fall upon willfully blind eyes connected to intentionally paralyzed fingers.
posted by y2karl at 8:42 PM on February 22, 2005


Also, there is proof abundant in this thread that people do not click the links and read the contents there prior to honking off.

Blind eyes, pal. Trust us, the links fall upon willfully blind eyes connected to intentionally paralyzed fingers.


Yes, because the response is not what you wanted it to be, it's because we're all willfully blind and if we would just listen to the Gospel According To Karl we'd all see the light.

And your continued dismissal of repeated requests to cut it out with the giant blocks of small type speaks volumes about your lack of respect for your intended readeship.
posted by jonmc at 8:46 PM on February 22, 2005


y2karl, the people who aren't going to click your links are just going to skim your posts. You can't make people listen to you, man, and you're pissing off people who otherwise might.
posted by S.C. at 8:46 PM on February 22, 2005


On post: Hi, jonmc.
posted by S.C. at 8:46 PM on February 22, 2005


could you guys not derail pls?
posted by amberglow at 8:48 PM on February 22, 2005


My co-worker is from Tulsa. I'll kick the shit out of him tomorrow when he gets in. I may need some help, as he is younger and more athletic than me. Fortunately, the receptionist is African-American, once she reads this thread I'm sure she can be counted on to chip in.
posted by jonson at 8:51 PM on February 22, 2005


Yet we can spend hundreds of billions of dollars on some ballistic missile defense system that has no chance whatsoever actually working should we be attacked by means of nuclear weapon tipped ballistic missiles, let alone nuclear weapon tipped cruise missles, let alone nuclear weapon containing shipping containers, and no one gets a sixteen hundredth as exercised about the cost or injustice of it all.

All I know is that if it were reparations for Japanese Americans held in intermment camps during World War II, there would be far far less uproar. There are some things we just can not look at directly. It's a methinks thou doth protest too much thing.

Upon review: And jon, once again you asked a half dozen questions you didn't need to ask because, as always, you never bother to read the links. You just spout off.
posted by y2karl at 8:53 PM on February 22, 2005


you could ask him if his family ever spoke about it, or point him to these links and the post here, jonson.
posted by amberglow at 8:54 PM on February 22, 2005


amberglow, karl basically said that anyone who didn't see the situation the way he did was being "willfully blind," and basically told anyone who didn't like his (repeatedly decried) habit of posting novel-legnth excerpts of small type to basically go fuck ourselves. We responded to those accusations. If anyone's derailing here, it's him.

What do you want, that we only should comment when we want to pat somebody on the back? or when our opinions won't disturb anyone's sensibility?

Sorry, that's an anathema to what the site's supposed to be about. If people want an echochamber thay can go find a mens room. If they want affirmations they can go to Hazelden.

Engage with our statements and don't assume that everyone who diagrees with you is willfully blind. It's insulting and it's an anathema to actual discussion.
posted by jonmc at 8:57 PM on February 22, 2005


The Tulsa Reparations Coalition. . .was organized on April 7, 2001 in response to the Race Riot Report and its sound reparations recommendations:

1. Direct payment of reparations to survivors of the Tulsa Race Riot.
2. Direct payment of reparations to descendants of the survivors of the Tulsa Race Riot.
3. A scholarship fund available to students affected by the Tulsa Race Riot.
4. Establishment of an economic development enterprise zone in the historic area of the Greenwood District.
5. A memorial inclusive of the reburial of any human remains found in the search for unmarked graves of riot victims.


I'm sure virtually all the survivors of the riots were children who lost family members in the riots, but it sure is odd that the only mention of the actual dead murdered victims of the riots is in an offer to rebury some of them.
posted by techgnollogic at 8:58 PM on February 22, 2005


amberglow, karl basically said that anyone who didn't see the situation the way he did was being "willfully blind," and basically told anyone who didn't like his (repeatedly decried) habit of posting novel-legnth excerpts of small type to basically go fuck ourselves.

No, I did not. I said some people don't bother to even read what is immediately available before spouting off. There's a big difference between that and me expecting people to see things my way.
posted by y2karl at 9:01 PM on February 22, 2005


who made this thread about y2k instead of Tulsa in the first place, jon?
posted by amberglow at 9:03 PM on February 22, 2005


Actually, I already sent him this link. His family moved there in the 70's, but you can never be too careful.
posted by jonson at 9:04 PM on February 22, 2005


It's insulting and it's an anathema to actual discussion.

It's insulting to be asked questions obviously gone over in the material linked--the culpability of the TUlsa and Oklajoma governments, the sort of reparations suggested, for example--by someone who obviously hasn't even bothered to look at the links. Spouting off before reading a single sentence is anathema to discussion.
posted by y2karl at 9:06 PM on February 22, 2005


Tulsa and Oklahoma, to be sure...
posted by y2karl at 9:07 PM on February 22, 2005


who made this thread about y2k instead of Tulsa in the first place...?

When three of the first four comments in this thread were his own and he ignored the fifth—a polite request to stop copying information he'd already provided—I'd say y2karl did it himself.
posted by S.C. at 9:10 PM on February 22, 2005


There are some things we just can not look at directly. It's a methinks thou doth protest too much thing.

I can look at it directly just fine. A bunch of racists rioted in a city I've never been to, over 80 years ago. It's tragic and regrettable and a pox upon our country's history.

I voiced some concerns about the repercussions of this suit and the cultural assumptions surrounding it. Your response was to backhandedly accuse me of being a racist, which I strenuously object to, because it's a lazy way to address someone's points and because karl knows me well ennough to know that whatever else I am, I am no more bigoted than anyone else on this planet. You'll also notice that I defended you from 1016's obtuse accuation. Your welcome.

who made this thread about y2k instead of Tulsa in the first place, jon?

All I did was criticize the way the information was presented in this comment and was told that it was a quote from a link that I didn't read. Well, I din't have to, did I? Stav asked karl to cut it out with the huge blockquotes of tiny text, and karl brushed him off. If it was someone who's politics you disgareed with, amber, you'd be in the first rank of those calling for him to cut it out.
posted by jonmc at 9:13 PM on February 22, 2005


karl basically said that anyone who didn't see the situation the way he did was being "willfully blind," and basically told anyone who didn't like his (repeatedly decried) habit of posting novel-legnth excerpts of small type to basically go fuck ourselves. We responded to those accusations. If anyone's derailing here, it's him.

jonmc, I believe his point about "willful blindness" is not that you're blind to his point of view, but that you're blind to the links themselves because you're obviously not reading them.

Damned if he doesn't post the text, because you refuse to read the links and thus ask questions and spout off arguments that are easily refuted with the material he's already provided. Damned if he does because people bitch about him posting novel-length texts.

Yes, he could answer stuff with less material. But you could also bother to read the material in the first place so this whole mess wouldn't happen.

Anyway, this is a case where the government was clearly involved in the destruction of people's property and the reparations will be going directly to the survivors and/or their estates. If this happened yesterday nobody would have any questions about reparations to survivors, so I don't see why we should now just because they're old.
posted by schroedinger at 9:19 PM on February 22, 2005


Metafilter: could you guys not derail pls?
posted by iamck at 9:23 PM on February 22, 2005


I didn't say anyone was guilty by birth. I was simply addressing that it would go along with what you yourself said:
I think that if you can find a family whose ancestors built their fortunes on the baks of slave labor, then that family should pony up.
as the society/nation/"family"/etc. built its fortunes on the backs of slave labor, and therefore should not be so hostile and might want to "pony up"—is this so different from what you said?

What is government, if not some kind of collective entity created of/by the individuals in society? These kinds of acts generally could not have happened without the approval or consent of those involved in governing these communities.

Reparations don't restore the loss of life and livelyhoods faced by the victims in these situations. It helps to get acknowledgement and raise discussion about something which the society has chosen to ignore or to pretend is all in the past.

A person may be able to claim lack of slave-ownership in his/her family's past, but does that mean he/she has not benefitted from slave labor? Do you think rich white people were out in the riot getting their hands dirty? Or was it poor whites whose families couldn't have afforded to own a slave? Would you take their pride in the fact that their family never owned slaves as freeing them from responsibility?

The font issue doesn't belong here. There's a handy-dandy link at the bottom of the page called "Customize" which lets people set a minimum size for their fonts, no?
posted by MightyNez at 9:25 PM on February 22, 2005


OK, the point about clicking on the links is taken. But I still object to the dismissal of what I was trying to say, and to the accusation of racism.

And, the small type thing. I can read it fine myself, too. But other people have repeatedly asked him to stop, and his dismissal of them is something many people would take as a lack of considertion.
posted by jonmc at 9:25 PM on February 22, 2005


it sure is odd that the only mention of the actual dead murdered victims of the riots is in an offer to rebury some of them.

I believe this is a reference to a putative mass burial site, technognollic. The state archeolologist believes that one may have been found but so far the city and state have forborn excavating it.

Unlike Mountain Meadows or Sand Creek, 122 survivors of the Tulsa Race Riot are living today. But the truth is no more complete, as conflicting oral histories and incomplete documents still leave many holes in the Tulsa Race Riot story. Eyewitness accounts recall the presence of airplanes flying over the riot dropping incendiary bombs that left buildings below in flames, but no solid evidence to back up these claims has ever been found. As with the LDS Church in the Mountain Meadows Massacre, the Commission report suggests there was an intentional government and media effort to cover up the shameful and embarrassing events of the riot. Perhaps the most striking discrepancy is in the number of deaths caused by the riot. City records show that about three dozen blacks died as a result of the riot, while historians now estimate there were anywhere between 100 and 300 deaths. In February 1999, archaeologists began a geophysical survey using ground-penetrating radar to identify possible locations of mass burials. One man recalled a crate being dumped into an unmarked part of Oaklawn Cemetery, matching a site where the radar detected an anomaly. Oklahoma's state archaeologist Bob Brooks, understanding the importance of the site and possible impact on many in Tulsa, prepared a detailed plan of action to present to the city including the identification of race, the cause of death, and reburial.

Also noteworthy is Meet the victims. Oral History Accounts Of The Tulsa Race Riot Of 1921 By The Black Survivors.

