Enotes policy allows me to answer one question per post. I will answer your last question in this post.
Reparations refer to providing compensation to a person or a group of people who have been harmed by some previous wrongdoing or injustice. Most people think of the reparations Germany was required to pay the Allies at the end of World War I. However, there can be other examples of reparations. This article suggests that African-Americans should receive reparations for the injustices they have experienced throughout our history.
There is no question that African-Americans have experienced injustices throughout the history of the United States. They were slaves for many years. Families were torn apart by slavery. Even when slavery ended, the injustices continued. Laws were established that kept the races apart. Segregation was legal for many years after the Civil War ended. African-Americans have had less education and lower-paying jobs. They have had a more difficult time getting fair mortgages. They have had their homes taken away by predatory lending practices. Segregation continues today. Some cities, such as Milwaukee and Chicago, remain very segregated.
There are many reasons to support the concept of having reparations for African-Americans. There are biblical references in the Old Testament that a slave should be freed after seven years. There have been huge personal losses that African-Americans have faced because of slavery. With families being separated by slavery and with fewer educational opportunities, it has been hard for African-Americans to get ahead. Segregation impacts people psychologically by creating a feeling of inferiority. Many African-Americans have lost their lives due to lynching, bombings, and murder as they fought for equal treatment.
Thus, since the case can be made for reparations, the question is what form this should take. There certainly can be some form of monetary compensation. This was done for the Japanese who were interned during World War II. This article also suggests something much more comprehensive than just making a monetary payment. It requires a shift in thinking for most Americans. It requires an acknowledgement of the past injustices while recognizing current realities. Too many people still hold negative images and thoughts about African-Americans. As the author suggests, when people talk about patriotism while waving a Confederate flag, there remains a problem in this country. If attitudes can truly shift, and this is something that has been attempted or discussed since the end of the Civil War with limited success as shown in this article, then real progress might be made. Shifting attitudes may be much more meaningful than a financial payment. There are significant racial issues that need an open and honest discussion in order to move forward and improve our racial divide.