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tv   United Shades of America  CNN  April 10, 2021 8:00pm-9:00pm PDT

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neighbor ♪ ♪ would you be mine ♪ ♪ could you be mine ♪ ♪ it's a neighborly day in this beauty wood ♪ ♪ a neighborly day for a beauty ♪ ♪ would you be mine ♪ ♪ could you be mine ♪ ♪ won't you be my neighbor ♪ i'm w. kamau bell and in this episode of "united shades of america" we're talking about reparations. and there's no better place to do it than new orleans. we went to new orleans in november of 2019, months before the covid-19 pandemic spread across the united states, and before the protests following the killing of george floyd at the hands of police in minneapolis. but even without those events you can clearly see how the effects of enslavement and all that followed continues with the black community of new orleans.
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in a near impossible position to succeed. and the pandemic has further exposed the racial disparities. black folks are getting the covid-19 virus at a much higher rate than white folks. if you don't see how the killing of george floyd and the protests that followed are tied to reparations, well, then you may need to go back and watch every single episode of "united shades of america." then you'll discover we are way past time for reparations. ♪ >> did you just get naked for beads? it's not even mardi gras. most people coming to new orleans, they come for this. music, party. weirdly colored drinks loaded with alcohol. but this isn't the whole story
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of new orleans. it's a big, vibrant city with a lot of stories to tell. we're not here to talk about the parties. we're talking about reparations. you might want to fix yourself a stiff drink. ♪ as the race for 2020 starts to heat up, so is the debate over reparations for slavery. >> oh, it's coming, everybody. chris knows it. >> reparations for african-americans. >> representative sheila jackson lee knows it. >> congress has the
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responsibility to do the right thing. >> and lot of people who are going to be president know it. >> the legacy of slavery is alive and well in every aspect of the economy. >> it's time to start the national, full-blown conversation about reparations. >> i agree with what elizabeth is saying. >> of course you do, bernie. okay. reparations ain't exactly coming yet, but it looks like the united states is finally ready to have the discussion about talking about reparations. reparations, meaning that the united states would pay back black folks for all the free labor it got during slavery and all the damage done to the black community every day since. and there's no better place to have this conversation than new orleans. there's no city in the country that combines the best of america's blackness, pain of american's racism, and the pain of watching white folks exercising all their rights. i've been coming to new orleans since i was a kid.
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i just vacationed with my family here. so i know the city and its history. and as much as it's been identified as a party city, you can turn a corner and feel like you walked smack dab into the antebellum south. don't believe me? just as i pull into town, new orleans was hosting a re-enactment of a slavery rebellion. at least i think it was a re-enactment. these black folks look serious. the rebellion happened in 1811. and i don't have to tell you it wasn't successful. because we all know slavery didn't end in 1811. new york artist dred scott is the one who came up with the idea. >> this is about freedom and emancipation. it is not about slavery. i don't want to dress up as a slave. i'm dressing up as a liberated person, self-liberated that's going to fight to emans paitd everybody else. >> not as a slave, i'm dressing up as a person who's fighting for liberation. >> we came here to pay homage to our ancestors. >> as far as the dressing up, was that the easy decision to
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make? >> it was emotional. but i feel like what do i have to cry about? they sacrificed so much for me, the least i can do is to pay them back. singing the songs, chanting. >> how was the walk? 26 miles, right? >> exhausting. but we made it. >> i'm like, they didn't give up, so why should i? i was just walking and all of a sudden my tear ducts started filling up. what's going on? >> got a little glory tears? ♪ >> i marched all over the city. you can see there's a lot of people here, powerful stuff. i also had a white guy who i think was hired to help. even at the rebellion reenactment, white people walk through the shot. even at the rebellion reenactment, white people walk
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right -- and look, i don't want to spend too much time in the reparations episode talking about slavery but if we're going to talk about it let's go to someone who's recently changed the conversation. this is nicole hanna jones, "new york times" racial justice reporter and creator of the 1619 project. the 1619 project is named after the year when the first 20 to 30 enslaved africans arrived at the british colony of virginia only to find out how much worse things could get. it's an unvarnished look into the legacy of american slavery told through essays, pictures, poems, and much more. >> it's the amazing thing about this country, the past matters only in the ways we want the past to hatter. and i say all the time you can't say that the declaration of independence still matters or the constitution still matters but 1619 doesn't, but slavery
