Reparations routinely emerge as an unresolved issue that reveals the unrivaled historical shame of America. Freedom, equality and justice are the pillars and ethical anchors of America (Slade, 2017). The Constitution of the United States guarantees certain inalienable rights that provide moral latitude to every citizen regardless of Age, Race, and Sex. The idea of equality for everyone is a fundamental principle that serves as the foundation and bedrock of our nation’s founding. However, America continues to toil with the indignities of its past, and it does so with an unapologetic air about its guilt. The arrogance of human platitude suppresses individual consciousness immobilizing the need to overcome its shame. Yet, America chooses instead to willfully neglect the enslaved African American’s appeal for Reparations. The refusal of America to reaffirm its commitment to exploited African Americans will only prolong racial strife and divisiveness between Whites and enslaved African Americans. The slave trade originated nearly 400 years ago igniting a legacy of enslavement among generations of African Americans. The legitimacy of Slavery came into question with the passage of the Emancipation Proclamation, January 1, 1863. Abraham Lincoln acted to delegitimized Slavery in all rebellious states. The law passed 250 years ago, gave rise to the Jim Crow Era. During this time, the enslaved African Americans continued to endure divisive separatist behavior, segregation, and subjugation, at the hands of Whites. More than 100 years later, the Civil Rights Act passed. This decree outlawed discrimination based on race, sex, religion, and national origin. Fifty-five years later, enslaved African Americans continue to be victims of racist, discriminatory, and segregationist behavior. Alter argues that Baby Boomers now define values and priorities in America; however, Millennials have rapidly grown in numbers. This generation of Americans is favored to induce change because of their 1) ingenuity with savvy business start-ups, 2) cultural taste and proclivity have changed the face of America, 3) amazing tenacity and connectedness with Social Media has revolutionized communication, and 4) their activism in political and social movements, like Black Lives Matter. Indeed, Millennials are proactively pursuing change and energizing the economic, social, and political macrocosm and fabric of America. The hypothesis will be verified with self-administered survey data, focus group consensus building, and the use of statistical least square regression for ranking Millennial’s most preferred to least preferred form of Reparations.
Indeed, the hypothesis of the study is stated herein:
H0 = White Millennials don’t fully support Reparation claims for enslaved African Americans.
H1 = White Millennials do fully support Reparation claims for enslaved African Americans.
H3 = Enslaved African Americans prefer cash payments to satisfy Reparations.
H4 = Enslaved African Americans prefer other forms of compensation for Reparations.
H5 = Reparations are instrumental in reducing the Wealth Gap and lowering the death rates due to COVID-19 and similar catastrophic illnesses.
H6 = Reparations are instrumental in widening the Wealth Gap and increasing the death rates due to COVID-19 and similar catastrophic illnesses.
The objective(s) of the study is to 1) show the very strong support Millennials have for granting Reparations to enslaved African Americans; 2) identify the most preferred form of Reparations among Millennials; 3) illustrate how Reparations can fill the “Wealth Gap” between enslaved African Americans and White Americans.
2. Literature Review
Ethics is important when addressing the issue of Reparations. Lamb, Hair, and McDaniel provide a theoretical framework for classifying an individual’s ethical motives and decisions. The ethical premise is taken from the five perspectives mentioned in their work regarding Reparations. Lamb et al. classified ethicists as deontologists, utilitarianists, casuists, moral relativists, and value ethicists. Derr (2012) similarly clarified and explained the importance of knowing one’s ethical orientation for decision-making as leaders. Ethical values and beliefs affect leadership behavior and style (Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, 1989a, 1989b). Stakeholder’s ethical purview determines the importance of placing ethics on the agenda for consideration. Awareness of the ethical persuasion of planners, government, private, and non-profits are tactical yet useful in strategically pursuing their uncertain support for Reparations. Seeking support of community-based leadership guarantees unequivocal success in pursuing Reparations. The stakeholders are Citizens of the United States, Educators, Local, State, and Federal Government Officials, and the Business Communities.
