“See, that’s what’s wrong with the black community now … everybody wants a handout!” Maliq huffed out in frustration.

Maliq was a black nationalist at heart like, Malcolm X and Frantz Fanon.  He didn’t believe that blacks should take anything from other races. It was up to them to help themselves.

“Wait a minute. How do you figure I want a handout just because I said African Americans, more specifically the descendants of slaves, should receive reparations? That’s not a handout that’s what’s OWED to us! Ain’t nothing in this world ever been free. Why should our ancestors labor have been?” Egypt asked.

Egypt didn’t side with any particular group when it came to the advancement of black people. She just believed if you did the work, you deserved the check, and since African Americans built America with the sweat on their backs, the monetary proceeds were rightfully theirs.

“I agree, America got over in a major way, but that’s behind us. There are so many avenues for us to better ourselves as a people now, that not having free money given to us because of our ancestors is a cop out!” LeLand chimed in.

LeLand believed opportunity was better than just plain money any day of the week. He felt giving a person an opportunity was teaching them, giving them experience, i.e. teaching a man to fish. Whereas,  giving a person money, was feeding them for a day. He went to college by way of the military. Then took the opportunities given to him by dedicating a few years of his life to Uncle Sam, and never looked back.

“A cop out!?! Our people have been disadvantaged from the start. You wack as hell to even mention programs that are available to everybody, not just blacks, as a valid point of why we shouldn’t be compensated. If you really wanna be real, blacks couldn’t even get those programs until the 1970s.” Egypt fired back.

“-But you haven’t given one valid reason why we should!” Maliq cut in for LeLand.

“Because it’s right! Because the Native Americans receive money, home loans, free college, and that’s just what I know about, just for being Native to this land, and not only that, if you can prove you have Native tribe blood in you … you can get those benefits too. ” Egypt felt as though she could take them both in intellectual combat.

“But this land was stolen from them. They were systematically killed and oppressed on their own land.” LeLand tried to reason.

“Hold up. I gotta jump in here. Are you trying to say that the exact same thing didn’t happen to Africans they brought here?!?!” Tonya asked not really sure of the direction the conversation was going.

Tonya didn’t really think that reparations was the way to go either. In her mind, it would only be a band-aid for an issue that needed surgery. Throwing money at a problem rarely fixed it. To her, there was absolutely no way for America to repay slave descendants for the residual effects of slavery.

“This ain’t our land though.” Maliq commented.

The hell you say. As soon as they kidnapped us and brought us over here, this became our land too. It’s more our land than theirs to be real. Who built everything? Who tilled the lands? Everything that’s here is because of us.” Tonya responded.

“If there were no slaves and Indians, the white man would’ve never survived. That’s reason enough for a check right there if you ask me” Omar threw his two-cents in.

Omar could honestly see, both sides of the coin when it came to blacks and reparations. But if there was a way for him to get his hands on some money that he didn’t have before, he would argue better than Johnny Cochran to make it happen. He was a capitalist more so than anything. C.R.E.A.M was his motto, because cash ruled everything.

“You’re being so politically incorrect right now” Tonya said with a laugh towards Omar.

“So what? We all family. We all black. Y’all know what it is.” Omar didn’t care about pleasantries when it can to the dough.

Everyone laughed at that.

“All y’all are missing the point, immigrants from all over the world come over here everyday and make it with nothing -” LeLand wasn’t letting up.

Neither was Egypt. “-But we weren’t no damn immigrants, Ben Carson. They made a choice to be here, and they do get grants and everything else if they know how to work the system.”

Tonya added, “A system that has been in place to make sure that blacks don’t get ahead.”

“That’s right! There are only a handful of us that actually make it out, beat the system. There damn sure ain’t gone be more than one Oprah and Barack at a time. Believe that.” Omar added. He brought heavy hitters making money into every debate.

“Ain’t gon’ be another Oprah period, and they probably thought Barack being in office for 8 years, the max he could be, was reparations enough. There won’t be another black president in our lifetime, if ever again either.” Tonya added.