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doesn't, but jim crow doesn't. we can't pick those parts of us that we think really define who we are as americans if they're good but ignore those things that also define us as americans if they're bad. i mean, that's really the whole purpose of the 1619 project, is not to tell a history, but to answer that most common question that black people get, which is slavery was a long time ago, why don't you get over it? >> that's the thing. from the moment the emancipation proclamation, 13th amendment, america was working hard to get black folks as close to slavery as possible p where we can't just do it flat out but we can put them in jail and take away their rights to vote and also still not have to pay them a living wage. >> that's right. >> yes, you can legally learn to read but we can make your schools so bad so that you're not going to learn at the same rate as white people. >> yeah. we can ensure your schools don't even have a book or a teacher. you have a right to read. just not the ability to be taught to read. so many as pex v pekts of modern american life can be traced back to slavery and anti-black
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racism. we can't be liberated from this legacy if we don't acknowledge the role that legacy plays right now. so to me reparations has to be three-pronged. recommitment to strong enforcement of civil rights laws, because you can get this economic payment but we know that black people still face discrimination in every aspect of american society, in the housing market, the job market, criminal justice. and then i think there needs to be a really large investment of resources into the black communities that have had that wealth extracted and have been denied the ability to live like other americans. and i think anyone arguing for reparations that is not arguing for cash payment is basically racist. >> i like that. flat out. i thought you were going to soft-pedal something. >> it's only when it comes to
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black folks we're so concerned how people are going to spend -- >> i don't know if they know how to spend that money responsibly. >> i say this jokingly but half jokingly. like if i wanted to spend my reparations on all gucci, that's my right. >> and we're very clear on that in this litigious society. like if you hit me with your car and i can't go to work anymore, i want my work money but i also want some hurt my feelings money and you made me feel bad -- >> you made me suffer. >> you made me suffer money. unnecessarily. >> and that may be way bigger than the actual money that is owed. we get that in everything except -- >> that's the thing. racism makes you illogical. so like all of a sudden all of these concepts of law and morality that we understand everywhere else when it comes to black folks we're like oh, hell, no. i don't get it. what would money do? why should i have to pay you -- i never owned slaves. you didn't have to. to me if the government -- if you can inherit wealth, which we all understand, then you also
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all the damage hurricane katrina has already caused and more -- >> you know the story. in 2005, hurricane katrina was responsible for almost 2,000 deaths and an estimated $161 billion in damage across the gulf coast. mostly in southeastern louisiana and coastal mississippi. >> the largest national disaster in american history. >> some of you are thinking, katrina? i thought this was about slavery reparations. well, the government's lackluster response to the black community after katrina is still
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about the need for reparations. oh, and it was definitely lackluster. no matter what president bush told the head of fema. >> brownie, you're doing a heck of a job. >> and even though the seventh ward which at the time was a black working-class neighborhood, might not be the first area you think of when you think of katrina, it has a katrina story to tell. this is actist endesha jewakali who grew up here. >> yeah. i deal with stuff like this. >> you'll forgive him if he doesn't seem all that impressed with me. he's done this before, with better company. >> the same walk with spike. >> most notably with spike lee in his film "when the levees broke." >> i like interviewing here because the new orleans you see now is not the new orleans i grew up in. if you look at this area here, prior to katrina, this whole area was a public housing development. >> that was all public housing.
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>> all of this was public housing. when the storm came, we got very little water. but they declared a national emergency. came with guns and state police and they're lining buses on that interstate as far as the eye can see. told you to get on the bus. and you didn't even know where you was going. so they put all of the poor people out. >> and many of those people found out they weren't ever going to be able to go back home because the city tore down their affordable housing and did not rebuild it. >> it ain't right to do us like that. >> what is this now? >> that's private now. >> it's not public -- >> that's private. >> some developer got it? >> yeah. >> do people live back there? >> you can live back there if you've got money. the government said they wanted new orleans to be more affluent.
