A bar in Portland, Oregon, this week hosted a “Reparations Happy Hour” and gave “people of color” $10 in cash as they arrived. The money was a “symbolic gift” funded by white people, according to published reports.
White people who funded the party were told to not attend.
The event was organized by a local activist group “Brown Hope,” as a place for people of color to “meet, organize, discuss public policy and potentially plan various actions,” Fox News reported.
Reparations is a concept that today’s white people are “responsible” for giving monetary compensation for slavery, Jim Crow, and the wealth gap between white and black households. In a 2016 poll, the concept was supported by 58 percent of black people and 46 percent of Hispanic people.
On the other hand, 68 percent of white Americans do not support it.
Robert Brown, an economist, has said the total amount of reparations needed is between $1.4 trillion to $4.7 trillion. The money, Brown and those of a similar mindset say, would give the black community the wealth and community position it missed out on due to slavery and discrimination, the report stated.
Eric J. Miller, a professor at Loyola Law School, told HuffPost that reparations involves a “reckoning with the country’s history.”
“Part of our history is our grandparents participating in these acts of terrible violence [against black people],” Miller said. “But people don’t want to acknowledge the horror of what they engaged in.”
“The cognitive dissonance of learning that your property is ‘got’ and preserved on the back of the misery of others is not an incredibly nice thing to live with. So people would rather discount it,” Miller said.
Cameron Whitten, 27, organized the event with bigger goals in mind.
“We’re creating a platform to make sure our leadership is being seen and honored,” Whitten said. “This isn’t just, ‘We’re here to socialize.’ We’re here to do the work. In a place like Portland, where our community is so fractured…our first step is to bring us back together, and then from there organize and mobilize to create policies to create justice in our communities.”
About 100 people, most of them white, donated to Whitten’s happy hour event on Monday, according to the report. There are also plans for an upcoming “Reparations Power Hour” for people who don’t drink.