Instigator / Pro
8
1384
rating
24
debates
25.0%
won
Topic

America Needs To Pay Reparations To The Descendants of Slavery

Status
Finished

All stages have been completed. The voting points distribution and the result are presented below.

Arguments points
0
9
Sources points
2
6
Spelling and grammar points
3
3
Conduct points
3
3

With 3 votes and 13 points ahead, the winner is ...

TheAtheist
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Politics
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One day
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Open voting
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Two weeks
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Four points
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8,000
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3
Contender / Con
21
1378
rating
36
debates
38.89%
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Description
~ 580 / 5,000

Let's talk reparations. It's plain and simple, American needs to cut the check to the descendants of slavery to write the wrongs of the past. Even though today's reparations hearing was bogus, it has shined new light on the topic at hand. America has paid reparations to every other group that it has had conflict with, but for some reason, this country does not want to repair the people who built this country. If you don't agree, then you are simply racist. Anyone is welcome to take this challenge, but you must bring facts and a logical argument or I won't take you serious.

Round 1
Pro
My point on this topic is self-explanatory. America has to pay the descendant of slavery, and anyone who's trying to logically deny it is an illogical thinker as well as a hypocrite. I really don't want to hear anything about the Irish because the Irish were never slaves. Reparations means to repair something. Let's break things down a bit to what really happened.

America wasn't even America when slaves were doing the work to build this nation. This land was basically a wilderness with its aboriginal people. White people don't have a leg to really stand on in this subject because they are the perpetrators. Reparations go much further than slavery. There was nearly 100 years of racist Jim Crow laws as well as the Black Codes. These are systems that were put in place to hinder progress. 

As I always say..."It's Documented." Trying to argue documented facts is absolutely ridiculous. I'm basically laying the ground work of what the debate is about. 

If you mention the Civil War then I'll basically tell you that Black people fought on both sides of the Civil War as well as every other war that this country has started. I don't even have to justify why black people deserve their reparations because trying to argue against the topic itself is unjustifiable.

The ball is now in your court.
Con
Alright. Hopefully this will be a civil and productive debate.

==

What We Agree On

Before we start debating, it's always a good idea to find common ground with your opponent. I agree with my opponent that the Irish in America were never slaves. I agree with my opponent that slaves (not all were African-American, though) helped to build the USA. I agree with my opponent that there existed systems which were created specifically to discriminate against African-Americans, such as the Jim Crow laws. These are all facts and I'm not going to argue against them. I will, however, argue with my opponent's conclusion from those facts: that America needs to pay reparations to the descendants of slavery.

===============

=Main Argument=

I am going to discuss the following three topics:

  • Efficiency - Are reparations efficient?
  • Consistency - Are reparations logically consistent?
  • Morality - Are reparations moral?
I will try to prove that reparations are inefficient, inconsistent, and immoral. My opponent should try and prove the opposite.

==

Efficiency

It will simply be impossible to determine who gets the money and who has to pay up. Some whites and blacks immigrated to the United States after the Civil War, which means that they were never part of slavery. A lot of whites never owned slaves and never had anything to do with slavery. Some slaveowners were black [1]. To determine who are descendants of slaves and who are descendants of slaveowners, the United States government would have to spend millions and millions of dollars on research.

It will be hard to determine how much money each person gets. What if my ancestors were both slaves and slaveowners? Or what if only a few of my ancestors were slaves? Do I get the same amount of money as other descendants of slaves or do I get less? What if all my ancestors were slaveowners? Do I pay more money than the guy who only had one slaveowner in his family? It will be hard and expensive to determine who gets more money and who gets less, who was more affected by slavery and who contributed to slavery more.

It will be incredibly expensive. 
This Black Agenda Report article, for example, estimates the amount needed to pay out slave reparations to be $59.2 trillion [2]. The entire United States annual GDP is only $19 trillion [3]. The entire United States annual 2019 budget is only $4.7 trillion [4]. Where the hell are we going to get those 60 trillion dollars from?