“There can be! The only ones limiting us is us!” Maliq threw back. He believed in the power and determination of black people.

“See, you’re talking like this because you’ve never been broke. Your family has always had a lil bit of money. Because of the sliver spoon in your mouth, you don’t know much about the other side. Let me put you up on game though, if we put your families money up against white money, your silver spoon would be more like iron -” Omar began to Maliq.

“- Ain’t nothing precious about that metal.” Egypt cut in.

“You wanna know why? Because their family’s seeds were planted on fertile ground. Your familiy’s seeds had to blow there. Y’all weren’t afforded the same launching pad.” Omar couldn’t help but point out.

“What y’all seem to have forgotten is that African people and their descendants are powerful. We been brainwashed to believe other wise. We are the Adams and Eves of the Earth. We have the power to create and destroy. Everyone else knows this. That’s why we don’t need the same launch pads or opportunies. If we had it, there would be no competition. Now I’m not saying we don’t deserve repayment, but the truth is we’re never getting it.” Maliq didn’t like that Omar threw his family’s money into the discussion. They built their wealth from the ground up. They didn’t take a loan from the bank or look for outside investors. His family did it own their own,and he wouldn’t let anyone try to strip them of that accomplishment.

“You’re right, at this point we, as a  community, wouldn’t do anything but blow it anyway. We are such consumers. Most of us wouldn’t use it to invest in our communities and better ourselves as a people.  It’s probably best we don’t get any money. It probably do more harm than good.” Tonya admitted.

“That’s what I’m saying. Even if we had the initiative to get ourselves out of debt, in about five or 10 years, we’d be right back where we started. Then what would our excuse be? No one taught us how to be good with that money?” LeLand asked.

“That would be true though. If they were to give it, I think anybody who  received it should have to take a class before they got the money in their hands. Make sure we understand interest rates, how to save, how to invest, and how to balance a damn checkbook. You can’t just put real money in our hands without education of how to correctly use it. If not, we’re bound to be wasteful with it.”  Egypt answered.

“But why aren’t people taking those classes on their own now?” Maliq wanted to know.

“Because they don’t have the money now.” Egypt answered for the group. “Most people don’t worry about how spend extra money they don’t have. They’re too busy trying to figure how to make ends meet from day to day. ”

“The education system is lacking. Where the communities are flourishing, personal finance is a required course for high school graduation. They even have investment classes as electives. In the inner cities, they just want you to know basic reading and math. That’s what I mean about the system being designed to hold us down.” Tonya was a teacher. She was all too familiar with the subject of subpar education.

“Lack of knowledge is not an excuse anymore, because everything is out there now. If you don’t have a computer or the internet, all you have to do so go to the public library. Anything you could ever think of learning can be researched now. It’s just about drive and ambition or laziness and entitlement if you ask me.” Maliq stated.

“Well it’s a good thing nobody asked you,” Egypt said looking at Maliq, “or you.” She then looked at LeLand.

“Don’t be like that, E.” Omar said to Egypt with an easy smile, “My dude has valid points. My mom was single parent with 3 boys all about year apart. Teenage mom from the ‘jects. She worked a minumun wage job and went to school at night. Yes, she used the system for a while to get to a better place, but she didn’t stay on it. So, babygirl it can be done.” The last part Omar said to Tonya.

“Would you say that housing, food stamps and the grants she got for college were handouts?” Tonya was just being nasty now.

“Nah.” He looked at Egypt and said, “They were programs available to everybody.”

Egypt wouldn’t be Egypt if she didn’t interject,” In terms of race, no, but in terms of class and wealth, that was a handout sir.”

“Call it was you want, but they gave O’s mom an opportunity to make a better life for her and her kids and she took it. That’s what the American Dream is all about.” LeLand jumped in defending Omar.

“If I’m not mistaken, that’s what we’re all in pursuit off.” Omar said and the last word on the topic was his.

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