The Reparations claim is premised on 250 years of forced unpaid labor services. Slave owners reaped untold benefits at the expense of enslaving African Americans (Craemer, 2018). Similarly, O. C. Ferrell et al. (2013) discuss the theoretical dimensions of ethics in business marketing. There are many approaches to the study and application of ethics. The existentialist view, for instance, denotes what is good, right, and fitting (West, 2008). The preponderance of evidence compiled over 400 years supports the need for Reparations; however, the unwillingness of Americans whose conscience is resistant to the call are steadfast in holding racist segregationist views. Although the issue of granting Reparations to African Americans should be a legal mandate, granting Reparations to African Americans has become a moral imperative. Historically, African Americans are unique, unlike other racial groups because of the savagery and inhumanity of Slavery. Moreover, Reparations acknowledge the wrong and serve as a source of atonement for past behavior. The passage of the Emancipation Proclamation set the legal precedence and Jim Crow established a gauge for measuring the intensity of racial discrimination.
The task of building a consensus between opposing parties is not the easiest thing to do. Nonetheless, consensus-building can be useful for determining the need for Reparations (Burgess & Spanger, 2003). Currently, several possible models exist for achieving consensus. The Delphi Technique or Expert Analysis is one approach. Several experts discuss familiar topics under the watchful eyes of a moderator (Borden et al., 2017). The forum serves as a platform for community involvement among educators, business owners, and religious affiliates. The forum’s objective is to demonstrate atonement for past enslavement, racial strife, personal and community development for a better America. The Moderator and forum participants work toward a consensus. Although they may be far apart in their values and beliefs, continuous rounds of dialogue and discussion will narrow differences of opinion. Gap Analysis serves as a measurement gauge that brings countervailing forces closer together. Interesting enough, Gap Analysis is a means of determining if a consensus has been reached or not. Gap Analysis is also a quantitative measure of how much of a consensus is needed to close the gap.
America is extremely diversified and race has become a hot-button issue. Social divisiveness penetrates every aspect of society. After the Emancipation Proclamation, African Americans did not engage in commerce, socializing, and voting, despite their newly found freedom (Coates, 2014). Very little has changed since civil unrest gripped the fabric of our nation 30 years ago. Although African Americans are allowed to vote, voter suppression, gerrymandering, redlining, race discrimination, and segregation have galvanized a divisive society with a widening Wealth Gap. The Civil Rights Movement was good for America because it sought to heal the social enigma plaguing this nation. However, the Civil Rights Movement failed to address the sins of our fathers. The free labor stolen from 4.4 million African American Slaves continues uncompensated until this day (O’Neil, 2020). The Civil Rights Movement highlighted dire social inequities, but it failed to address economic inequality. The Reparations Movement addresses this anomaly; however, the hoarders of wealth refused to acknowledge it as a means of recompense.
The catastrophic COV-19 Pandemic looming across the globe adds new insight to a widening “Wealth Gap” of astronomical proportions. The Wealth Gap measures everything owned minus debts (Oliver & Shapiro, 2019). An ever-increasing gap in assets can be attributed to the long-running effect of racial discrimination. The Wealth Gap also shows how far apart African Americans and Whites are in the accumulation of wealth. Historically, Whites have created an inequitable, discriminatory system that severely limited economic opportunity for enslaved African Americans. Moreover, the Wealth Gap and need for Reparations show that although Millennials are more distanced from the atrocity of Slavery, they support granting Reparations to enslaved African Americans. The level of support is overwhelming among people of color; however, the same level of support is lacking among White Millennials. Although enslaved African Americans classed as Generation X’ers, Baby Boomers, and the Gray Generation, support Reparations for enslaved African Americans, their level of support nymphs in comparison to much younger generations of American Millennials. The Millennial Survey and Focus Group data results show the most preferred form of Reparations. Focus Group Delphi Technique was used to build a consensus among a very diverse group of respondents. For the sake of statistically ranking African American’s preference of Reparations, a mathematical consensus of opinions will be used. The Center of Excellence implemented the Scientific Test and Analysis Techniques for consensus building. This system was used to create a quantifiable defense testing strategy that minimized risk. Military aerodynamic experts simply used a weighted least-square function to reach a consensus (Ramert, 2017).
