Debate Magazine

Evanston, Illionois Tries Reparations with Predictable Results.

Posted on the 03 June 2021 by Doggone
I had to check out the story when I heard that Evanston, IL actually decided to try and implement reparations. Then I decided I was going to do a post about what a failure it was. This is the perfect headline: Evanston, Illionois tries reparations with predictable results.The story is pretty good:

Recently, Priscilla Giles, a retired teacher of English as a second language in Chicago Public Schools, said she has been feeling something “between sad and angry.”

Three months ago the city of Evanston, Illinois, where Giles was born and raised, approved the first local reparations program in the country. The city announced its first phase would pay Black Evanston residents who experienced housing discrimination $25,000 in the form of home improvement costs, down payment and closing cost assistance, and mortgage payments.

Since Giles is Black and lived in the city from 1919 to 1969, she is automatically eligible, but she said she is reluctant to apply. “It’s not reparations,” she said. “And that’s for sure.”

Evanston residents have been debating the details of its current reparations program for more than three years. When the legislation passed, it was deemed a “blueprint” for the rest of the country. Yet a few months into the first initiative, frustration and legal pressure have clouded the city’s pioneering vision.

Maybe reparations should be in the form of some accurate history about slavery, reconstruction, and the "Jim Crow" era. Especially since reparations have been tried before.

And, like Evanston's experiment, they failed miserably despite great promise. That's because reparations have always been problematic. In this case the offer was for up to $25,000 in "home improvement costs" and only about 16 families ended up being eligible for the "reparations". This was despite the fact that the tax on recreational marijuana would foot the bill. 

The problem with people who are demanding, or even discussing, reparations is that most of them do it with historical ignorance. Or they do it from the wrong perspective.

So, maybe a course in "black history" which is accurate and not with an agenda, like the 1619 Project happened to be, should be the form that reparations take. Especially since that information would have prevented the disappointment that a lot of people are feeling right now.

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