After my last blog post, another question has been raised about African American descendants of Slaves asserting ourselves as an ethnic group that excludes all other blacks. For the stake of reparations only, who is considered a descendant of slaves?
For this post let’s first establish a few things:
- I am talking strictly about the descendants of black AMERICAN slaves. I’m not talking about the folks from the Caribbean who also descend from slaves. They are a different ethnic group, and they don’t have any type of claim against America for slavery.
- Generally speaking, I believe reparations (in the form individual checks) are a pipe dream at this point. If reparations are to be given I believe it will be in the form of low college tuition, and low interest loans for black businesses, mortgages, and land. I don’t think we are getting anything for “free.”
- I know that race and ethnicity are not the same thing. You can be biracial and have African American lineage. Some biracials considered themselves simply as black and some call themselves African American.
- I don’t believe any reparations, or any type of legislation, will move forward in this country until AADOS establish who is and who is not eligible. This brings me to my topic…
African American descendants of black American slaves are a mixed bag of people. Racially, we have biracials, octoroons, and quadroons claiming blackness and the African American ethnicity. There are black people who are half African American and half Nigerian (etc), Haitian, Jamaican, etc claiming the African American ethnicity.
Because we already know whites are going to do whatever they can to undermine any and all talk of reparations to African American descendants of black American slaves this issue of who is/who is not has to be addressed before such a claim is even entertained.
In my opinion, the only people who should have a claim for reparations are those of us who can point to a slave ancestor from which we descend on BOTH sides of our families. I know this is not going to sit right with a lot of people, but to me it’s the only damn thing that makes sense.
There is no way in hell we can just accept one side having a black American slave ancestor for which they descend while the other is some other race or ethnicity.
Because we will end up with a whole lot of people like this claiming reparations because they descend from a 8th grandmother who was a slave on one side of their family while the other was white/something else or Caribbean/African….
Every Rachel Dolezal is going to come out of the woodwork claiming a 10th grandmother was a slave and therefore she is entitled to reparations.
I don’t know about you, but even the possibility of this happening is off-putting to me.
And yes, I know if we go with my idea of a direct slave ancestor on both sides a lot of African American descendants of black American slaves are going to be left out, but I see no other way. If we don’t determine who is eligible then the federal government will do it for us.
African Americans who were adopted, and those who don’t know one side of their family, are probably going to be left out. Most biracials, octoroons, and quadroons are going to be left out (though I guess there will be some exceptions where the whites/others in their families also had black American slave ancestors). The folks with one non-AADOS black parent are going to be left out.
Thankfully, these folks are not the majority of us.
How will we know if we descend from slaves on both sides?
Many of you know genealogy is my hobby. I’ve been on the genealogy wave before it became a thing. People will tell you that you cannot trace your slave ancestors. I’m here to tell you that is bullshit. I have talked about my slave ancestors from both sides on this very blog. I had to delete those post because distant cousins I do not know were stealing my research, which I plan to put in a book.
The information about your ancestors is out there and you need to take the time to find it. In the meantime, consider how you would determine who is and who is not eligible for reparations stemming from American slavery.