Search
  • deanswett

Royalties as Reparations



https://www.wgbh.org/news/arts/2021/11/16/this-church-is-paying-royalties-when-it-sings-spirituals-composed-by-enslaved-africans


This article came across my desk and I found it so inspiring and such a profound example of how we can use any power or privilege we are given to uplift those who are not afforded such privilege.

How can we be good allies? How can we live in right relationship in practice rather than just lip service?

Reparations and putting money in the hands of those who have been harmed is a good start.

What are reparations anyhow?

It’s a big and complex idea that is steeped in controversy and derision, but it isn’t really all that complicated. Meriam Webster defines the term as:

“1a: a repairing or keeping in repair

b reparations plural : REPAIRS 2a: the act of making amends, offering expiation, or giving satisfaction for a wrong or injuryb: something done or given as amends or satisfaction 3: the payment of damages : INDEMNIFICATIONspecifically : compensation in money or materials payable by a defeated nation for damages to or expenditures sustained by another nation as a result of hostilities with the defeated nation —usually used in plural”


When looked at it in this way, it’s pretty simple. We are making whole. We are repairing damage.


There are so many really great articles to read if you need convincing:


https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2014/06/the-case-for-reparations/361631/


https://www.brookings.edu/policy2020/bigideas/why-we-need-reparations-for-black-americans/


https://www.ictj.org/our-work/transitional-justice-issues/reparations


I would like to suggest that we choose, at every moment, to walk in the work. That every choice, every dollar spent, every step on our journey is done with grace, with acknowledgement and with repair. No, we did not cause the damage, and yet, that does not eradicate our collective responsibility to repair the damage. If a tornado teas up a town, we must all clean up the debris and rebuild what was lost. This is no different.. No one it’s arguing that we take responsibility for the past, but we are responsible for the future…. All of us are.


Let’s all be like these amazing people singing at The United Parish of Brookline.

The very first step is acknowledging the harm.

Next, do some research. Who wrote the song you’re listening to? The song you are covering? Is it the white guy who happened to become famous playing it? Maybe, but maybe, it’s Nina Simone instead.

Give her credit. Give her credit in your head when you listen to the song.

Acknowledgment is a really great start and it requires nothing that you can’t accomplish, regardless of your capacity or means.


Let’s start creating all the repair we can together.



Yours in struggle:


R



7 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All