I believe we need reparations in the U.S.
Germany started making reparations payments to Holocaust survivors back in the 1950s, and continues making payments today.
Now, the City of Santa Monica has started its own reparations in a pilot program aimed for Black descendants of families who lost their homes in the 1950s or 1960s, when Santa Monica used eminent domain to force thousands of families from their homes in order to build a freeway.
City leaders are acknowledging the historic injustice and are hoping to give 100 families first priority to the “affordable” rental properties in Santa Monica.
However, I don't believe this goes far enough.
The families who lost their properties through the forced evacuation, to tear down their homes and build the freeway, lost out on years of appreciation.
The average home price in Santa Monica is $1.8 Million!
Just perusing Zillow … this 3 Bedroom house built in 1948 is going for $2.8 Million.
Imagine if the family who owned this house had it in their family this entire time. They would be multi-millionaires.
This kind of government action also changed the demographic of the area.
Between 1950 and 1960, the Black population had actually doubled. It's now completely dwindled. Today, Santa Monica’s population is only 5% Black.
The city’s mayor said,
“As much as this is an act of restorative justice, it's nowhere near enough to make up for what has happened in our country for centuries. This is a good first step, but I hope nobody thinks this is the end of what we need to do in Santa Monica or in the country.”
In nearby Manhattan Beach, a piece of land known as Bruce’s Beach was returned to the Black descendants of the family that the city had stolen from a century before.
Santa Monica should be doing the same.
It can do better than just give descendants rent-controlled apartments. Instead, they should give them land, property or even the money that was owed to them.
(By the way, property stolen didn’t just happen to Black families. It also happened to a lot of Mexican and Asian families, especially the Japanese who had homes and businesses taken away from them, when they went into the internment camps.)
Besides money and land reparations, I do believe this country should also create equity through student loan forgiveness. I believe that everyone has a right to some kind of higher education, and it’s the way to create more equity in terms of what kinds of jobs everyone can get.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, if you only have a high school diploma, you’re making an average of $38,792 per year. With a Bachelor’s Degree, you make an average of $64,896 per year, which is close to double.
Of course, those with a Master’s Degree ARE making double what a high school grad would be making. However, I’ve seen those with a Master’s Degree who have over $100,000 in student loans, and that doesn’t help if you’re making an average of $77,844.
Combined with undergrad and grad loans, I’ve seen some people with over $200,000 in student loans, and with the average student loan interest rate at 4-6%, that’s over $2000 a month for 10 years.
That’s $54,557.24 just in interest!!!
When you’re paying $254,557.24 for just your education, it makes it virtually impossible to buy a hous, especially since that's almost the price for a house in most of the country!
Recently, I also heard this financial advisor on the So Money with Farnoosh Torabi podcast discuss how she’s asking her super wealthy clients to look at reparations, not just in charitable contributions, but to add it to their will and estate planning.
In the episode, Farnoosh introduced her guest by saying:
“One of the most powerful ways to close wealth gaps, many agree, is through reparations. “A system of redress for egregious injustice,” is how the Bookings Institute defines reparations. As allies and anti-racists, how can we support reparations through the various aspects of financial planning – investing, estate planning, taxes, and insurance? Guest Georgia Lee Hussey, founder of Modernist Financial, shares her advice and conversations she’s having with clients around this important topic.”
Finally, if you are not a believer in reparations, you may have to look at your own scarcity mentality. Why is it that you don’t believe in equity?
If you don’t believe in reparations, you’re basically saying there’s not enough for everyone, so why should the government give money, land or loan forgiveness for others?
I have to remind you, like I have many times on this blog, that money isn’t real. Humans have made it up. Each country decides how much money to print, and collectively as a society, we decide what value we want to put onto our currency. So YES, there is enough for everyone. There’s MORE than enough for everyone.
Just like there’s enough oxygen for everyone, there is enough money, as well, and oxygen is actually and literally needed for survival, while money is only figuratively and constructively needed for survival because of the way our modern society works.
Plus, the more you and I give to others, the more we will receive in return.
This is the word of God.
Alright, I’ll stop preaching…for now.
Not every single blog post can be about food and fun. Sometimes, we have to talk about some serious things on this blog. :) Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
Much Love & Gratitude,