Oh, by the way, jon, you stop playing the victim. I did not accuse you of being a racist. I noted that reparations paid to black victims of racist violence are very unpopular among white people in America right after asking that question. Why should you feel any differently ? I also asked whether you felt as strongly about reparations to Japanese Americans held in World War internment camps as you do about reparations to the Tulsa Race Riot Survivors. That's a fair question, I believe.
posted by y2karl at 9:26 PM on February 22, 2005


Stav asked karl to cut it out with the huge blockquotes of tiny text, and karl brushed him off.

Not until 8:42 did I refer to Stavros's comments of 6:20 and 6:29. Then I said I could read them fine myself. What a quick and cruel wit. That is some brush off.
posted by y2karl at 9:34 PM on February 22, 2005


as the society/nation/"family"/etc. built its fortunes on the backs of slave labor, and therefore should not be so hostile and might want to "pony up"—is this so different from what you said?

This nation was built on the backs of a lot of people's labor.

And frankly, to be honest, in legal and even moral terms, this case has some merit. My main concern is with the possible repercussions if this leads to an open season on historical greivances.

This comment contains the line " It can be about making two Oklahomas one," I'm saying that it could very well have the opposite effect. That, in and of itself, is no reason to abandon the case or anything, it's just something to think about.

I also asked whether you felt as strongly about reparations to Japanese Americans held in World War internment camps as you do about reparations to the Tulsa Race Riot Survivors. That's a fair question, I believe.

I actually have mixed feelings about those as well. Not neccessarily that it's morally incorrect, just conerns about where it all ends and how it's applied.

Oh, by the way, jon, you stop playing the victim. I did not accuse you of being a racist.

I'm not playing anything. "Or is it only when the reparations are for black victims of racist violence that you get extra queasy ?" sounds like you're saying that I don't care about black people's suffering, which is a misrepresentation I'm within my rights to correct.

Not until 8:42 did I refer to Stavros's comments of 6:20 and 6:29. Then I said I could read them fine myself. What a quick and cruel wit. That is some brush off.

Timing does not determine brushing someone off. You basically said that since you could read it, nobody had any right to object. It's something people have repeatedly asked you to stop doing.

Quite frankly, I don't even know why I'm still typing since you never listen to anything I say except to scold.
posted by jonmc at 9:41 PM on February 22, 2005


Yeah, I know what the reburial thing refered to. I just thought the "survivors and their descendants" phrasing, without mentioning "victim's descendants" sounded odd.

Anyway, more on topic. Multi-generational ethical calculus isn't really my area of expertise. I just hope people take the opportunity if they haven't already to do something kind and thoughtful for those who suffered through such a hideous, evil tragedy, and to make an effort to raise awareness and a common acceptance of what happened and how awful it and the ensuing coverup and suppression of it was. It sounds like some of that is happening. It's not about blaming one group for being the descendants of the guilty. It's about the entire modern community that wasn't there doing something for and in remembrance of the few victims who were. Keep in mind, it's about having compassion for someone who was done wrong for a long time, not picking sides or feeling guilty or laying blame based on the color of your's or someone else's skin.
posted by techgnollogic at 10:16 PM on February 22, 2005


Whoa, those oral histories definitely open up some classist dimensions to the event. Maybe it's coincidence, but most of the people interviewed seemed like they came from fairly well-to-do families that others in the area knew were well-to-do. See this woman's account.

This guy remembers machine guns. Machine guns, Jesus.
posted by schroedinger at 10:19 PM on February 22, 2005


Sorry for the double post, I didn't see techgnollogic's.

Perhaps a reason for not mentioning descendants of victims is that they're not sure who any of them are. The number of dead cited seems to vary from nineteen or something up to the three or four hundreds. They can't say who died so they don't want to risk it, I guess.
posted by schroedinger at 10:22 PM on February 22, 2005


Damn, Y2K, you make a great post then destroy the thread with heavy-handed self-moderation! Remarkable.

I teach history about 100 miles up the road from Tulsa. What happened there was the culmination of over two decades of what can only be described as ethnic cleansing. Unlike the deep south, where racial violence was aimed at maintaining a cheap rural workforce, the lynching in the four state area (MO/KS/OK/AR) were designed to force the blacks to all go away. The usual pattern was rising racial tension, a lynching of a prominent black male, and a riot to run out the black population. Then the leading white citizens (who had sanctioned or even led the riot) would say tut-tut, those redneck mobs, what can you do? Nearly every small town hereabouts became a "sunset town"--blacks could come in to do business but had better be gone before night fell or else...

Black families were run from town to town, until many ended up in Tulsa, to face the worse attack of all. Tulsa is starting to face its past, but most of the towns here won't touch this subject.
posted by LarryC at 10:28 PM on February 22, 2005


That might be the intention, and it's an honorable one, but I'm not sure that would be the actual outcome.

But I still object to the dismissal of what I was trying to say


jonmc: Your not being sure of an action's outcome cannot be discussed rationally, only dismissed as irrelevant.
posted by semmi at 10:36 PM on February 22, 2005


Not only are these survivors not being reimbursed by a government that dropped bombs on their houses, killed members of their family, and then buried them in a mass graves, they're probably paying taxes, too.

For those among us who think survivors should not be compensated because they associate footing the bill with admitting personal responsibility for the action of a few dead individuals-

If you could approve of your tax money being used to compensate these people without feeling accused of being responsible for their loses, would you change your mind?

For those among us who think survivors should not be compensated because you just don't want to be the one to foot the bill-

If you didn't have to be the one to pay with your own tax money, would you still agree that those victims should not be compensated? by anyone? because they don't deserve it?
posted by jessicool at 10:51 PM on February 22, 2005


jonmc: Your not being sure of an action's outcome cannot be discussed rationally, only dismissed as irrelevant.

Right, semmi, considering about the consequences of an action is a bad idea. Words to live by.
posted by jonmc at 11:09 PM on February 22, 2005


Thanks for the links, y2k, though it's unfortunate that MetaFilter seems to have forgotten how to have a real discussion... but I guess bickering is in for 2005.
posted by dead_ at 11:10 PM on February 22, 2005


Whoa, those oral histories definitely open up some classist dimensions to the event. Maybe it's coincidence, but most of the people interviewed seemed like they came from fairly well-to-do families that others in the area knew were well-to-do.
I think this was typical for the 4-state lynchings LarryC mentioned. At least in my hometown, the schools were integrated, there was a well-developed and successful business community with social clubs. That is until the lynchings changed the population dramatically ("ethnic cleansing" does seem to be the best term, though I hate euphemisms). After that, kids grew up thinking the place had always been "white". They knew there had been a lynching on the town square, but that's pretty much all they'd hear about things. Apparently a lot of people had memorabilia of the event tucked away in trunks or attics... and the last I heard was that the mayor made jokes about lynchings and an African man had "commited suicide" in a kind of peculiar way... Sadly, these things are not so distant in the past as we may hope, and this topic still has not been adequately discussed in most of the U.S.
posted by MightyNez at 11:54 PM on February 22, 2005


dead_ - I think other posts prove that Metafilter is capable of having a discussion, despite your hypocritical snark. The problem is when a poster refuses to accept community input over (quite literally) the little things and then wonders why nobody is responding. A conversation takes participants who are all willing to adapt. If somebody quite literally can't read what is being said, then maybe it's time to have a discussion over the context of the interaction (which we saw here). Normally we use MetaTalk, but y2karl has a habit of posting in tiny fonts that are near-impossible to read...
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 12:11 AM on February 23, 2005


...it's unfortunate that MetaFilter seems to have forgotten how to have a real discussion... but I guess bickering is in for 2005.

You'd know, of course, having been here from the beginning.

Of 2005, I mean.
posted by S.C. at 2:06 AM on February 23, 2005


I don't see why anybody should get reparations from that. Looks like a bunch of idiots shooting each other.
posted by drscroogemcduck at 3:12 AM on February 23, 2005


I want reparations for having read this far.
posted by selfmedicating at 5:46 AM on February 23, 2005


If reparations are needed to make people happy then fine by all means lets give reparations, but I see no reason to make all taxpayers (including other minorities) pay for it. Why not levy an additional fine for anyone convicted of a hate crime?

I do think reparations can get out of control. I believe that 80% or more of the people who read mefi could think of at least one ancestor who could/would/should get reparations of some sort.

Also about paying some sort of reparations for what the US government is doing in Iraq. Do I feel guilty about it? Yes. Did I try to stop it? to the best of my ability I'd say yes. Look I'm pissed as hell that my taxes are going to fund the shit that is going on, but I still paid my taxes. My question is: If I never voted for Bush and I feel that the US government doesn't represent me, why should I (or my children) have to pay reparations?
posted by Numenorian at 6:24 AM on February 23, 2005


So the jist of this is that y2karl was trying to bring up a specific incident where reparations are most likely not only just but logical, and rather than read the linked articles, a handful of people decided to snark about money and racism?

y2karl, you might want to just clarify in the future by summarizing some of the points instead of pasting. I think I caught your intentions (concentrate on the incident at hand, as it is specific and detailed), but few people are going to benefit from having the source material repeatedly thrust in their faces.

If I told anyone that not only was there an incident where a local government (with the help of the military!) not only sanctioned but participated in an attack on an entire neighborhood based on skin color alone, that there are still survivors and first/second-generation children alive, and that no guilt has ever been admitted, I'd expect them to support the reparations coalition. This wasn't a case of complicity, or misguided intentions, or anything of that sort. It's local government endorsement of attacks and murder based on race, and that local government still exists.
posted by mikeh at 7:09 AM on February 23, 2005


Nothing constructive to add to the dialogue, yet I contribute anyway.

It's a web page. Your browser can render the text however you like. You can raise the text size or lower the text size. Why in the name of Jehova you'd be reading mefi at a resolution like that with text that small -- you're killing your eyes, man. For what it's worth I've always found y2karl's excerpts helpful, it's like when people leave photocopied journal articles on my desk with highlighting or circling. It helps me drill down rather quickly to points the contributor is getting at especially if the document is large (which karl's links usually are.. :) ). And using -small- tag is a great way to do it, as it clearly formats it differently and lets me think of it as a quotation.

