Written by Alberta Parish
The college admissions bribery scandal has impacted the psyche of most Americans, especially those who did not have the economic and social equity to get through the doors of Ivy League schools and universities where great success in any top industry is at least 99% guaranteed to the recipients of those who did not make it on their own merit, SAT or ACT scores, or even their high school transcripts.
For every spot that was held or locked up at the major schools named in the college admissions scandal by wealthy and privileged individuals, very few American Descendants of Slavery, unless he or she was the top basketball star in the country, were able to get into these slots at those particular universities based on their own high GPAs, or high SAT/ACT scores. Remember the Black girl in Florida, Kamilah Campbell, who took the SAT and received an initial score of 900. She retook the SAT. Later, she received a letter from a testing company stating, "We are writing to you because based on a preliminary review, there appears to be substantial evidence that your scores ... are invalid." Campbell then decided to hire an attorney and sued the testing company that accused her of cheating. But since then, she decided to drop the suit and retake the test. Campbell wants to attend Florida State University and major in dance. Florida State is not an Ivy League university, and she will still be competing with privileged students from USC, Stanford, or Georgetown long after she graduates. She'll still be the help in these corporations owned by the wealthy and privileged parents of those who cheated their kids into colleges and also cheated their kids through life.
Since the college admissions bribery scandal broke, I view my life currently as a working-class citizen and realize that I don't have a fair shot and never did from the very beginning. I don't feel right many days about my current prospects or my future. From my prospective, I did everything right to try and get ahead in life. I wasn't interested in school during my adolescent years mainly because I was bullied often by other students. However, I was very good at writing. I began writing essays at the age of 13. Later in life, I went back to school and earned a degree in Paralegal Studies. Now, I'm just baffled, and I'm not working in my field. Sometimes, I think about what I could have been versus what I am today. Frustration sets in. Lately, I just don't have the desire to work for anyone or any company or corporation or employer. I see it as a waste of my valuable time and energy while I'm being deliberately exploited and underpaid. I now understand the frustration my mother often felt. She would always complain about a lack of money or opportunities to get money. My mother stopped working at 68 years of age. The frustration she felt many days is really common among at least 98% of Black Americans. Frustration over our lives or lack of adequate finances and debt also greatly affects our health. Most Black people are at risk of higher instances in developing heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Much of it is stress-related and our diet, which means not being able to afford healthy foods or not having access to healthy foods in our communities.
My mother was one of twelve children, a Baby Boomer, who came from a line of former sharecroppers. In fact, my mother spent a large amount of her adolescent years picking cotton in Greensboro, Georgia. My grandfather was a sharecropper and made all his children pick cotton. Many days, they did not go to school. Most of them graduated from high school, however. On the days they did not attend school due to their sharecropping job, they were denied access to an education, which also led to a lifetime of working service-related or low-wage jobs. In my mother's adult years, she struggled from job to job. I currently struggle from job to job. The one thing I decided to not do is pass down a lifetime of poverty and permanent underclass status to a child, because I decided to not have children. I refuse to subject a child to the system of racism and white supremacy. When I die, my line ends. For me, it was the right choice because we shouldn't pass a slave system from one generation to the next.
Reparations for the American Descendants of Slavery are the only restitution to a rigged system that was designed to keep Black people in a permanent underclass status while they continuously exploit our physical labor, talents, skills, and our economic status. We are under an economic siege and unless we receive reparations, the little Black wealth that exists today will possibly become non-existent in the next 40 to 50 years. Our fight for reparations has been an ongoing issue since the American Civil War. They promised former slaves 40 acres and a mule, which they never received.
According to the website, Constitutional Rights Foundation, "The next push for reparations took place at the turn of the century. Several black organizations lobbied Congress to provide pensions for former slaves and their children. One bill introduced into the U.S. Senate in 1894 would have granted direct payments of up to $500 to all ex-slaves plus monthly pensions ranging from $4 to $15. This, and several similar bills, died in congressional committees. The pension movement itself faded away with the onset of World War I.
During the 1960s, some black leaders revived the idea of reparations. In 1969, James Forman (then head of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee) proclaimed a "Black Manifesto." It demanded $500 million from American churches and synagogues for their role in perpetuating slavery before the Civil War. Black nationalist organizations, such as the Black Panther Party and Black Muslims, also demanded reparations.
The Conyers Bill
Rep. Conyers introduced his bill (HR 3745) in November 1989. The preamble of the bill declared its purpose:
To acknowledge the fundamental injustice, cruelty, brutality and inhumanity of slavery in the United States and the 13 American colonies between 1619 and 1865 and to establish a Commission to examine the institution of slavery, subsequent de jure and de facto and economic discrimination against African-American-, and the impact of these forces on living African-Americans, to make recommendations to the Congress on appropriate remedies, and for other purposes."The idea of awarding the American Descendants of Slavery has been taken as some sort of joke to these people. They really don't take us seriously, and continuously go behind closed doors and think of ways to try and keep us neutralized and a permanent underclass. They want us to go quietly into the dark and never demand reparations for the enslavement of our people. But the American Descendants of Slavery will not go quietly into the night. We're going to stop blindly supporting Democratic candidates like Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders, Beto O'Rourke and others, because they do not advocate for reparations. You want Black children to drive for Uber, and be servant-slaves. You want us a permanent underclass so you can exploit us. No! Times up. Pay me what you owe me, because I'm not going to be your slave for the remainder of my existence! What gives you the right to deny me access to wealth and deny my descendants the opportunity to build their own industries and compete with the rest of the world?