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a way to do that was to get rid of poor people. >> now about 100,000 fewer black folks live in the city than in the year 2000. >> so people think katrina was a national disaster. in new orleans, katrina was a man-made disaster. it was a natural event that men turned into a disaster for black poor people. >> in his analysis the seventh ward's mass evacuation and the tearing down of the public housing in an area that barely got any water was not effort to push black people out of the neighborhood is not the official line of the local government. what? >> today we made a unified decision to move forward. every citizen has a right to return to the city. >> unified? i'm pretty sure a lot of new orleans folk wouldn't describe it as unified. because when they were ready to go home their homes were gone and the city had become too expensive for them to find new ones. unified. so in new orleans, you can see
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the legacy of slavery through neighborhoods like this and through the response to katrina. >> right. >> so the link to slavery is so clear here. >> exactly. it's a good modern example of how ruthless people with money and power can be when it comes down to making sure they stay on top and we stay on the bottom. >> what is this? >> that's my elementary school i went to. >> wow. >> yeah, you've got a lot of these spots in new orleans where you're pointing at something totally empty. what's that? oh, that's where i used to go to school. >> oh, wow. >> that used to be our elementary school. >> and now it's nothing. >> now it's nothing. >> when was it torn down? >> after katrina. >> they just felt like -- i guess after you take away all that housing -- >> there ain't no more people. >> ain't no kids to go here. >> everything in new orleans was
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anchored by public housing. so when you're going to change the scope of new orleans, first thing you've got to do is get rid of poor people. so when they tore down all the public housing, they actually made the first step toward redefining the whole essence of new orleans. >> if i was to give you the power to repair all this, to give reparations, whatever space magic you need, the reparations wand, what would you do? >> i think the debt to black folk is so high we would break america. like martin luther king said, they wrote us a check but it's nsf. >> insufficient funds. >> right. so when we talk about the concept of reparations, then we have to talk about how we're going to go after reparations. >> yeah. >> it's got to be more than us asking the congress or us trying to go through the courts. you've got to build a people's
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movement that's so powerful you shake the roots of america. people say they want you to be peaceful and nonviolent. i might be nonviolent but i ain't going to goddamn be peaceful. you can forget about that. peace is a weapon of those in power. we've got to take everything we want. so i'm going to stop here because i'm through. i know it's got to be an hour by now, right? >> you said enough. >> y'all enjoy y'all self. y'all good? >> are we good? okay. legit unlimited data, powered by verizon for as little as $25 a month. but when you bring a friend every month, you get every month for $5. so i'm bringing everyone within 12 degrees of me. bam, 12 months of $5 wireless. visible. as little as $25 a month. or $5 a month when you bring a friend. powered by verizon. wireless that gets better with friends.
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every black neighborhood had
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or has a store like this. community book center, a gathering space, a hub for activism and a place to talk shit. >> that son of a bitch is crazy. >> there's a lot of angst. there's a lot of anger. there's a lot of hurt. not just financial but, you know, a lot of folks, especially elders, you know, that passed after the storm. people say, well, they died from heartbreak. i really believe it was exacerbated by the situation. >> the lack of response. >> we're adjusting to the new orleans. >> i see you over there listening. ear hustling. >> i am. this is my spot. >> this is your spot. if you want to step on into this. >> all that's been said is affecting not just the physical body but the spiritual body. that's why coming here matters. we have some of the most amazing conversations here. mama jennifer is like my other side. >> okay. hi. kamau. how are you doing? oh, thank you. thank you very much. thank you.
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if anyone wants to join us at the table, this is -- you know. what is your role here? >> you know what? i haven't the foggiest idea. what my role is, chris? >> keep that shit together. >> i keep that shit together. >> this is a classic black book store conversation. fast moving. dropping knowledge or pretense. whether you can keep up or not, believe me, it is all about reparations. that's pretty much what every conversation in a store like this is. >> this is a port city. this is a slave state. >> yes. i've heard it said. it is a slave state. not it was a slave state. >> it is. >> let me be very clear present tense. >> look at the gentrification. when people move into communities they change the tax base. so people can't participate new taxes, so they have to leave their community that they've been a part of for generations. >> and then people that i was so used to seeing in the streets, i might see them at the grocery
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store, where you been? and they say i couldn't afford my house anymore. >> some neighborhoods in new orleans are currently seeing up to 300% increase his in property value. many long time residents can't afford the taxes that come with this increase so they're forced to sell and move. just another way that lower income people get pushed out of neighborhoods they've lived in for generations. damn. so here's my question. if i give you the magic reparations wand and you can wave it and make it all happen, what do you do? >> build my community more. i would love to have more mom and pop. >> the thing about reparations like a future thing. it's like you want reparations to repair the black communities to where they were. every black neighborhood had its own downtown section with black-owned businesses that served the community. >> could i chime in? >> of course you can, brother. >> this is the conversation version of a new orleans jazz jam session. people come and go, the songs change but the music, aka the conversation keeps going.
