CBA Record July-August 2021

Reparations: 40 Acres and a Mule …with Interest By Patrick Dankwa John

“For the answer to how the Negro’s status came to be what it is does not lie essentially in the world of the Negro, but in the world of the white. In short, white America must assume the guilt for the black man’s inferior status.” ‒ Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Where Do We Go From Here , 1967 T he U.S. House of Representatives recently passed H.B. 40, which authorizes Congress to study the issue of reparations for Blacks. Not to pay us any money, but just to talk about whether they should pay us any money. Why has it taken 400 years to get to a serious conversation about reparations for Blacks? Did the nation just realize White supremacy is real? Are Americans gener- ally opposed to compensating people who have been discriminated against because of their race? Let’s see… In 1988, Congress passed the Civil Lib- erties Act of 1988 (50 U.S.C. 1989), which authorized the federal government to pay

$20,000 to every living American citizen of Japanese descent who was interred in camps by the federal government during WWII. This was $20,000 for five years of wrongful imprisonment and ruined lives. It seems more symbolic than compensatory, but it’s better than nothing. So, if America can pay Japanese-Amer- icans $20,000 each for being wrongfully imprisoned for five years, then why has America not paid Blacks reparations yet? I think the difference is crupellechrom. Never heard of it? That is because I created the word myself in 2020 in the wake of the George Floyd incident. It’s a combination of three words: cru (from the Latin cruci- ate, which means to torture) + pelle (from the Italian word pelle, which means skin) + chrom (from the Greek word chroma, which means color). Crupellechrom is a word to describe the unique suffering of Blacks, and to distinguish our struggle from that of other ethnic groups. It clarifies the stigma of Blackness. Crupellechrom

as a verb means to torture someone solely because of the color of their skin. Crupel- lechrom as a noun is the ideology that teaches that it’s morally permissible to torture Blacks just for being Black, because Blacks are thought to inherently possess specific undesirable traits: dirtiness, stupid- ity, laziness, dishonesty, sexual insatiability, superhuman physical strength, and a lust for violence. This is also what Blacks are due compensation for, not just for slavery per se, but for the crupellechrom that came with it, and that still lingers to this day. One of the striking things about the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 is its stated purpose, which includes the federal govern- ment’s desire to “acknowledge the funda- mental injustice” of the internment, and to “apologize on behalf of the people of the United States.” I reviewed the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act but could not find any such acknowl- edgements or apologies being extended to Blacks, despite all that we’ve suffered


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