The sample of participants in this study consisted of 100 students who attended a small Northwest Louisiana College. Initially, 35 survey respondents answered 25 questions. The survey questions were multiple-choice, multiple answers, dichotomous, and open-ended questions. The close end type questions worked well because students were moving in-between classes, dining, studying and socializing. More demographic data could be quickly generated with multiple choice, multiple answers and dichotomous questions. Open-ended questions were reserved for the Focus Group Sessions to be conducted later. Focus Groups were allowed to openly, expound, discuss, and elaborate on their opinions to reach consensus. The surveys were completed using a #2 pencil and Word Processing generated questionnaires. Two separate groups of students, one group ages 20 - 35 years of age, manually completed the questionnaire. Later, the same survey was administered in an afternoon session to the second set of students. The second group age range was 20 - 25 years old. The same was done for the second session of 18 survey respondents: The survey respondents were primarily African Americans; however, students of the Caribbean and Hispanic origin also completed the survey. In sum, eleven females and seven males completed surveys in the first session. Data from this section, like all of the section surveys, were based on age. The statistics required a determination of the number of survey respondents. Therefore, the average is determined by the following:
while the mean age of survey respondents is:
Each group of survey respondents was given a half-hour to manually complete the questionnaire. However, if they required additional time, it was granted. Of those 35 surveys, three questionnaires were unusable, meaning 92% of those surveys were included in the study. This was good; however, it was not good enough. The field survey was expanded. The questionnaire was administered to a cohort of students at a Community College in Central Mississippi. This survey setting was ideal, given the fact that it was conveniently located, and unlike the previous group of respondents, it was a Predominantly White Community College (PWCC). The campus currently educates and serves 12,000 students, with academic and professional ambitions. The survey was administered to 65 students near the Student Services Center. Thirty-seven females and 28 males completed the survey. Therefore, the Thirty-five surveys already completed plus Sixty-five surveys provided 100 surveys. Seven surveys were unusable because the respondents did not follow instructions. Hence, the total number of usable surveys is 93. The population means is calculated as follow:
The Z (score) is determined to be:
Z = (93 − 31)/0.05 = 1240
The P-value from the Z Table:
Therefore,for a total sampled population of 93 respondents,the population mean of 31, the required sample size is determined by the following equation:
where the square root of times Sigma i = 1 to N of
where SD is the Standard Deviation.The required sample size is 76 survey respondents.With a sample size,X = 93, with a confidence level of 95%and margin of error of 0.05.
Hence, the sample population is 93 is both adequate and sufficient for the investigation. It is well over the required 76 surveys required for the research. Hence, the research proceeded with a sufficient pool of surveys. Data generated under conditions of the “New Normal” and COVID-19 proved to be especially challenging. The successful survey outcome resulted from the tenacity and ingenuity of Millennials in Louisiana and Mississippi. Their interest in the research continued to overshadow the mere collection of data but generated a keen interest in the historical aspects of slavery. These Millennials actively engaged in an online Ancestry search to learn more about their own family’s historical past. Establishing evidence or proof of the family’s lineage to slavery responds to a call for the documented proof sought by White Millennials. This is an enthusiastic response to those sampled who may be undecided about entitlement or legitimacy for Reparations issues of African Americans. The researcher was also impressed by the level of motivation shown by the students in Mississippi. Despite the challenges of mobility, communication and distancing on-campus, Generation Z, alternatively called the Net-Generation, rose to the challenge. The students were enthusiastic about speaking the truth to power, righting past injustices and demonstrating a willingness to be involved in a cause, well beyond that of any of the Generation X’ers or Baby Boomers. Let’s face it, Generation X’ers, alternatively called the Latchkey Generation are so shell-shot, frightened and impaled by the ultra conservatism of Ronald Reagan and the social shock of the first African American President, Barack Obama, they lack the zeal and enthusiasm to rally and march on the tar and cobblestone ladened roads and bi-ways of this nation. The X’ers are so overwhelmed and traumatized by debt that it would be unimaginable to them that anyone would want to give them anything. Therefore, for Generation X’ers, Reparations are completely elusive, unthought-of, as a form of recompense for the atrocity of Slavery. Hence, the seemingly difficult constraints: limitations on campus movement, low communication response rates based on phone messaging, unanswered emails, COVID-19, and uncertain risk prompting greater caution in planning the project’s outcome, did not deter their commitment to get the data. Indeed, they got the data, and increased the actual number of surveys by 46% over the two previous surveys. The questionnaire asked respondents about personal demographics: Race, Age, Sex, Discrimination Experiences, with Likert-type questions about their Reparation preferences, and what they felt would be good for other enslaved African American Communities. The survey also included a 5-point Likert rating scale. The survey respondents had the option of selecting one of five choices on each questionnaire. A sample of survey responses based on preferences included, but was not limited to, the following: Choose only one response, for example, Reparations are good for African Americans. The survey responses, 1) Strongly Agree, 2) Agree, 3) Undecided, 4) Disagree, or 5) Strongly Disagree. Furthermore, survey respondents were asked to rank-order their preferred form of Reparations from 1 the most preferred to 8 the least preferred. The survey questions consist of 8 choices, for example, cash, land, free education, free health care, government benefits, business grants, housing, and tax-free debt. The results of the survey were averaged and ranked from the highest to the lowest. Based on survey responses, Millennials ranked Education and Land as the top choice.