I'm annoyed that people think quoting clips from an extensive amount of text constitutes "Forcing" the article on people. I've always seen them as helpful dialogue signposts. Good labels to frame the discussion. Foo.
posted by cavalier at 7:48 AM on February 23, 2005


(great summary, mikeh)!
posted by cavalier at 7:49 AM on February 23, 2005


Very, very late to the party but I would like to thank y2karl for this post (even with the downsized block quotes). I'd not heard about the Tulsa Race Riots and was shocked at the violence.
posted by fenriq at 7:53 AM on February 23, 2005


considering about the consequences of an action is a bad idea. Words to live by.

jonmc: No offense, but your "consideration" without support of any kind only reveals your "prejudices," nothing about the case in point (and I don't mean "prejudices" in a pejorative way). Your worry that paying reparation for those who deserve it would open the floodgate for all those shifty freeloaders to demand one for themselves, is a small risk compared to letting injustice stand.

And what mikeh said.
posted by semmi at 8:02 AM on February 23, 2005


y2karl replies, to 1016's question: "
'y2karl...not to snark at all...seriously...but do you have a possible stake in these potential reparations?'
"My father was born in what is now Poland, my mother's family was of Northern Irish/German stock and I was born in Idaho. Do you have any other stupid questions to ask ?"


An SS Border Guard questions y2karl:

"So, you say your father was born in Poland, but you do not say he was a Pole. Or of Polish stock, even. How... curious. Most Poles are, strange as it may seem, proud of being Polish. But you say your mother, she is German. Hmmm.

"And yet you ask questions only a Bolshevik would ask....

"So, y2karl, are you, a ... JEW?

"Because only der Bolschewik und die Schwarze... und der ewige Jude would raise such questions!

"If you don't have a personal stake in this, you must be one of those trouble-making Jews, always asking troublesome questions designed to embarrass their natural superiors and those in authority. But today is your lucky day, Jew. Because I will let you get back on that train and leave the Reich immediately. Go back to the disgusting shtetl in the disgusting Polish Pale of Settlement that spawned you!

"How fortunate that we Germans don't have to even consider your questions, given that we need only consider the ethnic background and racial make-up of the questioner!"

[Editor's note: This approach to problem solving, while not unique to Nazi Germany, continued in full force from 1933-1945, destroying the German nation in the process.]
posted by orthogonality at 8:21 AM on February 23, 2005


I stand by my comments in the 2001 thread, and only write to add the following:

The Tulsa race riots happened only 14 years after Oklahoma statehood, which itself was an act of supreme racial insensitivity and hatred; the native american tribes who had been given land in Indian Country had been told they would get the land as long as the sky was blue and the grass was green and the waters ran. 32 years before the riots, the Dawes allotment act gave individual tribe members homestead portions of land to extinguish the collective rights of the members of these nations in holding the areas of Oklahoma they had in common.

So to me, the debate over reparations is sadly ironic. The imposition of the illusion of the sovereignty of the individual first deprived the tribes of what they were owed and now is used as a sword to further deny responsibility to the victims of an act of racial hatred in the same geographical zone-- an abdication that is the logical conclusion to a near-century of coverup and denial.

At some point our collective misdeeds will come back to bite our society no matter how much we wish they'd just fade into history and stop troubling us with inconvenient facts.
posted by norm at 9:08 AM on February 23, 2005


I agree with cavalier: well said, mikeh (and, on preview, norm).

orthogonality, while I deplore reflexive comparisons to Nazi Germany and frequently have problems with your bad attitude, I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed that. Bad languagehat!
posted by languagehat at 9:13 AM on February 23, 2005


"you could ask him if his family ever spoke about it" - you make it sound as if the Race Riot was a conspiracy of white elitists that is still kept hush-hush by the town sheriff. Although the riots were surely a terrible moment in Tulsa history, allocating funds (or as some pointed out stop building missile defense systems - wtf does this have to do with anything?!) for reparations in the hundreds of millions - which no doubt this dream team of lawyers will ask for - will do nothing more than bankrupt an entire city. For all you radically left-wingers you will sacrifice city programs which support thousands of poor people of all races to "make up" for what a mob did in 1921. Unlike WW2 Jewish reparations these victims were not utilized by existing huge corporations as slaves to a war machine but were cut down where they slept by an angry mob with heavy KKK influence. My family was around at the time of the riots, and my family still lives in Tulsa and actually owns property in the Greenwood district. So before getting out the jump to conclusions mat and stripping all citizens of necessary city programs and tossing Tulsa into the city dumps - perhaps you all should vary your sources and research the political and social structure of Tulsa during that time. In a city that was as racially biased as Tulsa was - the rape of a white woman by a black man (true or not) was the spark to ignite the flames of the riot. It was a terrible moment in Tulsa's history, but perhaps the greatest thing that can be done is to embrace the survivors and their stories and learn from history so it may never be repeated.
posted by guruguy9 at 9:14 AM on February 23, 2005


An extremely interesting and engaging Oxford Debate on the issue of reparations can be found here. A direct link to the RealAudio recording is here.

The Debate on the affirmative includes an excellent attorney named Alexander Pires. Also on the affirmative is Christopher Hitchens who makes his "don't make the best the enemy of the good" argument.

The negative has an extremely compelling case by Dr. Glen Loury, a black man, who worries about the effect of reparations and a reinforcement of social welfare prejudices.

The other three uninteresting and obvious debaters include two students (who argue on the level of some of the comments here) and a boring journalist.

I highly recommending listening to the whole debate, especially the closing arguments.
posted by dios at 9:17 AM on February 23, 2005


Point of order, the debate goes:
Pires - Loury- student - student - Hitchens - some journalist - Loury - Pires. I would skip over the students and journalists and just listen to the two Pires and Loury arguments and Hitchens' presentation.
posted by dios at 9:19 AM on February 23, 2005


Genocides and holocausts arise out of unchecked zeal, unquestioned duty, and silent acquiescence.
posted by languagehat at 9:34 AM on February 23, 2005


A nice quote - but then you realize that it was used out of an anti-Bush article and wonder if it is entirely appropriate to this discussion.

"Both the United States under Bush and its clone under Sharon exemplify the presence of racism resulting in genocidal devastation as they impose their respective wills on Iraqis and Palestinians. "

Free Iran!
posted by guruguy9 at 9:39 AM on February 23, 2005


Gedanken Experiment (those wacky Germans have words for everything):

Let's pretend the Holocaust never happened. No Wannsee Conference, no cattle cars, no Zyklon-B (except literally as an insecticide), no chimneys.

If the Holocaust never happened, then clearly there'd be no call for Holocaust reparations. So pretend, for the sake of this experiment, that the Holocaust never happened, but Kristallnacht had.

Kristallnacht, a "race" based pogrom in which 91 Jews were killed, and numerous Jewish properties and synagogues were vandalized or destroyed by rioters given implicit sanction by the government, is perhaps a better comparison to the Tulsa Riots than is the Holocaust as a whole.

If the Holocaust had never happened, should the victims of Kristallnacht have gotten reparations?
posted by orthogonality at 9:48 AM on February 23, 2005


"rioters given implicit sanction by the government" - under no means was there a pogrom sanctioned by the Tulsa government. It happened in Tulsa by over zealous KKK loving whities. Perhaps some were in the government or local police department but that doesn't mean it was sanctioned by any governing or public bodies.

Thus I don't think it is a good comparison at all.
posted by guruguy9 at 10:26 AM on February 23, 2005


If the Holocaust had never happened, should the victims of Kristallnacht have gotten reparations?
yes, ortho, but you can't isolate out one instance without taking into account what led up to it, and what followed from it, as with Tulsa. Nothing happens in isolation.

That's a general problem with our focus on "the big event", instead of the ongoing horrors.

read the links and report, guruguy9.
posted by amberglow at 10:32 AM on February 23, 2005


Many people (even locals) know nothing about the East St. Louis race riot of 1917. It is purported to be the deadliest race riot in the nation's history. Even today, nearly a century later, the city has never fully recovered. Last I heard, there are still a few survivors. As far as I know, there have never been any talks of reparations for East St. Louis, which remains one of the poorest areas in the country.
posted by svidrigailov23 at 10:33 AM on February 23, 2005


under no means was there a pogrom sanctioned by the Tulsa government.

You are quite wrong.
posted by norm at 10:36 AM on February 23, 2005


guruguy9, you're oversensitive about this. Racist.
posted by jonson at 10:43 AM on February 23, 2005


The main reason white people find the concept of reparations for the victims and the heirs of the victims of the Tusla race Riot of 1921 so objectionable is because the victims are black, and regardless of the fact that these reparations are for living survivors of a state sanctioned and sponsored act of criminally violent ethnic cleansing, the combination of their blackness and the concept of reparations brings to mind the idea of reparations for the historical aftereffects of slavery--which is anathema indeed to the majority of white Americans.

Interestingly enough, Robert K. Fullinwider in his The Case For Reparations makes a compelling positive argument for reparations for the after-effects of not slavery but the more recent wrongs of legally sanctioned discrimination:

Personal Versus Civil Liability

The demand for reparations to African Americans cannot be casually dismissed. It is grounded in a basic moral norm, a norm presupposed, for example, in the Biblical injunction at Exodus 22: "If a man steal an ox, or a sheep, and kill it, or sell it; he shall restore five oxen for an ox, and four sheep for a sheep." You must make good the wrongs you do. This principle in one form or another underlies every mature moral and legal system in the world. At the same time, however, Henry Hyde’s distaste for collective guilt seems equally well-founded: "The father shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin" (Deuteronomy 24:16). We must not penalize one person for another’s misdeeds. Does, then, the demand for reparations pose a conflict between two distinct and equally basic moral principles? Not if the demand is properly understood.

