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Reparation In Frederick Douglass

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A Consideration for Reparations
Harriet Bailey had just given birth to her son, the product of a rape committed by her white master, when she was separated from him at birth. Harriet had to travel 12 miles at night to see her infant son and spend a a few hours with him, only to journey back early the following morning to her reality as a slave. This woman, the mother of Frederick Douglass, represented many of the victims of a common slave practice: Separation, arranged by slave owners in order to “hinder the development of the child’s affection toward its mother, and to blunt and destroy the natural affection of the mother for the child” (Douglass 2). Douglass presents such inhumane treatments done to him, his family, and others in his autobiography,
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Reparations to other ethnic groups have happened, specifically, “in 1988, [when] Congress approved the payment of $1.25 billion to 60,000 Japanese-Americans citizens who had been interned in prison camps during World War II” (“Reparations?”). American Indians have also received payment when “the federal government [paid] eight Sioux Indian tribes $122 million to compensate for the illegal seizure of tribal lands in 1877” (“Reparations?”) These racial groups have received payments for wrongful crime committed 300 years ago, and given restitution less than 100 years ago. These groups have received payment, yet the American government cannot even consider reparations for black Americans, who have received terrible treatment from the American people for the past 300 years. For example, in his essay, “The Case for Reparations”, Ta-Nehisi Coates tells the story of Clyde Ross, a victim of redlining by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), a system that rate neighborhoods to their perceived stability (4). Coates shows the systematic discrimination of the FHA, explaining that areas rated ‘A’, “lacked a single foreigner or Negro [and] were considered excellent prospects for insurance”, whereas “neighborhoods where black people lived were rated “D” and considered ineligible for FHA backing” (4). Like Clyde Ross, most African Americans became victims of racist housing policies that did not allow them to have the same economic opportunities as other white American citizens. Black Americans continue to be racially profiled and discriminated against. If given the chance, reparations could prove to stand as the answer for these

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