Since this research specifically targets Millennials, other generations of Americans, Generation X, Baby Boomers, and the Gray Generations, although included in the study, are not the central concern. Millennials are more abundant than any other generation in numbers. Generation Y, as they are alternatively called, are more proactive in community affairs, “the movers” and “the shakers” of this era. Millennials are aggressively pursuing Reparations, energizing the “Black Lives Matter Campaign” and demanding reform in a failing criminal justice system. Although Generations X’ers support the campaign for Reparations, their primary preoccupation is a more stable domestic lifestyle, with a focus on family, careers, and finances. Baby Boomers were born during the late 1940s-1964. The youngest boomers are 56 years of age. The oldest of this generation is almost 75 years of Age. The Gray Generation is even fewer in numbers, and unfortunately, would not be active in advancing the cause of Reparations with the kind of vitality of contemporary Millennials.
An alternative to the Millennial Survey is the use of a Focus Group [FG]. Unlike the simple survey approach, the FG primarily consisted of Educators, Business Owners, and Local Government Officials. The Focus Group sessions were primarily viral. It was coordinated using a Moderator who addressed several critical issues at the heart of Personal and Community Development. The Focus Group coordinator created a discussion of opinions around four critical areas: Attitudes toward Reparations, Race, Discrimination, Recompense and Reparations. The whole objective of the FG is to build a Consensus and to bring participants closer together in their views about a problem. Like the Survey of Millennials, the opinions of Focus Group participants were analyzed to reach a consensus. The Scientific Test and Analysis Techniques Model relied upon a mathematical method of calculating a consensus of opinions (Ramert, 2017). In this study, Air Force Officials were attempting to reach a consensus among Subject Matter Experts (SME’s) about effective testing of armament by the military. A Focus Group of SME’s were given the task of deriving a quantifiable mathematical approach to supplement the objectivity of shared opinions. The study ultimately resulted in the use of Least Square Regression Analysis for plotting x, y coordinates, and error reduction. The procedure was used with weighted averages and rank-ordered to determine the most agreed upon option. The same procedure is used in building a consensus among Community advocates in this study, a few of whom are Millennials. In this study, Millennials act in a similar capacity as the SME’s in the Air Force Testing Center of Excellence. Relevant data is provided in the following tables though-out the study:
Table 1: Demographic Change in COVID-19 Rates.
Table 2: Reparations Demographic Survey.
Table 3: Percentage of Generational Support for Reparations.
Table 4: Generational Age Distribution.
Table 5: Millennial Attitudinal Survey.
Table 6: Focus Group Discussion Session Questions.
Table 7: Focus Group Census Data.
Table 8: Focus Group Ranking Data.
Table 9: Strategically Targeting Generations from an Ethical Perspective.
The disproportionate number of COVID-19 related deaths among enslaved African Americans and people of color exceeds the average for all races. The death rate among these racial groups was three times that of White Americans (APM Research Lab Staff, 2020). The higher than normal number of deaths can be attributed to a lack of wealth in the African American Community. The high cost of Health Care Insurance, coupled with lower than average employment rates, earnings, savings, and investment opportunities, contribute to the stresses of enslaved African Americans. The severity of the crisis is evident because almost one-half of enslaved African Americans hospitalized (4.7%). Of those hospitalized, (2.1%) died as a result of COVID-19. Although the Hispanic population (53 Million) outnumbered enslaved African Americans (41 Million), fewer Hispanics were hospitalized (4.6%). In proportion to the number hospitalized, (2.8%) died. See Table 1 (Pew Research Center, 2015).
Table 1. Demographic change in COVID-19 related infections and fatality rates.
Source: APM Research Laboratory, 2020.
Table 1 Data illustrates the connection between the lack of wealth and the high incidence of COVID relative deaths to the population of enslaved African Americans. Reparations are a form of recompense owed enslaved African Americans for a long-running history of Slavery. Indeed, Reparations are a plausible source of wealth for enslaved African Americans. It serves as a gap-filler with personal and community development amenities for a once enslaved people—Figure 1 (Darity Jr. et al., 2018).