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>> when black folk had communities and they were thriving, policies and programs were implemented so that was destroyed. so a component of it has got to include policies and procedures and equitable or fair treatment. and in order to get to that everybody's got to sit at the table. black, white, yellow, brown, woman, man -- >> i see a chair being pulled out. is that -- >> yes. somebody coming? >> when you put that big table together of everybody there, you're like black people, white people, i was like do we have to put the orange guy at the table? could we leave -- >> for me he has to be there. >> you know, that's why we have the space. so we can discuss that. >> yes. >> is there things you feel you haven't heard or you feel like specifically you want? >> i would invest toward eliminating the current school system that has 100% charter schools. >> all the public schools are charter schools?
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>> every last one of them. and that's by design. >> louisiana's recovery school district, r.s.d., was created after hurricane katrina and tasked with improving standards at schools across the state. their solution, close down every traditional public school and replace them with public charter schools. today, 100% of the new orleans public school students go to charter schools and they're often a long commute away from home. what in the name of john oliver is happening? >> and the other weakness of not having neighborhood schools, children get up at 5:30, 6:00 in the morning, to be at the bus stop at 6:30 to get to a school that starts at 8:00. if the bus doesn't pick them up, that means that the parent has to find a way to get that child to school. the child doesn't have a way to go to school, then the child then begins this other decline -- >> truancy. >> -- because they've been displaced out of the education process. >> as a child, i walked to school.
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i passed all the neighborhood businesses. the corner grocery stores, the barber shop, the pharmacy, all of these places were owned and operated by people that looked like me. so my role models for entrepreneurship was rooted right there in my own community. >> you take that away, you're dividing community. >> and children don't have a sense of place in community anymore. >> believe me, if those black folks ran this country, we would all be in a better place. move the white house to a community black center. mama jennifer, 2020. ♪ i shouldn't have to tell you who this is. branford mar sal sis is a grammy award-winning jazz musician. his family is new orleans royalty. no matter how successful they get, they always come back to new orleans.
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so when katrina hit, he and other new orleans musicians didn't wait for the government. they saw the ninth ward under 12 feet of water and got to work. >> harry connick and i together with habitat for humanity decided we were going to use this particular neighborhood to build a lot of homes. >> it's going to be about 70 houses, about ten elder-friendly duplex apartments. >> we use it as an opportunity to get homes for musicians because it's hard to get a house when you are living in the gig economy. >> by gig economy, he means the old school gig economy. musicians playing gigs. the heart of musicians village is the ellis marsalis center for music. >> i'm proud of the fact the school serves the community. >> yeah. everybody. >> everybody. >> what's that? gel is blind. there's one kid in there with down syndrome. and i have an autistic brother so it is great that there is a place they can go. >> a place for the community.
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>> yeah. >> that's beautiful. >> and we're not trying to train musicians here. we're trying to use the discipline of music to help these kids get a grasp on understanding general concepts to succeed in whatever it is they want to do. >> branford also has a diy approach to reparations. >> i believe you have onerous laws. we can spend our time protesting the law or we can work to nullify the law. all of these states are fearful of minority votes now. shutting down polling stations and creating all these onerous situations. >> this goes back to what me and nikole were talking about. when black folks were enslaved, we weren't allowed to vote. as soon as we weren't enslaved, the united states worked to stop us from voting. from literacy tests to poll taxes to gutting the voting rights act in 2013 and more. >> they realized in north
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carolina where i live the majority of black citizens vote after church on sundays. so they made, first it was, well, early voting except on sundays. they're trying to win, man. they're scared to death. >> you said you believe in action. sort of instead of spending time talking about maybe thinking about this reparations thing just get out and do something. >> yeah. i believe in that. ♪ [ applause ] >> bravo! encore! >> encore. >> what else did we clear? to make mouthwatering masterpieces. order our new flatbread pizzas for dinner tonight with delivery or pick-up. only at panera. sleek curly we all want to fight frizz garnier fructis anti-frizz serum argan oil plus kera-system up to 72 hours frizz control 97% humidity protection fructis anti frizz serum by garnier, naturally!