Henry Hyde echoes a common but confused sentiment. If personal liability for slavery or past racial oppression were being imputed to him, then the Congressman’s response would be appropriate. He denies personal responsibility for the wrongs to be made good. But personal responsibility and liability are not at stake. The real issues are corporate responsibility – the responsibility of the nation as a whole – and civic responsibility – the responsibility of each citizen to do his fair part in honoring the nation’s obligations. When Congress passed the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, no one assumed that individual Americans were being held accountable for personal wrongdoing. The interning of Japanese Americans was an act of the United States government and its agents. At the time, the government acted for putatively good reasons. Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, American officials were concerned about the security of the West Coast from similar attack or sabotage. Whether the government actually acted for honorable motives or not, the point remains that with the passage of time thoughtful Americans – and the government itself – have come to view the internment as an unjustified response to the war with Japan, and one that wronged its victims. The Civil Liberties Act, and the token reparations it paid ($20,000 to each interned Japanese American or to his or her surviving spouse or children), represented an official apology and a small step toward making whole the material losses incurred by the internees. The reparations were appropriated out of general revenues. Consequently, Henry Hyde, as taxpayer, contributed a small portion, not because he had any personal responsibility for the internment but because as a citizen he is required to bear his share of the government’s necessary expenditures.

One can make a parallel argument for reparations to African Americans. Although countless individual Americans throughout our history exploited their power or standing to oppress African Americans, that power and standing itself derived from law – first from the latitude of the English Crown, then from the Constitution of 1787 (which accepted slavery in the states where it was established), and finally from the tissue of post-Civil War "Jim Crow" laws, rules, and social conventions that enforced de jure and de facto racial segregation. The chief wrongs done to African Americans, thus, were not simply the sum of many individual oppressions added together but were the corporate acts of a nation that imposed or tolerated regimes of slavery, apartheid, peonage, and disenfranchisement. Just as it was the nation that owed Japanese Americans reparations, so it is the nation that owes reparations to African Americans. And so it is that Americans not as individuals but as citizens owe support for the nation’s debt
.

posted by y2karl at 10:44 AM on February 23, 2005


Amber i'm not following - I've read the report and grew up in the city. In my post I state more research is needed into the social environment of the city to understand the entire picture.

There is a difference between a cover-up and general remorse for what was done. Why do you insinuate it was a cover-up instead of a city ashamed of its past violence? If you are referring to the firing of machine guns on the make-shift army of blacks as governemnt sponsor, that seems to me like the government trying to subdue the last remnants of the anti-rioters. I'm not saying it was the best idea but it seems that it would be in the best interest of all Tulsans to disband groups of rioters/fighters regardless of which side they are on.

I've visited many of the homes that survived the fires to see remaining pieces of the lives of victems and survivors alike. Have you?
posted by guruguy9 at 10:50 AM on February 23, 2005


Also of interest is in the Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities at the American Bar Association website in a page where Anthony Gifford makes an argument for

The Legal Basis of the Claim for Slavery Reparations.
posted by y2karl at 10:54 AM on February 23, 2005


Despite his obvious racism, I'm going to have to side with guruguy9 here. Slavery reparations, or holocaust reparations, or even Japanese American internment camp reparations are a markedly different thing than reparations from a single riot. Flare ups of incomprehensible violence are not the same as systematic government sponsored institutional oppression.
posted by jonson at 11:00 AM on February 23, 2005


Norm are you referring to the Native Americans? If so then I completely agree that the local and federal governments issued eddicts against them as evidenced - well - everywhere in US history. Additionally it is obvious there was racism going on at the time, however I still maintain no governing bodies issued a Kristallnachtesq statement for the looting and killing of black citizens and their property resulting in the Tulsa Riots.
posted by guruguy9 at 11:02 AM on February 23, 2005


The main reason white people find the concept of reparations for the victims and the heirs of the victims of the Tusla race Riot of 1921 so objectionable is because the victims are black.
posted by y2karl at 10:44 AM PST on February 23


This is complete bullshit. You really show your own prejudices with such generalizations.

I would say send it to a jury to see if a jury thinks a set of plaintiffs deserves it. But as a policy matter, there are serious implications and unintended consequences with the legislation of paying people for past wrongs. Listen to that Oxford debate I linked to above, especially Dr. Glen Loury's part.

"Those who oppose this must be racists" is a facile and weak argument, karl.
posted by dios at 11:03 AM on February 23, 2005


i don't insinuate anything--The Oklahoma Supreme Court's opinion in Redfearn, written by Commissioner Ray, acknowledges the city's involvement in the riot. The court wrote that "the evidence shows that a great number of men engaged in arresting the Negroes found in the Negro section wore police badges or badges indicating they were deputy sheriffs." It questions, however, whether the "men wearing police badges" were officers or were "acting in an official capacity.21 That statement indicates Commissioner Ray's pro-police bias. The case was appealed from a directed verdict against Redfearn, that meant the trial judge concluded there was no evidence from which a jury could conclude that the men wearing badges were officers. Yet, cases involving resisting arrest routinely conclude that a police badge indicates one's authority to arrest. Simply put, if one of the blacks involved in the riot resisted one of the men wearing a badge, he could have been prosecuted for resisting arrest. Commissioner Ray could have insulated the insurance company from liability with the statement that, even assuming the men wearing badges were police officers, they were acting beyond their authority and were thus acting as rioters. Ray's inconsistency in applying precedent suggests that his motive was not a solely impartial decision of the case before him, but the insulation of the police department and Tulsa from liability.--from here
posted by amberglow at 11:04 AM on February 23, 2005


Well, I retract or at least condition one thing I just posted: I am not sure this could go to a jury. It occurs to me that the issue of statute of limitations is expired. This occurred well in excess of the 2/4/6 years (whatever OK uses) for this kind of suit. I don't see a grounds for tolling it either. Supposing a way could be found around that, then I stand by my view that courts are the proper form for this; the legislature should stay out.
posted by dios at 11:09 AM on February 23, 2005


Again Amber, as I said above, many participants in the riots could have been from the local police or officials in local government. Just because they participated or abused the powers of their position (as in your post) does not mean it was sanctioned. Doesn't it make sense the commissioner would side with his own police force, since they are hired into a job of trust and responsibility? The actions of a few do not make it the responsibility of all in this particular case (don't get all flustered and point out how this isn't true in other situations).
posted by guruguy9 at 11:14 AM on February 23, 2005


Actually guru, the law holds the city responsible for the actions for its police officers. If a police officer beats and kills a prisoner, the civil suit would be filed against the city under the doctrine of respondeat superior. While the officer could be sued in his individual capacity, it is certain that the city would be sued.
posted by dios at 11:30 AM on February 23, 2005


guruguy9, why do you hate black people so much?
posted by jonson at 11:31 AM on February 23, 2005


I am not a mind reader. I make no claims about anyone's racism. Myself, I only count intentional and conscious animus against members of other races as racism worth condemning implicitly or explicitly. Intentions matter far more to me than any pre-existing unconscious bias or blindness.

If there is such a thing as an unconscious racial bias to which we are all individually blind--and I suppose I am sure there is--then it is in all of us. But to discern it and condemn it would require telepathy and some sort of moral high ground. I possess neither.

Accusations of racism are easy--it's always that guy over there--not me. Which is why I don't make them. I am interested in and responsible for my own unconscious biases--no one else's.

I asked a question and immediately noted thereafter that the vast majority of white people are adamantly against slavery reparations. Percentage wise, blacks and, I would suspect, Japanese Americans feel quite differently than whites on the matter. To ask why we might feel differently on the topic is to ask a hard question. To which I have no easy answer. But it is worth asking of oneself.
posted by y2karl at 11:31 AM on February 23, 2005


So the city should be held accountable 80 years later for some rogue policemen and racist citizens to the detriment of all current residents?

I've never been called a racist before - this could totally hurt my political career.
posted by guruguy9 at 11:36 AM on February 23, 2005


I still maintain no governing bodies issued a Kristallnachtesq statement for the looting and killing of black citizens and their property resulting in the Tulsa Riots.


This is a rather narrowing clarification of your previous claim. I think the historical record is clear as to what side the 'governing authority' was on, with apparent if not actual authority.
posted by norm at 11:38 AM on February 23, 2005


The full quote of what I said, dios, in context is

The main reason white people find the concept of reparations for the victims and the heirs of the victims of the Tusla race Riot of 1921 so objectionable is because the victims are black, and regardless of the fact that these reparations are for living survivors of a state sanctioned and sponsored act of criminally violent ethnic cleansing, the combination of their blackness and the concept of reparations brings to mind the idea of reparations for the historical aftereffects of slavery--which is anathema indeed to the majority of white Americans.

White Americans are adamantly against slavery reparations. That is a stone cold fact.

Which is why, I suspect, there are such strong feelings about the Tulsa case--because the victims are black, it resonates with the whole very unpopular concept of slavery reparations. That is a speculation.

You can't cherry pick what a person says to put words in their mouth. Well, you can but it's a cheap shot.
posted by y2karl at 11:38 AM on February 23, 2005


y2karl - Here's the fundamental problem. You're not trying to spur discussion, you're using the FPP to try to convert people to your point of view. Metafilter is a discussion, not a soapbox. I think a lot of the resistance to your post comes from that. If you stayed out of the threads on your own FPP more, then maybe people would be more likely to listen to your point of view. I hate to say it, but less might be more.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 11:41 AM on February 23, 2005


My statement was only narrowed due to all of the comparisons to Nazi or anti-Jewish practices in Europe. It is my opinion that these comparisons are off-base. I would be more than happy to continue the discussion without further genocidal analogies.
posted by guruguy9 at 11:47 AM on February 23, 2005


karl, your contention is that because blacks and whites disagree over reparations, than people opposing it must be doing so for racist reasons. Why do you jump to that conclusion? Here is one race neutral explanation: it is a bad policy. Since white people will not benefit from the bad policy, they oppose it on the grounds that it is a bad policy. Since black people will benefit from the bad policy, they support it on the grounds that, though it is bad, they will still benefit from it. That is one conclusion that could come from your data set about percentages who support and oppose it.

But you choose to assume a different conclusion that disapproval of the policy is because of racism---your words indicate this clear enough.

