10 Ways To Pay Reparations If You’re a Broke Ass White Person
Over the past 20 years, I’ve watched several radical concepts creep into the American mainstream:
✓ Socialism. ✓ Communism. ✓ Intersectional Feminism. ✓ Eating ass.
All of these concepts are still heavily debated, but they’re no longer the cultural taboos they once were.
“Communist,” for example, was an insult when I was growing up. “We’re taught at such an early age to be against the communists,” wrote Assata Shakur, “yet most of us don’t have the faintest idea what communism is.”
Like Communism, other once-radical concepts have grown increasingly popular among the American Left, which has continued to slowly radicalize thanks to late-stage capitalism and the birth of Trumpism. Because of this, progressive political candidates can no longer easily dismiss radical themes without facing potential backlash from the Far Left. And the most recent radical theme to take center stage, is reparations — compensation to Black descendants of slaves for American slavery.
In 1997, President Bill Clinton said reparations were impractical, because “the nation is so many generations removed from that era.” Clinton didn’t seem concerned that the estimated 7 to 15 TRILLION(!) dollars still owed to African Americans will continue to be felt for generations to come. And white Americans weren’t too concerned, either.
But today, Presidential hopefuls like Bernie Sanders are getting ripped apart for failing to publicly support reparations, while their competition are capitalizing by doing the opposite. It’s all for show, of course, but the conversation is at least back on the table.
And while politicians use reparations as a political football, Black organizers have been experimenting with ways to reclaim wealth and resources from white society, and redistribute them where they belong.
These experiments have had varying degrees of success, but one recurring theme is that broke white people often think they’re exempt from paying their share. That assumption is indisputably wrong, since ALL white folks still benefit from slavery to this day—even when they’re in denial of those benefits.
I won’t get into explaining white privilege to broke white people, because that’s already been done. But I will lay out some ways broke white people can contribute to Black liberation by paying reparations despite their cash flow. So without further ado, here are 10 ways to pay reparations if you’re a broke ass white person:
1) GIMME DA LOOT
Yeah, I know I just said this was for broke ass white people, but if selling weed taught me anything, it’s that Black and white people have different definitions of being broke. Poor white people still have more money than poor Black people, if for no other reason because some members of poor white families are still doing alright.
I guarantee if you stop a homeless white guy on the street he’ll tell you about a rich relative he no longer fucks with. That matters. Your proximity to wealth matters.
And although Black people are disproportionately likely to live in poverty, white people still have the sheer numbers. There are about 200 Million white people living in the United States. If each of them gave me one penny, I’d literally be a multi-millionaire. In fact, let’s make this happen.
2) DONATE TIME & LABOR
- You got any Black friends with kids? Maybe offer them free childcare on the weekends. Set up a playdate with your pasty little ones. Just make sure you don’t serve our kids any raw, unseasoned meats, because that’s a deal breaker.
- You do graphic design? Help your local Black-led racial justice org make flyers and logos. Have access to a printer? Print stuff for us to help cut-down outreach costs. Bonus points for stealing resources from your job.
- Got a washing machine? Offer to let Black folks do laundry at your place.
- Driving lessons.
- Swimming lessons.
- Resumé writing.
- RIDES TO THE GROCERY STORE. I’m about to start a ride-share called Wyft™ just so I can go bulk shopping and save some damn money.
Get your white asses out there and start offering your time and services, because time is money and white folks have more than we do. Get creative.
3) MAKE US BENEFICIARIES
I know a white lady who made a Black child a partial-beneficiary of her pension and estate upon her death. Contact HR at your job and ask for the form to add a beneficiary. If you have a life insurance policy or a living will, allocate some of the payout to a Black mom. This is an easy way to pay reparations, even after you’ve dropped dead and gone to the white afterlife.
4) BUDGET REPARATIONS
According to an independent guess, the average white family spends $27 a month on mayonnaise. Maybe you could contribute more to direct giving if you counted it as an expense on your monthly budget. You can even add Black folks to existing monthly services, like phone plans and TV subscriptions. I haven’t missed an episode of The Handmaid’s Tale yet, because some random clear woman gave me her Hulu password. Be the change!
5) USE YOUR WHITE COUPONS
You’ve heard of the Black Tax? Well white people have White Coupons. Don’t deny it. We know it’s true. There are discounts all white people seem to get on everything from car rentals, to hotel bookings, to flyer miles, to Cracker Barrel meals and more. Did you know white people don’t pay shipping? Amazon just knows who’s white and waves the fee.
White people also get discounts all the time by demanding to speak to the manager. That doesn’t work for us. Managers don’t care about the demands of Black folks. When witnessing our interactions with sales associates, inject your privilege to improve our odds.
There are all sorts of deals white people can pass on to Black people. And that includes your uncle who’s a mechanic and fixes your Prius for $10. We could use that hook-up, too.
6) FIX OUR CREDIT
You can add an additional authorized user to your credit card, to help them establish credit. I didn’t know that until I was 30, because nobody in my family had credit cards thanks to the racial wealth gap. White babies are born with a savings account. Not so much for Black kids. So to make up for the head start, how about using your privilege to boost our FICO score? You can also co-sign cars and apartments that Black folks wouldn’t otherwise have access too. It’s a risk, sure, but Black communities take risks every day that most white people can’t imagine. #SorryNotSorry
7) UTILIZE BLACK BUSINESSES & SERVICES
Supporting Black businesses is one way to put money in Black hands. Tip Black servers like their life depends on it, because it does. Frequent Black restaurants without gentrifying them, by ordering take-out. If you need landscaping services, go out of your way to book a Black landscaper. Before making ANY major purchase, ask yourself if there’s a Black person who can benefit from the sale. And pay at a premium.
8) GIVE US YOUR OLD SHIT
Instead of trading in your used vehicle, give it away to a low-income Black family. I guarantee it’s worth more to us than your dealer will give you for it. From phones to furniture, there’s always something of value white folks are trying to get rid of. An entire industry of dumpster diving has been created from white waste. Cut out the middle man and give us your shit directly. Post it for free on Facebook and Craigslist. Don’t take it to Goodwill or any of those places that exploit the poor for profit.
9) ADD US TO YOUR VENDOR ACCOUNT(S)
Do you have any idea how much Post-It Notes cost? Me neither. That’s because I write everything on napkins since I don’t have access to a vendor account. A vendor account is how businesses and non-profits pay for everything from cases of paper to office furniture. White institutions often have these accounts active for their most-used vendors. Giving Black entities access to a portion of your supply budget can help Black-led initiatives prosper.
Here is the most important rule of wealth redistribution: The wealth you redistribute doesn’t have to be yours, it just has to come from the ruling class. So if you don’t have any supplies, resources, or cash to contribute, get out there and take it!
Use your white privilege to walk around Walmart in a trench coat, undetected. Maybe snag some supplies from your place of employment and share as needed. If you happen to “find” a pile of money laying around, pay it f̶o̶r̶w̶a̶r̶d̶ backward to someone in need. The sky’s the limit as long as you don’t get caught. And if you do get caught, just remember your arrest will help even out racial disparities in incarceration. Win/win!
If you’re privileged and want to start paying reparations directly to Black women and other marginalized genders, please join the Done For DiDi White Labor Collective.
Donations & reparations also welcome to the author, but only if you got it like that.
Note: This post was inspired by the article, Explaining White Privilege To A Broke White Person, by Gina Crosley-Corcoran.