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i couldn't think about talking about the current discussion of reparations without talking about the group american descendants of slavery, or a.d.o.s. much of the talk of reparations i've seen online has come from their hashtag. founded by attorney antonio moore and political commentator yvette carnell. a.d.o.s. isn't trying to have a kumbaya discussion. as jeavette lets people know in her weekly show "breaking brown." >> an individual experience of racism in this country is not the same. i don't want to see another black face in the white house. especially if you're not advocating for me. democrats are opening the borders. they're killing us anyway. and you want my vote? oh, honey, no.
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>> i haven't been this nervous for an interview since -- well, there's been a lot. when we first started putting this show together, your name came up. i was like i'd like to get her in this. i think it's important. when we talk about reparations, not all black people think the same on reparations. >> one of the things i say is we're not on the same page in terms of what we think about reparations. i think you have to first of all decide who's in and who's out. you have to decide, who is included when you do reparations. that is the people who bear the cost. those are descendants of american chattel slaves. slavery in this country. so there has to be some economic redistribution to american descendants of slavery. and that's one of the things that's kind of gotten me in trouble. people are like oh, you're excluding other black people. no, you have to decide. >> if you're somebody whose family emigrated from the caribbean in 1900, you've been here for 119 years, 120 years. on some level, you've experienced america's policies against american descendants of slaves even if your family did
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not participate. i always feel like you know, your race is often determined by what the police think you are when they pull you over. >> i think it's because it's not just about like experiencing racism. it's about who built the country and who has been kind of bottom cast. there wouldn't be an america without slaves and we are the descendants of those slaves. that's why we have a black agenda. our black agenda includes everyone. it's just reparations that's just american descendants of slavery. >> a.d.o.s.'s approach to reparations has drawn a lot of criticism. they have been called out for online harassment by many people including msnbc's joy reid and members of their group have been accused of doxing, publicly disclosing personal information of people they disagree with. >> a.d.o.s. in the world is a very confrontational -- you know, we invited people on the show who were like if yvette's there i can't be there. you know what i mean? and i'm like, wait, should i be there? you know what i mean? there's a sense of like if people aren't down with a.d.o.s. -- especially black people a lot of times. then a.d.o.s. might come tore
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you. >> why not be down with us? >> i'm laughing because it sounds like an offer you can't refuse. >> it's not like we're some radical group. it's not just reparations. the black agenda as well. so why wouldn't you be down with us? >> a.d.o.s. has also been accused of being anti-immigrant. >> oh. >> i get it. i knew i was going to bring up something you'd heard before. >> we've seen immigration studies, right? and they say immigration don't impact american employees. and then a lot of times you'll see one asterisk. and it'll say, except for those people who don't have degrees. and then it will say a lot of those people are black men. unskilled. well, they'll concede like it does impact black men. the only thing that we have said is that we have to get serious about what this country should look like in terms of immigration levels, how those impact other communities. which is our community. black men is our community. we have said that you have to have a serious conversation about that. you can't just say i want open
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borders and everybody gets to come. countries have borders. it's just what it is. and you have to have an adult conversation about what. >> what is a.d.o.s.'s plan or outlook for reparation? how does it look? what is the strategy? >> well, first we have to rewrite hr-40 and we have to hook it with money. we have to have a dollar amount attached to that. >> starting in 1989 congressman john conyers jr. would repeatedly introduce hr-40, legislation seeking to establish a commission to study reparations. after he left congress, representative sheila jackson lee took over the task of saying can we talk about reparations? so far the answer from america has been ha, ha, ha, no. yvette's not buying it. >> you can come up with a bill for everything else. nobody has any problem talking about how many trillions are going to be for medicare for all. so you have to come to we with the same kind of plan you come to every other group with. you have to come to me with a budget. and i think this election year is a good way for us to hold candidates accountable. >> a lot of the critique of
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a.d.o.s. has been a.d.o.s. is telling black people not to vote and if black people don't vote then we end up with four more years of trump. >> if everybody has to live with it another four years because we don't come out in droves and support a candidate who isn't going to do anything specifically for us, that's not our fault. trump is not my reparations. we haven't encouraged anybody to stay at home but we have encouraged democratic down ballot. >> which means just vote the down ballot. >> you vote the down ballot. you vote for democrats but the top of the ticket gets no love. unless you come to us and say we have a reparations plan, which includes financial outlays of money. we have a budget attached to this. that's what we're pushing for. >> mm-hmm. so abe and art can grow more plants. so they can hire vilma... and wendy... and me. so, more people can go to work. so, more days can start with kisses. when you buy this plant at walmart.