Well, how about a pro-black reason to oppose reparations? A repayment for a past wrong is an invitation to close the book on it. Once a person is paid, then the wrong is considered righted. The reason that these black people would be paid is not because of the bad that has happened in the past. It is because there are present day consequences for the wrongs of the past. If black people weren't overwhelmingly poor; if the prison rolls weren't overwhelmingly black, we wouldn't be talking about this. But these problems do exist, and a check doesn't fix them. So if we pay a check, and then someone comes forward and comments about the overwhelming disparity in education, what is the response? "Gee, that's sad, but you've been paid." Complaints about poverty; "That's sad, but that check just went out." Payments are an invitation to close the book on the past and wipe our hands clean. That is the "made whole" doctrine.

So, if you are concerned with addressing these issues in the black community, one might oppose reparations because they could be seen as a exoneration of any further responsibility. So, because you support black people, you might oppose them. In addition to that reason, there are many reasons to oppose reparations facially.

Consequently, your accusations of racial animus being the basis for opposition is an incorrect and facile allegation.
posted by dios at 11:51 AM on February 23, 2005


I am somewhat disappointed that there has been some rather consistent conflation of the idea that victims and their direct descendants of the Tulsa race riot deserve compensation for the losses they directly suffered and the more general concept of slavery reparations for African Americans. I think the former is entirely justified and the latter is not, because of the direct causation chain one can draw as to the wrongs suffered.
posted by norm at 12:07 PM on February 23, 2005


y2karl, thanks very much for the post. Are you also aware of the Springfield, MO race riot (many, many similarities) of April 1906? It tends to be another piece of "forgotten" history. A thriving and successful Black community was destroyed and most left town, literally overnight, never to return. To my knowledge the issue of reparations hasn't been brought up in regard to that incident, but I do know that many fought hard against a simple plaque comemmorating the victims of the riot. Raising the issue of reparations would likely have brought on another full-scale lynch mob.
posted by xhepera at 12:17 PM on February 23, 2005


Y2karl: White Americans are adamantly against slavery reparations. That is a stone cold fact.

Which is why, I suspect, there are such strong feelings about the Tulsa case--because the victims are black


Then perhaps you should have phrased it that way (with the "I suspect") instead of saying:
The main reason white people find the concept of reparations for the victims and the heirs of the victims of the Tusla race Riot of 1921 so objectionable is because the victims are black, and regardless of the fact that these reparations are for living survivors of a state sanctioned and sponsored act of criminally violent ethnic cleansing, the combination of their blackness and the concept of reparations brings to mind the idea of reparations for the historical aftereffects of slavery--which is anathema indeed to the majority of white Americans.
(emphasis mine)
posted by Bugbread at 12:26 PM on February 23, 2005


So the city should be held accountable 80 years later for some rogue policemen and racist citizens to the detriment of all current residents?
guru, if the police force was deputizing white men to act as police specifically to quell the riot by attacking blacks and burning down stuff, then it's directly govt. action. It's not rogue policemen and racist citizens--it's those very citizens being made into policemen by the govt. to commit this stuff. That's not a rogue action by any standard--it's a governmental, official lynch mob.
posted by amberglow at 1:05 PM on February 23, 2005


Doesn't it make sense the commissioner would side with his own police force,

guruguy9: That is what makes it government sanctioned.
posted by semmi at 1:26 PM on February 23, 2005


"if the police force was deputizing white men to act as police specifically to quell the riot by attacking blacks and burning down stuff," - I'm sorry, what articles are you saying this came from or are you just hypothesizing?

And if the commissioner in a public court sides with his own police force (assuming they weren't hired thugs as amber likes to think) maybe he truly thought they did nothing wrong. We aren't a jury and we don't hold all the facts. All I'm saying is that reparations to the tune of the dream team of lawyers is an incorrect way to solve this issue.
posted by guruguy9 at 1:34 PM on February 23, 2005


dios, how do you get

karl, your contention is that because blacks and whites disagree over reparations, than people opposing it must be doing so for racist reasons.

out of this:

I asked a question and immediately noted thereafter that the vast majority of white people are adamantly against slavery reparations. Percentage wise, blacks and, I would suspect, Japanese Americans feel quite differently than whites on the matter. To ask why we might feel differently on the topic is to ask a hard question. To which I have no easy answer. But it is worth asking of oneself.

Telepathy ?
posted by y2karl at 1:37 PM on February 23, 2005


Or is it just some more cherry pickin' straw man construction ?
posted by y2karl at 1:39 PM on February 23, 2005


y2Hotkarl coming in with the double defensive post...
posted by guruguy9 at 1:42 PM on February 23, 2005


karl, you have insinuated multiple times that the sole consideration for people on the issue is race. I don't need to cut and paste your comments: they are right there. Either disavow your earlier comments or stand by them. But don't start crying straw man. You've made it clear that you think people that white people are against reparation because black people are the ones who benefit from it. Stop being a coward and either stand by your beliefs or don't make the allusions in the first place.
posted by dios at 1:47 PM on February 23, 2005


All I'm saying is that reparations to the tune of the dream team of lawyers is an incorrect way to solve this issue.

And are the conclusions and recommendations according to the tune of the Final Report of the Oklahoma Commission to Study The Tulsa Race Riot of 1921--

In some government participated in the deed.

In some government performed the deed.

In none did government prevent the deed.

In none did government punish the deed...



We listed several recommended courses of action including direct payments to riot survivors and descendants; a scholarship fund available to students affected by the riot; establishment of an economic development enterprise zone in the historic Greenwood district; a memorial for the riot victims.


--incorrect, too?

What is the correct way ?

Gold plated medals of the state seal given to each survivor?

Done. Insult added to injury. End of story, then, eh ?
posted by y2karl at 1:49 PM on February 23, 2005


y2karl,

Dios probably didn't get:
karl, your contention is that because blacks and whites disagree over reparations, than people opposing it must be doing so for racist reasons.
from this:
I asked a question and immediately noted thereafter that the vast majority of white people are adamantly against slavery reparations. Percentage wise, blacks and, I would suspect, Japanese Americans feel quite differently than whites on the matter. To ask why we might feel differently on the topic is to ask a hard question. To which I have no easy answer. But it is worth asking of oneself.
as out of this:
The main reason white people find the concept of reparations for the victims and the heirs of the victims of the Tusla race Riot of 1921 so objectionable is because the victims are black, and regardless of the fact that these reparations are for living survivors of a state sanctioned and sponsored act of criminally violent ethnic cleansing, the combination of their blackness and the concept of reparations brings to mind the idea of reparations for the historical aftereffects of slavery--which is anathema indeed to the majority of white Americans.
(emphasis mine, again)
posted by Bugbread at 1:52 PM on February 23, 2005


Actually I thought "a scholarship fund available to students affected by the riot; establishment of an economic development enterprise zone in the historic Greenwood district; a memorial for the riot victims." was a great way not to compensate for the losses suffered by the people but to help people heal and rebuild their lives some 80 years later. I don't think a dreamteam of lawyers (and don't think they work for free to help the cause) is the solution people are looking for. Educate - Educate - Educate, what could be a better deterrent for additional abuse or a more appropriate fertilizer for rebuilding a great African-American community. Money won't solve all problems, but education surely can help.

No insult, no injury and case not closed. I am here only to discuss the issue, not bang a gavel. I've started researching your previous posts hotKarl and I see you do more talking than discussing.
posted by guruguy9 at 1:58 PM on February 23, 2005


karl, are you interested in hearing different perspectives or discussing this? Or are you just interested in lecturing and hectoring us until we all sufficiently beaten down and assimilated into your way of thinking?
posted by dios at 2:11 PM on February 23, 2005


I asked a question and immediately noted thereafter that the vast majority of white people are adamantly against slavery reparations. Percentage wise, blacks and, I would suspect, Japanese Americans feel quite differently than whites on the matter.

Table 2. Attitudes of Blacks and Whites Toward Apologies and Reparations

Should the government

Apologize for internment of Japanese Americans during World War II

Blacks 75%
Whites 43%

Pay compensation to those interned

Blacks 59%
Whites 26%

Apologize for slavery

Blacks 79%
Whites 30%

Pay compensation for slavery

Blacks 67%
Whites 4%


So, dios, what is your explanation of the disparity between black and white feelings on these topics ?
posted by y2karl at 2:14 PM on February 23, 2005


Did you read my comments? I offered an explanation. For someone who is so demanding that people read everything before commenting, its suprising you skipped my comment.

What is your explanation? That it is racially motivated? That is what I just accused you of and you got defensive.

Furthermore, you didn't answer this question:
karl, are you interested in hearing different perspectives or discussing this? Or are you just interested in lecturing and hectoring us until we all sufficiently beaten down and assimilated into your way of thinking?
posted by dios at 2:11 PM PST on February 23

posted by dios at 2:28 PM on February 23, 2005


I offered an explanation.

You said this was a discussion but you make no mention of why you think blacks and whites feel differently on the topic. Am I missing something ? Where in there do you address the disparity between black and white feelings on the topic ?
posted by y2karl at 2:36 PM on February 23, 2005


Ah the Mobile Register - I hear they have tough statistical standards akin to the E! fashion poll.

Seriously though - can we argue, nay discuss these statistics so heavily without knowing the validity of the questions and statistical measurements?

Or are we just using these numbers as a basis for hypothesizing?

And furthermore, slave reparations really has nothing to do with the actual Tulsa Riots. Reparations arguably (by some) but they weren't slaves.
posted by guruguy9 at 2:41 PM on February 23, 2005


Quibbling aside, do you or do you not think these are accurate reflections of black and white attitudes on the topic of reparations in general ? And if so, what is your different perspective on why there should be such a disparity between the attitudes of blacks and whites on the topic of reparations for Japanese Americans, let alone slavery, say?
posted by y2karl at 2:45 PM on February 23, 2005


You said this was a discussion but you make no mention of why you think blacks and whites feel differently on the topic. Am I missing something ? Where in there do you address the disparity between black and white feelings on the topic ?
posted by y2karl at 2:36 PM PST on February 23


You are being willfully obtuse and, quite frankly, an asshole. Plus, I have asked you numerous direct questions that you have refused to answer. I'm not going to sit here and repeat answers to your questions so you can just go about ignoring them and then proceed hectoring me. When you are prepared to adress my response to your post, then a discussion can ensue. Until then, your insulting hectoring is not worth any more of my time today.
posted by dios at 2:52 PM on February 23, 2005


I agree with the Gods - until we resume having a discussion about topics at hand instead instead of listening to your repetitive/mind numbing/dribble this thread is just about dead.

