'Reparations' Website Invites White People To Help People Of Color
The case for reparations for black people in America has and continues to be a divisive subject, especially when the discussion turns to monetary compensation. Sure, some states have apologized for slavery, and even the United States House of Representatives have passed a resolution apologizing for American slavery and subsequent discriminatory laws. But compensation is an argument that's still understandably being made, and although they vary, all of them reflect some sort of financial restitution.
But until then, we have a website called Reparations, which serves as a public forum where white people can offer their belongings or services to people of color who can request help for a specific need. "It's about reparations for things that happened earlier today, for yesterday, for last Thursday," Natasha Marin, the website's creator, told The Washington Post. "This is for the present tense."
So far, the number of offers have far outnumbered the number of requests, with the offers and requests varying across the country. Lessons in Excel; tarot card readings; travel assistance; insurance assistance; requests for help buying an engagement ring; finding a service dog for a veteran with PTSD — these are just a number of requests currently available on the website. Marin doesn't connect the givers and the receivers—she just provides the space for them to communicate.
Marin said that the project came about after a Facebook event she created, where she invited her friends of color to post whatever they needed to "feel better, be happier, be more productive." She then asked her white friends to offer what they could. The experiment continued to grow and became a success, with thousands of people participating in the website and Facebook group.
Unfortunately, Marin has gotten some racist and negative responses from the project, with some even sending her death threats. But she's figured out a way to monetize the hatred: on the Reparations page is a "Troll fund" tab where "Troll Slayers" take a pledge to donate a dollar to the site for every terrible message received. That money is then redistributed to those on the site asking for financial help.
Reparations is a cool project because not only does it reflect people's ability and desire to help one another, but it encourages a discussion that needs to happen through a creative and organic manner.