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i know some of you are sitting at home going, why would we do reparations, the united states has never paid -- slow down. yes, we have. after world war ii congress came up with the indian claims commission. its goal was to pay compensation to federally recognized tribes whose land had been taken by the u.s. government. according to the "new york times," the government paid out about $1.3 billion, that came to less than $1,000 for each indigenous person. not good. in 2015 the city of chicago gave $5.5 million in what it called reparations to 57 people. most of them black. who had been victims of torture by the chicago police department. in 1990 japanese americans who the united states interned in camps during world war ii for no good reason were awarded $20,000 each in reparations. more than 80,000 people claimed them for a total of $1.6
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billion. so my awkward question is, if formerly interned japanese-americans got over a billion dollars for four years of imprisonment, then how much should black folks get from 1619 up until right now? you know, this episode is about reparations and the u.s.'s debt to african-americans. i need somebody who can speak to hard cold facts. can also talk about systemic oppression. maybe even come up with a culture that has dealt with that. so i said we need a german. >> we have our baggage. >> reporter: thomas kramer is a professor of public policy at the university of connecticut, where he investigates the psychology of race. >> i was always interested in things about race relations and racial attitudes, merely because of growing up in germany and learning about the holocaust in every school subject. >> what kind of payments were holocaust survivors given? >> the reparations deal between west germany and israel had
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multiple components. some were payments to the state of israel for rehousing refugees after the war. and it was also helping the israeli economy to get restarted. germany would pass reparations to individual survivors of the holocaust. it was a symbol that germany meant what it was saying. that it was trying to change its ways. even though only symbolically because no pension can ever make up for your entire family being wiped out and your own suffering. >> so with all that knowledge the professor has a pretty different view of america's history than most white americans. >> when i first came to the united states, i immediately felt responsible for slavery as well as a white american for the simple reason that slave labor laid the groundwork for the great american economic success, and i benefit from that success. >> okay. you've heard a lot of talk so far. but ultimately, reparations is
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about a number. how much money does the united states of america owe black folks? sit down. it's a big number. >> using the closest i could find to an estimate, what a slave would have charged at the time for one hour of work, that's like 11 cents an hour. some crazy -- talk about minimum wages. >> he then figured out how many hours all enslaved africans, men, women, and yes, children, worked in the united states until 1865, when slavery was officially abolished. he multiplied the amount of time they worked by average wage prices of 11 cents an hour. damn. and then a compounding interest rate of 3% per year to make up for inflation. >> and you get a whopping number. $19 trillion. roughly the size of one year's worth of the u.s. gdp. a huge number. >> it's a huge number. >> and very conservative. >> yeah, it's a big number. but remember, that just gets us
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to the end of slavery. reparations is also about all the awful things the u.s. did to black folks after slavery. while this is a huge-sounding number, it is the type of huge number the united states deals in. it ain't impossible. and the united states has actually already given reparations for slavery. yep. >> when slavery was abolished, america paid reparations to slave owners in washington, d.c., like $300 per slave. i'm sure that was a substantial amount of money at the time. and it just boggles the mind that was actually done. we actually paid up. >> our slavery reparations went to the owners. oh, my god. >> hold on while i scream into a pillow. ♪ >> the fire department has been
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in 1838, 272 enslaved africans were sold by the jesuits, who were supposed to be the good catholics, from plantations in maryland to four louisiana plantations, in order to save george town university from financial ruin. today, i am visiting karen harper royal. she is a tdescendent of the 272 africans sold to georgetown. she regularly hosts gatherings for other descendants to host the connection between extended family. >> should have brought something. hi. hi. kamal. nice to meet you. i'm not even in, yet.