==

Consistency

The United States of America wasn't the only country responsible for black slavery. African warlords used their soldiers to capture other Africans and sell them into slavery. European slave traders bought slaves from the African warlords and shipped them to the Americas [5]. For your premise to be consistent, dozens of other countries would also have to pay reparations. Can you imagine how astronomically expensive reparations on that scale would be? Global reparations would require hundreds of trillions of dollars; this amount of money doesn't even exist in the global economy [6]!

Furthermore, why stop at only the Atlantic slave trade? What about the slavery of white Europeans [7]? Should we force the Arab countries to pay reparations as well? What about modern slavery in Asia and Africa [8], should we force Asian and African countries to pay reparations to its own citizens? If we go back in history long enough, every one of us is a descendant of slaves. We simply can't pay money to every single person on Earth.

==

Morality

Forcing the US government to pay reparations to descendants of slavery is immoral. People don't deserve money just because their ancestors suffered. People shouldn't pay money just because their ancestors did bad things. Not a single person alive in the United States today was slave owner. Not a single person alive in the United States today was a slave. Punishing and rewarding people for the actions of their ancestors is illogical and immoral.

==

Conclusion

My opponent's proposal is inefficient, logically inconsistent, and immoral. Reparations would be incredibly expensive, it would be impossible to determine who pays money and who gets it, and we shouldn't punish or reward people based on the actions of their ancestors. That's why America paying reparations to the descendants of slavery is a bad idea. Over to Pro.


=============

=Sources=










Round 2
Pro
Thanks for accepting.
Your argument is well-structured in how you've separated & highlighted certain topics and arguments. I'll try to make my argument somewhat as neat without having to write huge paragraphs. I'm going to try to cover as much as I can.

My opponent stated that "It will simply be impossible to determine who gets the money and who has to pay up." Hopefully, We should know by now that when someone "decides" to relocate to a new country/region of the globe, then that person/people takes on & accepts the burdens of the country/region in question. With that being said, everyone came to America for opportunity, and that opportunity was created by slaves. In other words, the economy was built from slavery because none of the founders wanted or couldn't do the work.

You go on to say that "A lot of whites never owned slaves and never had anything to do with slavery." What my opponent doesn't seem to understand is that you're benefiting from slavery today. If you don't have a problem with inheriting the benefits of your forefathers, then you shouldn't have a problem with inheriting the crimes of your forefathers. It's called Generational Wealth which is passed down with each generation....Black people weren't able to receive generational wealth because whites locked blacks out of the work industries & they've been doing ever since slavery.

It's fairly easy to see who's a descendant of slavery. Since mass immigration started after the Civil Rights era, foreign-born black people do not qualify because their ancestors weren't enslaved in the US. This government/congress has records full of timelines & research. If not, then what's the purpose of having a field that's known as bookkeeping/accounting? 

My opponent goes on to say "It will be hard to determine how much money each person gets." Nope, it wouldn't be hard to determine numerical figures, which is why Congress always put together a team of Economists & Historians. Their jobs are to put things into context when dealing with finances, wages & inflation.

Yes, it would be incredibly expensive, but it's not like there would be a one-time gigantic payment. You said that "the US annual budget for 2019 is $4.7 trillion. Now did you know that congress just passed a multibillion-dollar bill a few days ago? Yes, congress passed a $3 billion bill for farmers who lost their crops over this year's floods, fires & drought. Do you see the hypocrisy in that? I guess there shouldn't be any research.

By using your logic, these farmers shouldn't get a dime because myself, you or anyone else didn't have anything to do with causing floods, fires and drought..

Your entire argument on consistency is 100% inconsistent. You're now playing the blame game. Every race has in-fighting but I'm pretty sure there weren't any "African-war lords" running around before slavery. War lords before slavery? Please tell me that's a joke...

To put this "joke" to bed; If there weren't any buyers, then there wouldn't be any sellers.

You keep talking about expenses. If America & any other nations can magically come up with billions/trillions of dollars to fight in wars, then it is what it is. You said that "everyone is a descendant of slaves." I'm going to let you sink your own ship with that comment...Now you're talking about slavery in other countries, which has absolutely nothing to do with America. You asked, "What about the slavery of white Europeans & Arabs? Irrelevant...