But alas, I know y2Hotkarl will try to have the last word. Even if it is in 28 days, 14 hours and 6 minutes.
posted by guruguy9 at 2:57 PM on February 23, 2005


I've lived in Tulsa for 4 years now. Living here, you can almost still feel the repercussions of the events that took place over 80 years ago. Tulsa's two different cities. The one I live in doesn't talk about that "other" Tulsa that you hear about on the news. In fact, it's never referred to it as "Tulsa", but rather "North Tulsa". It's as if we've given up on any meaningful integration and have settled for economic segregation.

I understand that people feel differently about how to makes things right. And like any situation where one group would benefit and another would not obviously benefit (which is to say there probably would be benefits, just not obvious ones), they feel differently about said situation.

Am I accountable for this? Are you? How do we right something so horrible? And what about slavery? What about the Native Americans driven to reservations? What about people whose low-cost labor and/or resources make our lifestyle possible?

I don't know how to fix it, but I suspect it runs a little deeper than just finger-pointing and money at this point.
posted by theFlyingSquirrel at 3:05 PM on February 23, 2005


dios, my bad, you did offer an explanation. But it makes no sense to me. Your 'race neutral' explanation is that whites disapprove of reparations because they think it it is a bad policy that hurts them and seems to imply that blacks approve of reparations because it is a bad policy that helps them. That assumes reparations are universally recognized by both blacks and whites as a bad policy and that while blacks recognize it as a bad policy they nevertheless approve of the concept because it helps them. That would seem to imply, among other things, that blacks might be less ethical and more greedy than whites.

Unless, of course, you think that blacks think it is a good policy whereas white people do not. Now, if so--if one racial group thinks the concept unjust and the other racial group thinks the concept as just--how is that a race neutral explanation ?

And how is it hectoring to ask why each side sees it so differently ?
posted by y2karl at 3:11 PM on February 23, 2005


y2karl: You said this was a discussion but you make no mention of why you think blacks and whites feel differently on the topic. Am I missing something ? Where in there do you address the disparity between black and white feelings on the topic ?

Er, he does right here:
karl, your contention is that because blacks and whites disagree over reparations, than people opposing it must be doing so for racist reasons. Why do you jump to that conclusion? Here is one race neutral explanation: it is a bad policy. Since white people will not benefit from the bad policy, they oppose it on the grounds that it is a bad policy. Since black people will benefit from the bad policy, they support it on the grounds that, though it is bad, they will still benefit from it. That is one conclusion that could come from your data set about percentages who support and oppose it.

But you choose to assume a different conclusion that disapproval of the policy is because of racism---your words indicate this clear enough.

Well, how about a pro-black reason to oppose reparations? A repayment for a past wrong is an invitation to close the book on it. Once a person is paid, then the wrong is considered righted. The reason that these black people would be paid is not because of the bad that has happened in the past. It is because there are present day consequences for the wrongs of the past. If black people weren't overwhelmingly poor; if the prison rolls weren't overwhelmingly black, we wouldn't be talking about this. But these problems do exist, and a check doesn't fix them. So if we pay a check, and then someone comes forward and comments about the overwhelming disparity in education, what is the response? "Gee, that's sad, but you've been paid." Complaints about poverty; "That's sad, but that check just went out." Payments are an invitation to close the book on the past and wipe our hands clean. That is the "made whole" doctrine.

So, if you are concerned with addressing these issues in the black community, one might oppose reparations because they could be seen as a exoneration of any further responsibility. So, because you support black people, you might oppose them. In addition to that reason, there are many reasons to oppose reparations facially.

Consequently, your accusations of racial animus being the basis for opposition is an incorrect and facile allegation.
posted by dios at 4:51 AM JST on February 24 [!]
y2karl, I have no issue with your use of small tags (as per the MeTa discussion), but if your stated reason is "because people don't read the links", then you need to seriously reevaluate your response style regarding reading people's comments.
posted by Bugbread at 3:13 PM on February 23, 2005


On postview: Whoops, bad timing. Sorry about that.
posted by Bugbread at 3:14 PM on February 23, 2005


"if the police force was deputizing white men to act as police specifically to quell the riot by attacking blacks and burning down stuff," - I'm sorry, what articles are you saying this came from or are you just hypothesizing?

And if the commissioner in a public court sides with his own police force (assuming they weren't hired thugs as amber likes to think) maybe he truly thought they did nothing wrong. We aren't a jury and we don't hold all the facts. All I'm saying is that reparations to the tune of the dream team of lawyers is an incorrect way to solve this issue.


It's not that they were hired thugs--it's that they were made part of the police force specifically to be empowered to do this shit officially. Like i said before--read it all.

and it's from this page, guru--
Assessing State and City Culpability:
The Riot and the Law

posted by amberglow at 3:16 PM on February 23, 2005


That would seem to imply, among other things, that blacks might be less ethical and more greedy than whites.

I don't think it implies that at all, and I think your perspective may be clouding your imagination of other possibilities, namely: All people are somewhat unethical and greedy. In this particular case, where something benefits blacks and not whites, blacks support and whites oppose. In a situation which benefits whites and not blacks, blacks might oppose and whites might support.

Now, if it were something unethical that would benefit both blacks and whites, and yet blacks supported and whites opposed, I think you would have a case for the inferrence being that blacks are less ethical and more greedy than whites. As it is, though, I don't see said inferrence being fair.
posted by Bugbread at 3:19 PM on February 23, 2005


No problem, bugbread.

Since black people will benefit from the bad policy, they support it on the grounds that, though it is bad, they will still benefit from it.

That statement seems, to my eyes, to imply that black people think the concept of reparations is a bad policy but what the hey? gime gimme gimme! So much for race neutral.
posted by y2karl at 3:23 PM on February 23, 2005


Could it be, perhaps, bugbread, that dios's perspective clouds his mind into thinking that black people think the concept of reparations is a bad policy rather than a just and good one ?
posted by y2karl at 3:25 PM on February 23, 2005


On the topic, from The case for reparations by Charles J. Ogletree Jr:

One major challenge is moving past popular misconceptions. A few years ago, HBO's The Chris Rock Show did a segment on reparations. Rock, whose comedy often deals very directly with race, interviewed people on the streets of New York. He asked blacks in Harlem if African Americans should receive reparations. They answered yes -- and in the millions of dollars. The attitude of whites in Midtown could be summed up with the phrase "Kiss my white butt." Rock struggled to get whites to contribute even one dollar to his personal reparations fund. This vignette is so funny precisely because it presents an accurate picture of what people seem to think African-American reparations are about: blacks asking any and all whites for a handout, and whites telling them where to go.
posted by y2karl at 3:29 PM on February 23, 2005


Ogletree has this to say as well:

The root of the word "reparations" is "repair," and it is without question that damage has been done. Of course, African slaves and their descendants are not the only group to suffer in our nation; the Native American, Irish, Italian, Mexican -- almost every minority has been singled out, wronged or discriminated against. The fundamental difference in the case of African Americans is that it was written and enforced law, not just a matter of custom. Equally important is that slavery in America, which existed for nearly 250 years, was followed by an era of legalized discrimination and continuing practices that perpetuate black subordination.

I would disagree with him on Native Americans. For them, too, it was all too often written and enforced law, not just a matter of custom.
posted by y2karl at 3:33 PM on February 23, 2005


y2karl: That statement seems, to my eyes, to imply that black people think the concept of reparations is a bad policy but what the hey? gime gimme gimme! So much for race neutral.

Your comment is in reference to what dios posted, which does not entirely match with what I personally believe. I would state (perhaps similarly, but somewhat differently) that people who are going to be benefited by someone may be blinded by the bad parts, and see only the money. People of any race, of course. So, when you stand to profit, it's not that you see the bad but don't care, but you probably don't see the bad as much as someone who stands to lose.

And, to once again play dios's advocate (therefore not necessarily my opinion, but an opinion I could logically assume is possible based on what dios has said), why would the implication "that black people think the concept of reparations is a bad policy but what the hey? gime gimme gimme!" result in "So much for race neutral."?

If anything, it seems the opposite would be true. The opposing argument would be something like "People will support something, even if they know it is bad, because people are greedy. But not blacks. They wouldn't do that." THAT would be in opposition to race neutrality. But saying "People will support something, even if they know it's bad, because they're greedy. In this case, black people support something, even though they know it's bad, because they're people, and people are greedy. The same would be true for whites if the roles were reversed" seems very race neutral to me.

Again, to reiterate, that isn't my opinion. It's what I'm presuming is dios's opinion, but I may be wrong. But it does seem the logical extension of what was said above, and I don't see why it fails to be race neutral.

And regarding dios's perspective, yes, I suppose his mind may be clouding the issue, but I haven't noticed him drawing any off-base implications of your opinions (except where your statements were unclear). Different conclusions, yes, but that's not enough to go off to guess that his perspective is clouded. It might or might not be.
posted by Bugbread at 3:41 PM on February 23, 2005


The article clearly admits some of the deputized men were responsible for committing the crimes (which I have now stated 3 times?) but it still does not say that they were acting under any type of official business. Bad people taking advantage of a bad situation. This is mob mentality with a badge. I'm not arguing it wasn't bad, or that it wasn't handled incorrectly. I'm simply saying (repeatedly at this point) that I don't understand how reparations (and not for the Slaves or the Native Americans - despite whatever Alabamians think) is the correct way to understand what happened and move forward into making the future better. I agree with theFlyingSquirrel that Tulsa does have remnants of a discriminatory past even today. It isn't based solely on this event but on many of the events that transpired in the history of Oklahoma's path to statehood.

I ask again of any of you - what do you think should be done?
posted by guruguy9 at 3:48 PM on February 23, 2005


Wonder if the oil royalties checks paid to citizens of Tulsa had any influence?
posted by thomcatspike at 4:36 PM on February 23, 2005


Different conclusions, yes, but that's not enough to go off to guess that his perspective is clouded. It might or might not be.

