Y’all benefit from our exploitation but you still got a problem with reparations.

Briana L. Urena-Ravelo
4 min readNov 2, 2017

Twice this week I got into arguments with white men over reparations/survival capitalism. Oh, you know how it goes. You claim you care but you won’t invest in the most obvious thing to offset the injustice and exploitation that gives you so much.

And these white dudes are doing so much for us, well, I mean, probably not, I’m sure they’re not doing anything, but they *totally* want to, to like, help the cause! To free people! But this, reparations, it isn’t the way! I mean, slavery and, all that stuff, was so long ago! We can’t possibly expect white people today to give back (even as they still benefit, even as they still colonize, even as they still exploit colonized land and labor, even as we still die and experience the generational ramifications of colonialism and exploitation and as it manifests today.)

Many have made thorough cases for the merit of not only making amends for previous ills of white supremacy (going deeper than discussing merely bias, this is about the idea that systems are inherently structured for white people, to give white people more, at the specific expense of the stealing/exploitation of colonized bodies), settler colonialism, slavery and genocide through reparations of all sort (not limited to money, land can be returned as well), but offsetting current manifestations of all these ills. Literally hundreds of thousands of formerly colonized people, in this continent and elsewhere, have made the case, nay, the demand, that they receive restitution for the violence they have endured and currently endured, for state discrimination and bias, for stolen children, for taken lives. Initiatives, most notably Safety Pin Box, that mix both liberation work and education and reparation ideology into its framework exist. And amends of all sorts have been made, and continue being made. Because it’s generally understood, even by settler governments, that it is the least that they can do. Even if in many ways it is yet inadequate.

But in these white men’s sagely view, that is, according to their good savior advice, that isn’t what we need to be free. That’s capitalism, said the white socialist who does not work for free, but expects me and other Black people in social justice organizing and just in general to, or at least…

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Briana L. Urena-Ravelo

Writer. Community organizer. Errant punk. Ne’er do well. Fire starter. Email: Dominicanamalisima@gmail.com