Figure 1. Reparations cognition gap (RCG) consensus building.
The preparation of the survey questionnaire was the first order of business. A comprehensive checklist aided project coordinator to remain focused from start-to-finish. The survey used addressed critical dimensions of the research relative to Age and Race. The researcher actively used two enrolled PWCC Cohorts, who administer and gather survey data. The limited time constraint led to the field survey. Moreover, the survey distribution proved more effective than surveys posted on Survey Monkey. Those surveys generated extremely low response rates. Therefore, the researcher considered an alternative, launching instead of a field data collection plan. It would be conducted on the campus of the largest Community College in Central Mississippi. Fortunately, the survey administrators were students on this campus. They volunteered to distribute the surveys near the Student Services Center and selected courses with large enrollment. Although, COVID threatened close contact and communication, precautions were taken to mask, distance, sanitize, and observe a safe environment.
Focus Group (FG) sessions were challenging during these risky, yet trying times. COVID-19 introduced unplanned limitations on survey data acquisition. The ethnographic connotation of slavery’s impact on America’s consciousness merits more vested time to uncover the hidden truth. Enslaved African Americans have suffered for well over 400 years, without relief. No other race of people has been denied the history of their past. The enslaved African Americans have been led to believe that they are something that they are not. For fear of facing the truth about itself, America has labeled the enslaved African American, almost every possible name under the sun (Smith, 1992). During the 1950’s, they were referred to as “the Colored and Negros.” Signs of the time were visibly displayed almost everywhere: Signs of the time visibly displayed the racial discrimination of White Shop Owners, “White Folks Allowed Only!!,” and “We Don’t Serve the Coloreds.” This was the reality of life in America for the enslaved African American during the Jim Crow Era. A much deeper investigation of debt owed to enslaved African Americans is speculated to be an estimated $51 Trillion (Arends, 2019). Seriously, this offer amounts to compensating enslaved African Americans with pennies on the dollar. Let’s be clear, 400 years of forced, involuntary servitude, of which 250 years are illegitimately absconded, without regard for the Emancipation Proclamation. Moreover, the enormity of the immense opportunity cost trade-off to investigate this phenomenon alone is unimaginable, and it is often overlooked when planning and investigating these phenomenons.
Therefore, the researcher gathered data via Zoom, Facebook, the iPhone, and Electronic Mail. The Internet has been instrumental in making key contact for fact gathering, advisement and communication.
4. Results and Discussion
America should objectively deal with the haunting effects of Reparations, and it should do so before the “albatross” once again, raises its ugly head. Engaging in dialogue about Reparations is tantamount to a seemingly evasive, yet glaring issue haunting this nation. Three causative factors drive this study: 1) determining Millennial support for Reparations, 2) identifying the best form of Reparations from an ethical perspective, 3) investigating the Wealth Gap effect on the lives of enslaved African Americans during COVID-19 and similar events. The study concludes with implications for the integration of Marketing Communication in strategy formulation for Reparations. However, an examination of the Demographic Characteristics of Survey Respondents is provided in Table 2.
Table 2. Reparations demographic survey.
One Hundred Millennials completed surveys; however, seven of those surveys were unusable. Therefore, the research was predicated on ninety-three credible surveys. With a Confidence Interval of 95%, Population Size of 93, the margin of error, 5%, the ideal sample size would be 80 credible surveys is well within the required sample size for this study.
The survey’s purpose is to reveal demographic data about the respondents. Sharing meaningful demographic data infuses greater trust in the research’s credibility. Nevertheless, 33% of the survey respondents claimed Black and/or African American as their race. Sixty-one percent of the survey respondents were female and 39% were males. Twenty-two percent were White males and 34% were White females. Seventy-three percent of the survey respondents were Millennials between the ages of 20 - 35 years of age. Ten percent were Generation X’ers and Baby Boomers respectively.
H0 = White Millennials don’t fully support Reparation claims for enslaved African Americans.
H1 = White Millennials do fully support Reparation claims for enslaved African Americans. Millennials are the largest generation of Americans who support Reparations (73%) but are deeply divided by race. See Table 3.
Table 3. Percentage of generational support for reparations.
