DURHAM – The woke city council in Asheville did it; can Durham do it? That’s what the woke of the Bull City are wondering, or encouraging, as evidenced by an INDYWeek reporter’s eloquent push for the unintelligible policy of modern day reparations for slavery and ‘systemic racism.’
“[…] During his state of the city address this year, Durham Mayor Steve Schewel called on city council to support reparations in some form. But Darity and Mullen say that no effective program can take place without federal intervention, because slavery, Jim Crow, and the ensuing social inequities have occurred under federal authority.
[Director of entrepreneurship at North Carolina Central University’s business school, Henry] McKoy does not disagree with his fellow economic scholars’ assessment, but he says there is enough culpability to go around at the federal, state, local, and institutional levels.
“Overall, I believe that reparative justice is critical to any longtime goal of achieving racial wealth parity or even making substantial progress towards closing the gap for the Black community,” McKoy says. “It’s an extended effort that goes far and wide to address these past harms and addresses the economic hollowness of Black America in the 21st century.”
McKoy says a reparations program in Durham should include economic investment in Black communities along with state and federal resources.
Specifically, McKoy recommends that the city should focus on opening up the Black business pipeline. It should increase the diversity of places where Black businesses are established, so that they can capture diverse dollars while also taking advantage of the redevelopment of historic Black commercial and residential corridors. It should increase access to the capital needed for the Black business ecosystem to grow.
In short, the city should remove as many barriers to success as possible for Black entrepreneurs, while also investing in education to expose more Black youth to innovative environments. This might entail committing public properties to create Black wealth, with a focus on community improvement without forced displacement. It might entail the creation of a real-estate bank for intentional, inclusive development. It might entail finding creative ways to get the private sector in Durham to invest at a large, long-term scale.
“While the fight for reparations is happening, can we prepare the infrastructure of Black businesses,” he says. “Perhaps if Durham can lead the way and get it right, then cities all across America will follow suit.”
Looks like Asheville’s reign as ‘The Wokest’ may be short-lived. You can read the rest of the Bull City charge toward requiring reparation policies here.