Sent to you by moya via Google Reader:
This right here nails it.
Skip Gates sells the concept of reparations very short by presuming that Black Americans want reparations solely to get back at a dehumanized specter of a supremacist White America. The conversation on reparations does not center how badly Blacks were treated by Whites; it centers the ongoing legacy of economic stability that White-dominated institutions have enjoyed by law and tradition over centuries, compared to the economic blight that Black Americans face on an ongoing basis. Despite the hard work our ancestors invested against their will in the future of America, we do not share in any legacy of economic benefit. Opportunities, while admirable and prevalent, are not wealth. Affirmative action, while an attempt to level the playing field, cannot equip Black Americans to move ahead in a system designed to keep a minority underclass thriving without more centuries of underpaid and undervalued work. Bootstrapping isn't feasible if you have to manufacture the boot and the straps from scratch while everyone else is wearing boots and owning multiple pairs.