Evanston Illinois Approves Reparations With Strings Attached

Evanston Illinois Approves Reparations With Strings Attached

Evanston Illinois Approves Reparations With Strings Attached

Reparations with strings attached. That’s the new move from the Evanston, Illinois city council.

Via the news reports and social media, I see a great number of folks cheering this move. Furthermore those same folks view this as slavery reparations. It is anything but that. 

“The City Council in Evanston, Ill., voted 8-1 late Monday to approve a plan to make reparations available to Black residents over past discrimination and the lingering effects of slavery.

The plan, which could be the first of its kind in the U.S., is to distribute $400,000 to eligible Black households.”

Read that again very carefully. These are reparations for past discrimination and the so-called lingering effects of slavery. 

String Number One: Who is eligible for these reparations?

“To qualify, an applicant must have “origins in any of the Black racial and ethnic groups of Africa,” according to the memo. Applicants must also be a Black resident of Evanston between 1919-1969, or that person’s direct descendant.

Oh, so this isn’t slavery reparations. Nope, it is housing discrimination reparations. I’ve a question. How does one prove that they are not only a direct descendent, but their ancestor did experience housing discrimination? What documentation will be required? Furthermore, if the discrimination occurred for someone wanting to rent an apartment during that period or purchase a home during that period, wouldn’t documentation from the apartment complex/mortgage lender/bank/realtor ALSO have to be provided in order to prove veracity?

String Number Two: Payment

First, the money will be coming from pot sales and the reparation bucket will be capped at $10 million. $400 thousand has been approved immediately. Secondly, for those eligible, they will receive a payment of $25,000. No, that’s not an initial payment with more to come. It’s the ONLY amount of money that individual or family will receive. 

String Number Three: Conditions 

For those who believe the payment of $25,000 will be handed over to them via cash or direct deposit with zero strings attached? Think again. You see, the Evanston city council wants to make sure the reparations money is spent according to THEIR checklist, not the recipient’s. 

“The resolution approved Monday directs initial funding of $400,000 from the city’s Local Reparations Fund to a housing program that will award eligible individuals up to $25,000. That money can be used to help with a home down payment or closing cost assistance within the city; help pay for repairs, improvements or modernizations of an Evanston property; or help pay down mortgage principal, interest or late penalties on Evanston property, according to a memo from Kimberly Richardson, interim assistant city manager.

Wow. How wonderful that is! Isn’t it? No, no it is not. 

“Alderman Cicely Fleming, the lone vote against the plan, said she supports reparations, but what the City Council was debating is a housing plan that is being called reparations. She said the people should dictate the terms of how their grievances are repaired. Fleming described the program as paternalistic, and it assumes Black people can’t manage their own money.

I agree that these conditions are paternalistic and quite frankly, insulting. While all the proponents in favor of reparations are cheering this move, they are ignoring some very salient points about this. 

A. What if the recipient’s property doesn’t need repairs?

B. What if the recipient wants to use the funds to send their kids to college, or invest in their grandkids college funds instead?

C. What if the recipient needs a CAR more than he or she needs the mortgage paid down?

D. What if the recipient is dealing with a major medical issue or needs assistance with nursing home costs for a family member?

Can the city of Evanston, Illinois truly afford to spend $10 million over the next ten years in reparations? Can our trillions in U.S. debt handle reparations on a national level?

Watching the video carefully, I also noticed that those in favor of national reparations are ALSO insinuating that recipients will need “help” with budgeting and will need to be “taught” how to get ahead in business. Again, that’s insinuating that reparations recipients are either poor money managers, just plain stupid, and will essentially turn recipients into victims. 

Was there housing discrimination back in the day. Yes. Will reparations magically make that history of discrimination disappear? No. Will a one-time payment of $25,000 ease the pain for any recipients today? No it will not. 

The Evanston, Illinois reparations come with strings attached. Big arrogant condescending strings at that.

Feature Photo Credit: yellow ball of string, via Pixabay, cropped and modified

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1 Comment
  • NTSOG says:

    Going by the Australian experience, if there’s government [taxpayer’s] money available then the chosen minority [Aborigines in Australia] come forward in droves with their begging hands out even if they only have 1% Aborigine blood in their veins and look like expatriate red-haired Irishmen straight of the boat from Ireland – and the government does not query their claims of Aboriginal identity. To query the identity of those making demands would be discrimination. After all it’s only government money and governments are good at spending [or is it wasting?] money taken from taxpayers.

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