We know Who's (Been) on First
I wrote a piece some years ago about reparations. It concluded that the simple recognition of how impossibly lucky a white man is in the United States of America is a critical first step and, frankly, that reparations are the least we can do.
My White Male ancestors arrived in 1600-something. They claimed land that wasn't theirs. Ever since that first land was proclaimed, no one in North America has ever denied or stolen land from these White Men. Sure, some have been robbed by the pen. Forclosed by banks and other scheming White Men. I've heard Guthrie sing. But as a general rule, I think we can safely assume that, if they could afford it, the White Men in my family could buy what they wanted where they wanted when they wanted.
Let's assume we're all playing baseball. We White Men start the game at first base. Some start even further along the basepath (inheritance & opportunity means plenty are born on third-base claiming they hit a triple). Through accrued equity in property and employment advantages, White Men avoid the 70%+ failure rate of simply being at-bat. They've secured an opportunity to score and most do. Sure, some get picked off. Injustice. Accidents. War. Others are caught stealing. First base is not a guarantee of success. Most still need to work hard. Just not as hard as others.
Thanks to slavery, imitation, murder, laws, rules, and economic constraints, White Men have granted themselves a nearly 400 hundred-year head-start advantage over every other race and gender. A critical eye on US history suggests that African-Americans were property longer than they have been allowed to own property. And they are still redlined out of neighborhoods, today. Still.
Land is still being denied. White Men man the levers of equity. Equity is overdue.
It's time to at least let everyone get step to the plate and get an at-bat. Reparations aren't going to put everyone automatically on base. It's too late for that. That reward belongs uniquely to White Men. But they will at least give more citizens an opportunity to swing for the fences. White picket fences.
It'll bring everyone home.