Sunday, November 18, 2007

with inflation, what would 40 acres be today?

alright so first of all, i recognize that brittany (*cough cough*) and i have been a bit lax in updating. turns out a blog is a lot of work. life can get hectic. sorry. we'll do better.

but back to business: skimming through the "most emailed" section of the new york times, i was delighted to find out that skip gates has an article in the op-ed section. i had been going through severe withdrawal since graduation, and since i've been watching less tv, it seems like "finding oprah's roots" is on less and less too. i refuse to ever admit to "missing harvard," but if i DID miss something about harvard, it would definitely be the af-am department. so when i saw that dr. henry louis gates jr. had written an article called "40 acres and a gap in wealth," i was on it before you could say "doesn't he mean 'mule'?"

ANyways, harvard ramblings aside, i'm pointing it out on the blog for a few reasons:

1 - this way i dont have to email it to anyone, so its almost time-saving in a way
2 - i really needed to update the blog.

but more importantly, 3 - gates is pointing to something i think most of us know about, but for some reason hasn't made it into the canon of "things wrong with black america:" land ownership. the difference between owning property and not is huge, and gates is pointing out that this difference back in the day can be seen in the present (oprah's ancestors owned land. so did whoopi goldberg's). and of course people have all sorts of things to say about that. maybe if black people owned land they'd be more invested in their communities. maybe they'd be more upwardly mobile. etc. etc. the point is, it's clear that property ownership is a big step in the "right direction," and is a step that most black americans either haven't taken, or haven't been able to take.

so in the spirit of a) finding out how many people actually read this blog, and b) friendly conversation (or not-so-friendly argument. either way), i have a question to ask you:

so most people didn't get that 40 acres and a mule they were promised. those who did seem to be significantly better-off than those who didn't. so lets talk about reparations: how does the idea of straight-up land change the reparations debate? what if instead of getting a check, black people got some property? i'm not saying lets do this, because i think we all know it won't happen. but i am asking what you think.


kidbonita said...

how long do you think it would take for poor people with land to catch up? reparations aside, what about for all poor people? and what do you think can be done to reverse the ever widening gap between the have plentys and the have littles?

wannatakethisoutside said...

I think property would be great, but I am wondering why you see that as any different from a check. I mean a check can by property if that's what someone chooses.

I think having a set of resources changes the way you think but I'm not sure how property or a cash reserve would be different.

Could you explain what you were thinking when you asked what if instead of getting a check, black people got some property?

Brittany said...

Yeah, well, I am late, but you know, property and money are very very different, and not just int erms of their monetary value but because of the social capital and perceived wealth that come along with each one. Having property definitely doesn't ensure that you will eat dinner or be able to pay your bills, but it creates something that is yours, that you own and that can be passed down throughout generations. Due to our lack of voluntary entrance to this country, this is something that means a whole hell of a lot to Black Americans- it's doubtful that we were able to bring our family heirlooms or other shizz from Africa due to you know, the whole slavery deal.

Plus the way property ownership is related to concepts of citizenry...

don't even get me started.