Now is the time for Black data scientists to lead the way in developing a methodology that can be used as an offensive tool to guide acts of civil disobedience in support of reparations. Many of you are underemployed, unable to continue your academic studies, or simply bored and idle due to the impact of Covid-19 on life. Regardless, I want to make the case to you concerning the importance of reparations.
Over the past several months we have seen a nationwide effort and pressure brought to bear by the BLM movement to address racial injustice. What has been the result thus far? Is there a kernel of national legislative interest in addressing the issue? No. Which major American city do we see a document outlining major reform put forth by the policing and political powers? None. Is there an active commission in place to determine which basic concrete steps are necessary to enact social justice and police reforms nationwide that consist of national leaders and BLM representatives from across the country? No. The American playbook on this, even after months of active protests, is to condemn the violence when it occurs and wait out the peaceful protestors.
Periodically, there is some enthusiasm by police and politicians to use of force on the streets. This may happen against peaceful protestors, those inciting violence, property damage, or those taking advantage of the situation to steal valuable property. Basically, the response is consistent with what people are protesting – excessive police force against the people. The irony is recognized and the response then changes. This is an indication to me that fundamentally the demands of the movement are being ignored.
The structural elements in America that have facilitated and supported systemic racism have been spawned by the federal government from its beginning. The list is long and has been documented by many scholars previously. Here are a few highlights:
We must change the dynamics of the American culture with respect to race. While significant strides have been made by Black people in this country, it is impossible to legislate feelings of superiority and immorality. Black men and women perform jobs at the highest levels of government, corporations, academics, and arts & entertainment. This has not changed the view of at least 30 to 40 percent of Americans that most Black people, in general, are a criminal threat. That the average Black man is a threat to the community and women (white or other ethnicities).
We have paid our dues with our lives throughout the history of United States of America. Our blood has been spilled for centuries to build, defend, and redefine this country. The one thing that is an equalizing force, particularly in American society, is money. The elements of point two above all point to economics. It is time for America to pay us what we and our ancestors have earned. The most objective evaluation of the amount of reparations (W Darity, Social Science Quarterly, 2008) when updated for todays dollars puts the overall figure at 10 to 12 trillion dollars. This would mean a one time direct payment to every African-American person of $600,000 to $800,000 dollars. Imagine everyone in your family (aunts, uncles, cousins, sisters and brothers) getting a check for $600,000 from the federal government.
We need a mass movement of African-American scientific doers. I was taught to listen to what people say but watch what people do. What a person does demonstrates what is important to that person. I have found this to be true in every aspect of my life and in business.
The talent exists in the African-American scientific community to develop a strategic methodology that will support specific acts of civil disobedience as a tool to get direct payment reparations. No one person can do this alone. It will take a collective effort. It will require native data from publicly available sources and data from African-Americans who are employed in every aspect of American business. This will require individuals to take risks.
What are you prepared to do?
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The Angry Man
We all know an angry man. It seems he always speaks with passion even when the words appear