Six of one and twelve dozen of another when it comes to even mindedness, eh?

So, then, bugbread or dios, why do you think black people feel at a more than two to one proportion, according to that poll, think Japanese Americans are due reparations far more than white people ? Projected greed or a sense of justice ?
posted by y2karl at 5:00 PM on February 23, 2005


In this case, black people support something, even though they know it's bad, because they're people, and people are greedy. The same would be true for whites if the roles were reversed" seems very race neutral to me.

That is an enormous and self-serving assumption on dios's part. But not, evidently, to you. It assumes that black people think that reparations is a bad policy. For this, he offers no proof, not even an inkling. But to you, it's a gimme, a perfectly reasonable hypothesis and not at all self-serving. To me, you see, this is a very cynical view-- there is no justice, all is greed. Tell me, how can it be easier for you to understand dios's contention that black people are not motivated from an innate sense of right or wrong but rather purely from naked greed ?
posted by y2karl at 5:11 PM on February 23, 2005


Tell me, how can it be easier for you to understand dios's contention that black people are not motivated from an innate sense of right or wrong but rather purely from naked greed ?

Perhaps, he believes that all people are (at least to some extent) motivated by naked greed. Why should black people be any different?

I don't neccessarily agree that that's the case here, but it's not an insupportable contention.
posted by jonmc at 6:41 PM on February 23, 2005


y2karl: So, then, bugbread or dios, why do you think black people feel at a more than two to one proportion, according to that poll, think Japanese Americans are due reparations far more than white people ? Projected greed or a sense of justice?

The obvious answer (and it's not necessarily what I believe, because I haven't thought about it much, but the idea that first occured to me when asked the question) is because people tend to agree with folks in their own position. That is, if there is an issue of reparations to any group, they are going to be more likely to side with other groups which would be receiving reparations, as opposed to a group that wouldn't be receiving reparations.

Rephrased: it's the same reason as an employee that you tend to side with other employees rather than employers, while if you're an employer you're more likely to side with other employers rather than employees (or "regular employees" vs. "managers", if you think about it Dilbert style).

me: "In this case, black people support something, even though they know it's bad, because they're people, and people are greedy. The same would be true for whites if the roles were reversed" seems very race neutral to me.

y2karl: That is an enormous and self-serving assumption on dios's part. But not, evidently, to you. It assumes that black people think that reparations is a bad policy. For this, he offers no proof, not even an inkling. But to you, it's a gimme, a perfectly reasonable hypothesis and not at all self-serving.


First thing's first: that statement is about race neutrality, not about reasonableness. You implied that the position was not race neutral, and I'm just pointing out that it is. It's like dios saying "I should buy candy canes, because they are sweet.", you countering that "How can you say candy canes are sweet, not salty?", me answering "Because they contain lots of sugar", and you countering "You're assuming that candy canes are good for your teeth". What you say may or may not be true, but it has very little to do with what I said.

Also, you're confusing my playing of "other's advocate" as agreeing with said position (and I can hardly blame you, as my posts are being quite schizophrenic, pointing out logical conclusions of dios's position and also my own position, which differ). Or, rather, I think his hypothesis is reasonable but self-serving, and your hypothesis is also reasonable and self-serving (and mine too, I guess).

Tell me, how can it be easier for you to understand dios's contention that black people are not motivated from an innate sense of right or wrong but rather purely from naked greed ?

Easier to understand? No, I think your position and his position are pretty easy to understand. Easy to agree with? That's a different story. I think dios is wrong (I don't think blacks think reparations are bad), but I think his (possible) base position, "people are motivated by greed more than altruism", is more true, and, if I'm reading you right, that people are motivated not by naked greed, but an innate sense of right or wrong, to be less true. Neither is 100%, of course. But weighed out, I think greed outweighs altruism, and I think pretty much everything (not everything, but pretty much everything) in the modern and historical world bears this out to some degree.

Jonmc: Perhaps, he believes that all people are (at least to some extent) motivated by naked greed. Why should black people be any different?

Bingo. Especially with the "some extent" caveat, I don't even have to make any minor tweaks. That's exactly what I think.

In the end, though, I have to confess that, for the most part, I've been talking about logical conclusions (not necessarily correct, but logically following conclusions) based on dios's initial statements. When it all comes down to it, though, I haven't given reparations much of a thought. My own opinion (people are greedier than altruistic, many people's positions are based on greed) is a general opinion, which probably applies to reparations, but not necessarily in a bad way. That is, it might be true that reparations are good, that blacks nonetheless want them not because they are good, but because they are greedy and want the money, and that whites oppose them because they are also greedy and don't want to give up the money. People being motivated by greed does not ipso facto mean that their conclusions are wrong. So while I say that, doubtlessly, blacks support reparations because they are greedy, that doesn't logically mean that reparations are bad.

Personally, I find the idea of spending in a disadvantaged community to promote businesses, improve quality of life, etc. to be a good idea, even if said community has not been discriminated against in the past, but especially if it has. That's usually not called "reparations", though. "Reparations" are apology money for bad deeds done. Though the government paying this apology money is the same government that did the bad deeds, the money being paid does not come "from" the government, but from my pockets. Essentially, I'm being penalized for something I didn't do. I'm being penalized for something none of my ancestors did. And I think people should be responsible for themselves, not random unrelated dead people.

So it's a fine distinction. I fully support and endorse paying money to repair a community, not because I did anything bad to the community, but because the community is part of my community, and inequality, suffering, and poor conditions should be rectified. That's a responsibility of a citizen (of whatever body): to improve the community. So making me pay to improve a community, even if it's not part of my community, just plain makes sense. It's one of the reasons we have government: to fix this inequality and improve conditions for those in poor conditions. But to ask me to pay money to apologize to people I've done nothing to on behalf of people I have no connection to rubs me the wrong way.

So, basically, I'm opposed to reparations, but not to spending just as much money in other ways to benefit the same community.
posted by Bugbread at 5:07 AM on February 24, 2005


Essentially, I'm being penalized for something I didn't do. I'm being penalized for something none of my ancestors did. And I think people should be responsible for themselves, not random unrelated dead people.

That's not so tho. Your money is already being spent in many many ways you wouldn't approve--no-bid contracts for Halliburton, a black budget for the Pentagon, torture around the world, propping up dictators, various programs like Star Wars that don't and won't ever work...

We're all in this society together, and no one is entirely responsible for themselves, no matter what Republicans would wish. Our entire society benefits from recognizing past mistakes. And our system already penalizes you, using your words--this is way way less than those i mentioned, and would repair some damage--damage the effects of which are still being seen. A long time ago (during the late 80s?), people used to say that we spent more on military bands for the armed forces than for public education--i think that penalized you far more than some reparations for past horrors done.
posted by amberglow at 5:18 AM on February 24, 2005


That's not so tho. Your money is already being spent in many many ways you wouldn't approve--no-bid contracts for Halliburton, a black budget for the Pentagon, torture around the world, propping up dictators, various programs like Star Wars that don't and won't ever work...

I don't feel any happier about those...in fact I'm a lot more bothered by them.

We're all in this society together, and no one is entirely responsible for themselves, no matter what Republicans would wish. Our entire society benefits from recognizing past mistakes.

Agreed, mostly. People are not responsible for the crimes of other people, but they are responsible for fixing problems in their community, even if it doesn't affect them. Rephrased, people are not responsible for apologizing for other people's crimes, but they're responsible for assisting a community hurt by other people's crimes. Hence my comments indicating that I am fully in support of the same amount of money being discussed for reparations being used in other ways to benefit the community. For example, the "establishment of an economic development enterprise zone in the historic Greenwood district" mentioned above. Just not "apology money".

I also agree (to a small extent) that reparation payments can be dangerous, in the sense that once a reparation has been paid, certain people, for better or for worse (er, or just plain "for worse") will see the debt as having been paid, the books cleared, and as a result there will be less support for payments for other programs to benefit the area. Of course, not everyone will think that. But if you spend X dollars in investment and improvement plans for an area for area Y, people will tend not to think of "having fixed the problem, no further work necessary". If you spend the same X dollars in reparations, people will tend to think of the payment having been made, and the problem "taken care of", and further work being unfair or unnecessary. Again, though, I say "to some extent". This is in no way a foundation or lynchpin of my not supporting reparations, it's just another straw in the haystack.
posted by Bugbread at 6:00 AM on February 24, 2005


i think a real, meaty economic development thing would be good too--but our govt. already has established (with the Japanese interned) that personal payments are the standard. Whatever should be done, i think it's good and right and needed that something be done.
posted by amberglow at 6:13 AM on February 24, 2005


Whatever should be done, i think it's good and right and needed that something be done.

Agreed.
posted by Bugbread at 6:51 AM on February 24, 2005


Essentially, I'm being penalized for something I didn't do. I'm being penalized for something none of my ancestors did. And I think people should be responsible for themselves, not random unrelated dead people.

When Congress passed the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, no one assumed that individual Americans were being held accountable for personal wrongdoing... Whether the government actually acted for honorable motives or not, the point remains that with the passage of time thoughtful Americans – and the government itself – have come to view the internment as an unjustified response to the war with Japan, and one that wronged its victims... The reparations were appropriated out of general revenues. Consequently, Henry Hyde, as taxpayer, contributed a small portion, not because he had any personal responsibility for the internment but because as a citizen he is required to bear his share of the government’s necessary expenditures.

...The chief wrongs done to African Americans, thus, were not simply the sum of many individual oppressions added together but were the corporate acts of a nation that imposed or tolerated regimes of slavery, apartheid, peonage, and disenfranchisement. Just as it was the nation that owed Japanese Americans reparations, so it is the nation that owes reparations to African Americans. And so it is that Americans not as individuals but as citizens owe support for the nation’s debt.


Is not the question whether you as an individual have any responsibility for past injustices that have indirectly economically benefited all but as to whether the nation does ? In Idaho, my parents had many Nisei friends who were interned in World War II in those camps. They lost all they had--houses, material property and businesses. If we as a nation owe them for these losses, then why not the survivors of the Tulsa Riots ?

