PROJECT 2019

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"
Reparations: An Even Louder Message From White America"


I wrote and posted the short article shown below after the November 2000 presidential voting was completed but prior to George Bush being "selected" to be president. After the recent 2004 election, I decided to redo the article. One thought was to simply change the name "Al Gore" to "John Kerry" - the only change necessary to bring the article up-to-date. Instead, I am reissuing the article exactly as it was written four years ago. By doing so, I am hopeful that the point will be made and taken that if what was stated four years ago was true, it is even truer today. Also, I have added a couple of "2004 footnotes" at the end of the article.


THE 2000 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: A MESSAGE FROM WHITE AMERICA

Although the next president of the United States has yet to be officially determined, white America has spoken. And, make no mistake, it does not matter if Al Gore wins or if George W. Bush wins, white America's message to black America remains the same. Indeed, the message was delivered by many, if not most, of the white Americans who voted for Al Gore. And, more importantly, the message was marked "Urgent: Do Not Ignore" by 99% of the Americans who voted for George Bush.

Message # 1: White America will not be giving black Americans "forty acres and a mule" (or "forty acres and a Lexus") anytime in the foreseeable future. Although black Americans have talked about reparations for a century and a half and while some well-meaning white Americans may support reparations "in principle," there is an irrefutable "double bottom line." Bottom line # 1: As long as there is a Republican president, or a Republican controlled Senate, or a Republican controlled House of Representatives, or conservatives on the Supreme Court, there will be no reparations for black Americans. Bottom line # 2: White America will never elect (or retain) a Democratic president or a Democratic Congress that even hints at the possibility of giving reparations to black Americans.

Message # 2: Do not count on affirmative action to help save black America. More likely than not, over the next few years, affirmative action will be going the way of Reconstruction after the Civil War - a historical footnote in black America's struggle for total equality in America. Not only will black Americans not be given "forty acres and a mule" - they will not even be given the first bid on the acres and mules that are available.

Message # 3: Although there will be no reparations, no affirmative action of any consequence, nor an official apology for 246 years of Slavery and 103 years of Jim Crow era oppression, white America is willing to make black America an offer that it can not refuse. Although it is the same deal that has been on the table for the past 30 years, it remains the best offer to black Americans in four centuries and it is likely to be the best deal that will ever be offered to black Americans.

White America's final offer is that it will allow black Americans an "equal opportunity" to succeed or fail in America.

If there was ever a time for all black Americans to support "PROJECT 2019" - that time is NOW.


2004 FOOTNOTES

"Project 2019" is a national movement by black Americans to reach educational parity with the rest of America by the year 2019 -- the 400th anniversary of the beginning of Slavery in America. (Project 2019's measurement of "educational parity" is based on college degrees earned. Other measurements may be as valid.)

For the record, Project 2019 wholehearted believes that black Americans are "owed" reparations. However, I, personally, can not envision a scenario in which white America will be "made" to pay reparations and white America will certainly never do so voluntarily.

For those who are actively fighting for reparations - but do not believe that "equal opportunity" is (or can ever be) a reality in America, consider the following (admittedly overly simplistic) analogy:

It is the beginning of the second half of a football game and the "Whites" are leading the "Blacks" by a score of 56 to 3. After reviewing the first half instant replays, the Blacks prove that the referees clearly cheated them and demand that points be added to their score. The Whites respond that it is not their fault that the referees cheated, that the first half is over, and what is done is done. The Whites then remind the Blacks that they are playing in their stadium with their ball and if the Blacks do not like their decision, then the Blacks can refuse to play the second half and just leave. However, because of the "Football Rights" movement, the Whites do "promise" that fair and impartial referees will be used in the second half of the game.

Therefore, to those who are fighting for reparations but do not buy into "equal opportunity," my question is this: If you are so convinced that the White team is so racist and so corrupt that it is not to be trusted to keep its promise of simply putting fair and impartial referees on the field in the second half, what is the reasoning that leads you to believe that you can "make" such a racist and corrupt team go back and change the score from the first half…?

Let me say that I have all the faith in the world in black America - indeed, there are those who say that I have too much faith. But I believe that on a level (or even almost level) playing field, the Black team can overcome any lead and, indeed, win the game. And, for me, that would be all the "healing" I would ever need. And making it that much sweeter would be the knowledge that, although the white man may have damaged us, in the end, we did not need him to heal us. We healed ourselves. And I contend that the successful completion of Project 2019 is the first step in the process of our healing ourselves.

Knowledge is power. And as long as black Americans remain the least educated and least knowledgeable people in America, they will remain the people with the least amount of power in America. Knowledge is power. And education and knowledge is the "gateway" that will lead to the solutions to all the problems that afflict black America.


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