In conclusion,.. As you can see, my opponent's argument fell apart fairly quickly. By the end of his argument, he started to make excuses. I've broken down his argument with rock-solid facts....

He stuck a nail in his own coffin by saying that it's immoral for the government to pay reparations for slavery when it was the government who instituted slavery. My opponent also said that "people don't deserve money just because their ancestors suffered." So...why did Native Americans get reparations? Why does America pay Israel Billions in Reparations every single year? Why do you (not) have a problem with your tax dollars going to that? Yes, my friend, you are paying reparations as we speak & you didn't even know it.



Con
=Rebuttals=

"We should know by now that when someone "decides" to relocate to a new country/region of the globe, then that person/people takes on & accepts the burdens of the country/region in question. With that being said, everyone came to America for opportunity, and that opportunity was created by slaves. In other words, the economy was built from slavery because none of the founders wanted or couldn't do the work."
This still doesn't answer my question: how do we determine who pays and who gets payed? Is my opponent trying to say that since whites founded the United States, it should be whites that pay for the reparations? We shouldn't force white people to pay now just because white people in the past did bad things. That's racist and immoral. 

"What my opponent doesn't seem to understand is that you're benefiting from slavery today. If you don't have a problem with inheriting the benefits of your forefathers, then you shouldn't have a problem with inheriting the crimes of your forefathers."
The claim that I am benefiting from slavery today is a bare assertion and needs to be backed up by some evidence. My forefathers did nothing wrong, they immigrated to the United States after the Civil War. They didn't earn a single dime from slavery. 

"Now did you know that congress just passed a multibillion-dollar bill a few days ago? Yes, congress passed a $3 billion bill for farmers who lost their crops over this year's floods, fires & drought."
$3 billion is nothing compared to $60 trillion. One number is twenty thousand times smaller than the other. My opponent can't compare those numbers and then call me a hypocrite. Just because I'm for spending $3 billion doesn't mean I'm for spending $60 trillion.

"By using your logic, these farmers shouldn't get a dime because myself, you or anyone else didn't have anything to do with causing floods, fires and drought.."
No, they should get the money, because farmers going bankrupt is bad for the economy and for us all. My opponent has yet to prove how reparations will help anyone except those who are receiving them.

"Every race has in-fighting but I'm pretty sure there weren't any "African-war lords" running around before slavery. War lords before slavery? Please tell me that's a joke..."
It's a historical fact that African warlords were involved in the Atlantic slave trade. My opponent cannot just dismiss a historical fact by calling it a joke. Just because those warlords didn't sell slaves before the slave trade began, doesn't mean that they never existed. My opponent should read the sources in my Main Argument.

"America & any other nations can magically come up with billions/trillions of dollars to fight in wars"
This is a bare assertion and is untrue. Money does not magically appear, it comes from taxpayers like my opponent and me.

"So...why did Native Americans get reparations? Why does America pay Israel Billions in Reparations every single year? Why do you (not) have a problem with your tax dollars going to that? Yes, my friend, you are paying reparations as we speak & you didn't even know it."
Erm... this does not disprove my argument in any way. I never said that I agree with either reparations to Native Americans or Israel. I never said that I don't have a problem with my tax dollars going to that. My opponent cannot accuse me of things I never said and then call me a hypocrite based on those things.

==

My opponent says that my argument about logical inconsistency is irrelevant. It's not irrelevant at all. If we apply my opponent's logic to America, we must also apply it to every single country in the world, so we remain logically consistent. If America has to pay for slavery, then so should all the other countries involved in the Atlantic slave trade. But that would wreck the global economy. You are either for no reparations at all or for worldwide reparations, you can't just support reparations by one country only.






Round 3
Pro
My opponent said that I didn't answer his question on who pays and who gets paid...I've already stated that any (foreign-born blacks) would not qualify for reparations because their ancestors weren't enslaved in the US. I can't speak on the process of paying, but that's why Economists & Historians are brought in to break things down. The government would have to pay because the government pays reparations to other racial groups every single year & doesn't have any problems in doing so.