Despite all the contortionist hairsplitting by guruguy9, the evidence is clear that state and local governments sanctioned and participated in what was a pogrom, an act of what we euphemize as ethnic cleansing. The fact that that all newspapers and official documents from the time have been lost reminds me of the PBS special about Auschwitz and the way the SS rushed to destroy their files as the Russian army approached--they knew they had committed enormous crimes. So did the participants in the Tulsa Riots.

I am ambivalent about reparations for slavery but I lean towards some form of them as a just response. This figleaf that people are acting out of greed is bogus--Although countless individual Americans throughout our history exploited their power or standing to oppress African Americans, that power and standing itself derived from law – first from the latitude of the English Crown, then from the Constitution of 1787 (which accepted slavery in the states where it was established), and finally from the tissue of post-Civil War "Jim Crow" laws, rules, and social conventions that enforced de jure and de facto racial segregation. Generations of people were, not to put too fine a point on it, robbed of the value of their labor, time and lives for a century after slavery ended. It is not from greed that they feel they deserve redress.

As for Tulsa, the case is solid. But the enormity of the crime behind the crime of Tulsa is very hard to look at. Everyone claims I was not personally responsible, my folks just got off the boat but the question really is was the nation ? And if so, do we collectively as citizens owe some sort of redress ?
posted by y2karl at 9:25 AM on February 24, 2005


When Congress passed the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, no one assumed that individual Americans were being held accountable for personal wrongdoing...

I'd like to know where they got the impression that "no one assumed" so.

Henry Hyde, as taxpayer, contributed a small portion, not because he had any personal responsibility for the internment but because as a citizen he is required to bear his share of the government's necessary expenditures.

And it's this that I'm disagreeing with. Of course, it's true. I'm not arguing that making people pay restitution for things they were uninvolved in is unconstitutional or illegal or anything crazy. Sure, we're responsible. We're also responsible for paying for George Bush's salary. That pisses me off, but me being pissed off doesn't change reality. So we agree that as a citizen you have to pay, but we disagree about whether that's real and good, or real and not good.

If we as a nation owe them for these losses, then why not the survivors of the Tulsa Riots?

Keep in mind, and this is an important distinction, that I do support reparations to survivors, just not their descendants.

This figleaf that people are acting out of greed is bogus

What are your grounds for saying this (note that I don't expect you to "prove" anything, because we're basically talking about a fundamental philosophical difference: whether one believes humans are more greedy than altruistic or not. It would be impossible and insane to expect you, or me, or anyone else, to be able to "prove" this one way or another in a net discussion.

Generations of people were, not to put too fine a point on it, robbed of the value of their labor, time and lives for a century after slavery ended. It is not from greed that they feel they deserve redress.

No. And if we were discussing former slaves, then I would agree entirely. However, as far as I am aware, there aren't a whole lot of former slaves still alive.

As for Tulsa, the case is solid. But the enormity of the crime behind the crime of Tulsa is very hard to look at. Everyone claims I was not personally responsible, my folks just got off the boat but the question really is was the nation? And if so, do we collectively as citizens owe some sort of redress?

Well, you and I do agree that the survivors deserve redress. We apparently disagree that descendents of survivors do. I think we owe alleviation of the suffering that was caused by the nation, and you think we owe redress to the descendents of survivors.
posted by Bugbread at 9:55 AM on February 24, 2005


bugbread, do you acknowledge that it wasn't the slaves that were hurt, but their children and grandchildren too? It's true, you know. The legacy of slavery is ongoing.

If we owe alleviation to the suffering this nation caused--as a general rule--then what do we owe to the suffering of generations of spearate and unequal schools, not letting people vote or hold office, not letting people work or join unions, not letting people fully participate in life???
posted by amberglow at 10:24 AM on February 24, 2005


No. And if we were discussing former slaves, then I would agree entirely. However, as far as I am aware, there aren't a whole lot of former slaves still alive.

No, but considering--finally from the tissue of post-Civil War "Jim Crow" laws, rules, and social conventions that enforced de jure and de facto racial segregation--there was legally enforced discrimination into my lifetime, with an enormous economic impact to those discriminated against, there are plenty of survivors of thoselaws, rules and social conventions , and heirs of those survivors as well who are still penalized by the facts and the residue of those laws, rules and social conventions .

If you buy a bike at a yard sale which is later identified as having been stolen, then officially you are in possession of stolen property. While there may be a statute of limitations for that which lets you keep the bike after a certain amount of time, I believe that if you pay for a plot of land which turns out to be under the title of another person other than the one to whom you paid your money, then that land belongs to the heirs of the original owner. Real property, say stolen artworks from Nazi plundering in World War II, belongs even to succeeding generations.

The argument Fullwinder makes, if I understand him correctly, that we all benefit to some extent economically to some extent from post-Civil War "Jim Crow" laws, rules, and social conventions that enforced de jure and de facto racial segregation. To my mind it amounts in total to far more than a stolen bicycle and can be considered as real property.
posted by y2karl at 10:32 AM on February 24, 2005


bugbread, do you acknowledge that it wasn't the slaves that were hurt, but their children and grandchildren too?

Yes, I do.

If we owe alleviation to the suffering this nation caused--as a general rule--then what do we owe to the suffering of generations of spearate and unequal schools, not letting people vote or hold office, not letting people work or join unions, not letting people fully participate in life???

We owe alleviation of said suffering. I personally don't believe that cash payments to descendents of victims will alleviate that suffering. It may for some people. For others it may result in HDTVs and new cars. I personally don't believe that one-time purchases of creature comforts are an effective method of alleviation of suffering. Of course, I'm not saying that all payments would be thus used. But a method by which more of the money is used for alleviation of suffering, and less for flat cash payments, would be better. Subsidies for businesses owned by descendants. Rent assistance. Things like that.

If you buy a bike at a yard sale which is later identified as having been stolen, then officially you are in possession of stolen property.

Hehe. You have a knack for presenting as examples things which I don't agree with. Yes, it's true that if you buy a bike later identified as having been stolen, you are officially in possession of stolen property. I don't think you should be punished for that, either.
posted by Bugbread at 11:33 AM on February 24, 2005


For others it may result in HDTVs and new cars.

That sentence should stand alone.

I personally don't believe that one-time purchases of creature comforts are an effective method of alleviation of suffering.

So far, I have heard of no plan that involves cash payments to individuals--most serious proposals seem to involve setting up pension funds, scholarship funds or a sort of credit union for making start ip loans for small businesses. This, at least, has been my understanding.

I don't think you should be punished for that, either.

Is legal repossession of stolen property a form of punishment?
posted by y2karl at 12:37 PM on February 24, 2005


start up, to be sure...

And that answer above is addressed to the larger question of slavery reparations only.

As far as the Tulsa Race Riot, reparations in terms of individual recompensation to the survivors and their heirs seems right and just to me. To use again the analogy of the right of World War II and Holocaust survivors to sue for the restitution of art works stolen from them by the Nazis, real property was destroyed or stolen from the survivors of the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921 and they and their heirs have a legal and moral right to be recompensated for these losses. And on what they spend their money is their business alone, even if it is for color TVs and Cadillacs.
posted by y2karl at 12:48 PM on February 24, 2005


For others it may result in HDTVs and new cars.

That sentence should stand alone.


Ok.
For others it may result in HDTVs and new cars.
If you think some people aren't going to spend a government payment on consumer goods like TVs or cars, you are either insane or were raised on another planet. That's what humans do. That's especially what American humans do. TVs, cars, and credit card debt. Credit card debt for rent, utilities, cars and TVs. Furniture, jewelry, air conditioners, computers, video games, tattoos, stereos, CDs, iPods. What, you think everyone who gets a refund from their IRS checks invests in a mutual fund or uses it as funding for a company startup?

People spend money on useless shit all the time. It's part of capitalism, for better or for worse.

So far, I have heard of no plan that involves cash payments to individuals--most serious proposals seem to involve setting up pension funds, scholarship funds or a sort of credit union for making start ip loans for small businesses. This, at least, has been my understanding.

Well, then, motherfuckin' a, y2karl, we're in agreement, then. I keep saying I'm in support of things like pension funds, startup loans, scholarships, and the like.

All that, and it turns out we agree ^_^
posted by Bugbread at 12:48 PM on February 24, 2005


Well, then, motherfuckin' a, y2karl, we're in agreement, then.

With which--This, at least, has been my understanding or real property was destroyed or stolen from the survivors of the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921 and they and their heirs have a legal and moral right to be recompensated for these losses ?
posted by y2karl at 11:42 PM on February 24, 2005


Both, ish, I believe. I agree that "real property was destroyed or stolen from the survivors of the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921 and they and their heirs have a legal and moral right to be recompensated for these losses" in the form not of cash payments but "setting up pension funds, scholarship funds or a sort of credit union for making start ip loans for small businesses" and the like.

Or, rather, if we disagree on principle (I don't know if you support cash payments or not), we agree on the details (I gather you think they have been wronged, something should be done, and find the setting up of pension funds, scholarship funds, credit unions for small business loans, etc to be an acceptable approach. I also think they have been wronged, something should be done, and find the setting up of pension funds, scholarship funds, credit unions for small business loans, etc to be an acceptable approach)

Also, allow me a big ole covering of ass: That may have been discussed above. Normally (Universally, actually, this being the exception), I read the entire thread before commenting. In this case, I came here from the MetaTalk thread about your posting style to see what the big deal is. I read some exchanges between dios and yourself towards the end, and it seemed you were making mistaken logical inferences from dios's statements. I started posting, not so much to counter or agree with anyone's central positions, but just to counter logical gaps, which you can generally do without background (imagine jumping into a thread and seeing: "You say you don't like thing A. Why do you hate it?" You can point out that saying not liking thing A does not necessarily imply hating A, it could also imply feeling neutral, feeling ambivalent, or being ignorant about A, without reading the entire thread.) I allowed myself to drag myself into a conversation of the topic itself, instead of just clarifying logical leaps, so I may have missed stuff above. Again, normally, I read all posts before commenting, but my manner of ingress into this post was unusual, and I apologize if I've missed some far earlier clarifying statements.
posted by Bugbread at 5:57 AM on February 25, 2005


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