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okay. all right. >> our cousin dotey arnold. and the man of the house. and our cousin, peaches. >> okay, okay, all right. >> we got two more cousins over h here. they're deep in conversation. >> i don't want to interrupt. >> no, no, they are probably trying to figure out how they're related. >> we gonna put some grits in the thing. i hope you're hungry. >> i am. i am. southern cheese grits, i am in heaven. and it's heart healthy, right? >> saturdays don't count. >> thank you, guys, for coming. y'all, want to say a little grace? >> father, god, we come to you with heads bowed and hearts humbled. thanking you, lord, for this assembly. thank you for this fellowship, lord, for karen, who has allowed us to come together. in jesus, amen. >> amen. >> karen, this looks like you
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put your foot in it. >> i put both feet in it. yeah. who doesn't -- do you keep up with him? >> well, yeah, because we have been best friends since, like, '71. >> but, yeah, i just love francis. >> so you two haven't met until today? >> no, it's our first time. >> so, nobody here knows each other? >> no. we all know karen. if that helps. she's the common denominator. >> well, i know karen because i met her about ten minutes ago. so we all in the stamame spot. >> i believe, that probably everybody in the room here has some kind of connection. >> i mean, these family trees are pretty nknotty. >> they are tangled roots because thedescendants of those ancestors deep in louisiana cheryl is from maryland. wasn't it you, who said you saw
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this group of people you were related to in louisiana. you didn't know how or why? >> exactly. what i had my dna done, i had the dots in d.c., maryland, virginia, being like a fifth-generation washingtonian. i got that. i understood that. but then, there were dots here, in louisiana. and i was like, well, how did they get down there? and then, when they made the connection to georgetown university and how all that took place. because i had gone to georgetown university. and had i known, sitting in those classrooms, the connection and that the doors were still open because my relatives had been sold. and it was just surreal. i'm going to always feel some kind of way about that. >> reporter: in 2019, an effort led by students at georgetown university resulted in the school committing to raising $400,000, annually, for the
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descendants of the 272. the descendants, led by karen, wanted to be included in the conversation about how this money should be used. >> i thought we got to do something. we created what we call the descendants' declaration. we go there for their announcement. they do their really beautiful presentation. >> we must acknowledge that georgetown university participated in the institution of slavery. >> and then, they pass around the mic for q and a. >> they shouldn't have done that. >> so, instead of just sit there and ask them the question. we all stood up. and went to the front of the auditorium. and then, i read the declaration. >> from the legacy of slavery. >> people thought we were part of the program but we just kind of made ourselves a part of the program because that's our house. >> yeah. >> you know? that's our house. and -- >> that's the history of black folks in this country. we got to make ourselves part of
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the program. but again, even this group, which is bonded by a lot, has different ideas of what reparations should be. >> historian. >> am i -- am i on instagram live right now? >> i don't do any social media, at all. >> any thoughts? you want me to take you while -- >> she'll give it to you, too. >> absolutely. >> it's funny. that is too funny. >> i think that, a lot of time, money, interest, and support, needs to be put into the medical arena for black people. so, we can have more doctors to go to moving forward and thank you. >> the prison system is just modern-day slavery. >> uh-huh. >> like, we seriously have to address that. like, the whole system has to be re-evaluated and redesigned for
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equity. >> i don't think we will ever be able to move forward, until we can educate people why this is their responsibility, even though it happened way before they existed. we will never be a successful country, really successful, until we, both, can look at the problem. and see that there's some damage that has been -- maybe, we can never repair. but at least, we have to try. >> so, what should reparations look like? the answer is, yes, all of it. better schools, better housing, better protections under the law. gucci bags. actually, granting us the same rights and privileges as your average-white tourist on bourbon street. so, you, out there, right now, if you are afraid of the conversation, don't be scared.
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jut sit down. it's time to have it. we have got a seat for you at the table right next to the orange guy. that seat's always open. hello and welcome to our viewers here, in the united states, and all around the world. i'm michael holmes. thanks for your company. ahead here on cnn "newsroom." a royal remembrance. we are learning details of prince philip's funeral scaled back because of covid restrictions. a worrying surge of new-covid cases in michigan. the u.s. government sending reinforcements to administer vaccines. and -- >> you want democracy? >> we want democracy. we don't want a military coup. >>

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