Pretty simple, really… it is plain that the economic, cultural and human harm done to African Americans by four centuries of enslavement has not been addressed, and must be addressed before we can “get past racism.” It doesn’t seem that there’s the political will to award reparations of meaningful amounts, and although the money would be nice, what about the terror? What about the destruction of families? What about the degradation and erasure of people’s present and future?

I propose that each Juneteenth, any African American person in the United States may enter the home of any white person in the United States and remove any one item. This will go a ways toward remuneration, but will also repay a little bit of the insult, will repay some of the fear and the injustice, will at least address the inhumanity of slavery and its aftermath.

My proposal would be for a defined period of time — say, 40 years — one year for each decade of slavery in America. If our African American brothers and sisters decide to end the program early, out of their generosity and kindness, that would be very nice, but 40 years seems like a reasonable target for accomplishing the goal of educating white Americans about the reality of being arbitrarily rendered powerless in your own home. 

Juneteenth would be the day of this annual purge, not because it is a wonderful day for celebration, but because it is yet another reminder of the cruelty of white Americans, in this case Texans, who withheld the truth of enslaved people’s emancipation for an additional two and a half years of misery and subjugation. Hedging their bets against the outcome of the Civil War, just because they could. Maybe African Americans could take two things from a Texan’s home…