You said that it's a "bare assertion" that you are benefiting from slavery." Really?...OK, so if America never used slavery to build an economy, then your forefathers wouldn't have never moved here because there wouldn't have been a reason to come here. What ever field that you're working in today wouldn't be possible if there never was an economic foundation...Am I correct? 

As I've said earlier, I can't give you a numerical breakdown of payments because I personally don't know how that stuff works, which is why Economists are brought in.
The reason I brought up the $3-billion-dollar bill that was passed is to prove to you how the government can easily come up with capital when it wants to. So, the question is, "where is the $3 billion coming from?" If a percentage of the money is coming from taxes, then why would I have to be charged for something that I didn't cause?"

I'll let you put that into context because you've previously said that (you shouldn't have to pay for something that you didn't do). Now, do you see the hypocrisy in that?

Here's your next blunder in which you stated that "No, they should get the money, because farmers going bankrupt is bad for the economy and for us all. My opponent has yet to prove how reparations will help anyone except those who are receiving them."

My response is "would farming even be possible today if the foundation wasn't already laid via slavery?" That statement alone destroys your entire argument. If bankruptcy is bad for the economy, then explain to me who or what built the economy? As you can see, you've just destroyed your own argument yet again...In other words, the economy of today didn't manifest out of thin air. 

My opponent goes on to say, "This is a bare assertion and is untrue. Money does not magically appear, it comes from taxpayers like my opponent and me."...OK, so why do you keep asking me where would the money come from? Isn't that a contradiction if you already knew where the money was coming from?

My opponent also said, " I never said that I agree with either reparations to Native Americans or Israel. I never said that I don't have a problem with my tax dollars going to that"...Of course, you didn't say that because you never even knew that your tax dollars were already being used for reparations...For argument's sake, if you already knew this, then you certainly aren't objecting it in any way....On the other hand, if you honestly knew about it, then why haven't you introduced it into your argument? 

In conclusion, my opponent's arguments are getting shutdown with facts. Since America has to pay reparations, he is now trying to hold other countries accountable for their crimes. What damages his case even more is that other countries Are Being Asked To pay Reparations, which proves he doesn't know what he's talking about. If you don't believe me, then research the CARICOM 10-Point Reparations Plan.       caricomreparations.org/
Con
=Rebuttals=

"My response is "would farming even be possible today if the foundation wasn't already laid via slavery?" That statement alone destroys your entire argument. If bankruptcy is bad for the economy, then explain to me who or what built the economy?"
How does this destroy my argument? I'll summarize my opponent's point in this syllogism:

P1: Bankruptcy is bad for the economy
P2. Slaves built the economy
C: Slaves should get reparations

This is a non sequitur, meaning the conclusion does not logically follow from the two premises. Just because bankruptcy is bad for the economy doesn't mean that descendants of slaves should get payed $60 trillion dollars.

"My opponent goes on to say, "This is a bare assertion and is untrue. Money does not magically appear, it comes from taxpayers like my opponent and me."...OK, so why do you keep asking me where would the money come from? Isn't that a contradiction if you already knew where the money was coming from?"
I keep asking my opponent where the money will come from because it's an astronomical amount of money. The taxpayers don't have $60 trillion. Like I said, the money needed is more than three times the annual GDP of the United States. The problem isn't who's going to pay, but with what they are going to pay. We simply don't have enough money for your proposal.

"My opponent also said, " I never said that I agree with either reparations to Native Americans or Israel. I never said that I don't have a problem with my tax dollars going to that"...Of course, you didn't say that because you never even knew that your tax dollars were already being used for reparations..."
I never said that I agree with those reparations because I don't agree with them. Why on Earth would I say that I agree with something which I don't agree with?

"On the other hand, if you honestly knew about it, then why haven't you introduced it into your argument?"
I haven't introduced this topic because it's irrelevant and has nothing to do with slavery in the United States or the Atlantic Slave Trade.

"Since America has to pay reparations, he is now trying to hold other countries accountable for their crimes. What damages his case even more is that other countries Are Being Asked To pay Reparations, which proves he doesn't know what he's talking about."
How does this destroy my argument? I'll summarize my opponent' point in this syllogism:

P1: TheAtheist disagrees with the USA paying reparations
P2: Other countries are being asked to pay reparations
C: The USA should pay reparations

Another non sequitur with no logic in it whatsoever. Just because other countries are being asked to pay doesn't mean the US should actually pay.

==

Conclusion

I have one question for my opponent.

Aren't the descendants of slaves also benefiting from what slaves built? 

If they are benefiting too, then why do they deserve reparations? And if they're not benefiting, please explain how that happened.




Round 4
Pro
To end this debate, I'll finish with a few more of my opponents nonsensical arguments.

Dude, you brought up bankruptcy not me. I basically stated that farmers were getting $3 billion because weather conditions destroyed the crops. I'm basically showing you just how easy the government can come up with billions in capital. That's really all I meant. On the other hand, you & I both know that if black Americans received reparations that it wouldn't be anywhere close to $60 trillion. I think we both can agree that this amount is outrageous.

You finally mentioned that you don't agree with Native America/Israel reparations. OK, that fine but there certainly isn't any pushback against those groups who are receiving reparations. That's really what I was eluding to because there seems to be so much pushback against black American receiving reparations. 

I personally don't have a problem with Natives receiving it, but I have no idea why America is paying billions to Israel every year. It makes absolutely no sense especially when America had nothing to do with what Hitler did. 

Since this is about American slavery, you shouldn't necessarily have to bring other countries into the conservation. You asked me something similar to, "why don't other countries have to pay reparations."...I said that you destroyed your own case by saying that because other countries actually are fighting for reparations. So, basically, if you already this, then you wouldn't have ever asked the question. 

My opponent asked "Aren't the descendants of slaves also benefiting from what slaves built?"



That's a good question in which I can honesty say yes and no if that's possible. The reason being for this answer is that reparations aren't just for slavery. It also includes the systemic racism that followed such as the Jim Crow Era, the Black Codes, redlining etc. These system were purposely put in place by the government & it's well-documented so trying to argue it is quite foolish. 

White people received thousands of acres of land through the Headright System & Homestead Act..... for Free. Blacks didn't get anything. Whites were able to take advantage of the G.I. Bill while blacks were prohibited. Whites created work unions just to keep blacks out of the job fields. When black created their own successful communities like Black Wall Street & the Rosewood Community, whites burned them down. I'm not going to get into everything that happened, but look at what happened with the 40-Acres & A Mule that blacks were suppose to receive and look at how the government paid slave owners reparations after the war.

Unpaid labor & terrorism is an unpaid debt that's owed. Nobody seems to have a problem with other races getting reparations so it shouldn't be a problem if black people got what's due. You are who you are & I'm not here trying to change anybody's mind.        Thanks for the debate.

Con
This was a really good debate, thank you to my opponent. I would like to finish off with my final argument and then my conclusion.

==============

=Final Argument=

Even if we choose a smaller number instead of $60 trillion, it's still a huge sum of money. The smallest estimate of how much reparations would cost is around $6 trillion [1], which is still more than a billion dollars higher than the United States annual budget for 2019. Three billion dollars of farming subsidies and six trillion dollars of reparations are two very different numbers.

I brought up other countries into this argument because the United States wasn't the only country responsible for slavery. Europeans founded the US and brought slaves to the Americas, African warlords kidnapped and sold blacks to the Europeans, etc. The United States isn't the only country to blame. To remain logically consistent, my opponent should support reparations from all the countries involved in the Atlantic slave trade. There are many instances of slavery and murder throughout history, and every single country is guilty of something. Blaming the US alone is hypocritical.

Currently, there is not a single law or government policy in the United States which discriminates against African-Americans. There is not a single person alive today who was a slave, and not a single person alive today who was a slaveowner. We should not punish or reward people based on the actions of their ancestors. Both blacks and whites are individuals, not homogeneous groups. Slavery certainly happened, and it was a horrible thing. However, forcing people who were never involved in it to pay people who were never affected by it is not the answer.