Table 3: Although Slavery occurred 400 years ago, attitudes changed noticeably with increases in age about slave Reparations. According to Jesse Holland (2016), 81% of older White adults are dead-set against granting Reparations to enslaved African Americans. The volume of support shifts slightly in the opposite directions when surveying Millennials about compensation of Reparations to enslaved African Americans. According to a NORC-Center for Public Affairs cited by Scottie Andrews (2018), 73% of African Americans support granting Reparations to enslaved African Americans; however, only 15% of older White Americans, fully support Reparations. The Washington Post reported similar findings among African Americans. According to Duchneskin (2020), 81% of Whites oppose Reparations to enslaved African Americans. The Post shows that 73% support Cash Reparations (Ernst). This finding concurs with the on-site survey conducted in this research. As a matter of fact, the Washington Post’s results from a one-month Gallop Poll conducted and released between June 19 and July 12, 2020. These survey results were gathered from a random sample of 2542 adults in the United States. Indeed, a number of other social developments serve as a catalyst for support for the compensations of enslaved African Americans. The Black Lives Matter Movement, for instance, has focused attention on the issue of inequality in the justice system, as well as policing reform in communities of color. To what degree these social reforms impact Reparations is indeterminate at this time; however, it is an agreed-upon fact that the dual justice system gives White litigants lighter sentences than enslaved African Americans for felony convictions. African American litigants often receive the maximum sentence for the same crime. The justification for this anomaly rest with the prosecutors since they are given broad discretion in determining penalties and times served for felony offenses. It is a simple matter of examining the evidence and outcome of court documented cases (Grossman, 2017). The judicial imbalance has won the support of politicians and others, who now recognize the inequities of the judicial system. The likely effect of this on the Reparations movement is indeterminate at this point; however, it’s enough to generate broader political support. Indeed, African Millennials unanimously support granting Reparations to enslaved African Americans (73%). Survey respondents avowing to be White Americans did not overwhelmingly support granting Reparations. Older Whites, Generation X’ers and Baby Boomers, do not support Reparations. In contrast, White Millennials are less supportive than African Americans Millennials. The opposition is concern about the economic integrity of deficit and this nation. Therefore, Millennials support Reparations if it can be provided without causing imperil to the American economy.
Table 3: The Generational Age Distribution. Although Generation X’ers and Baby Boomers show support for Reparations; however, they are less enthusiastic than Millennials and Generation Z. In retrospect, 2 Million more Millennials than other generational groups exist in America. Therefore, the research targets this segment of the population, and it does so because Millennials are more proactive in the Black Lives Matter Movement. Surprisingly, this movement has become a more diverse, multiracial attempt to reduce racial discrimination, biased, brutal policing of African Americans. Millennials are also achieving success across the social, economic and political specter. They have induced higher standards with the use of the internet. Millennials have revolutionized the communication prowess of the developed world. Therefore, it is only fitting that this generation of Americans be targeted over all the others for this study.
H3 = Enslaved African Americans prefer cash payments as Recompense.
H4 = Enslaved African Americans prefer other forms of Recompense.
Table 3: The Reparations Survey sought to elicit data from a cross section of three generations of respondents. However, fewer Generation X’ers and Baby Boomers completed the Reparations Survey. The survey raised questions about Reparations and wealth, political, social, and economic inequities in enslaved African American’s Communities, the forms of Reparations and the role of private and non-profits in the allocation and distribution of Reparations. A few key Likert-type questions were addressed in the survey. Those questions required a choice of: Strongly Agree, Agree, Undecided, Disagree or Strongly Disagree. A summary of key survey results are included herein: 1) 73% of enslaved African Americans support the outright granting of Reparations to victims of Slavery. However, only 27% White Millennials support the outright granting of Reparations. There is growing support among White Millennials for Reparations; however, 60% of White Millennials do not support Reparations for enslaved African Americans. Indeed, Planners and Strategist could implement effective marketing communication to convince White Millennials of future benefits for America. Whereas, older Whites, ages 55 plus years, strongly disagree with granting Reparations to enslaved African Americans. For this reason, White Millennials give the following excuses for not supporting Reparations: 1) Whites don’t feel that the contemporary African American is victim to Slavery; 2) Compensation to African Americans will only antagonize Whites; 3) Every race of people have been slaves. Forty-eight percent of African Americans surveyed felt that Reparations would help solve development problems in the African American Community; and 4) Twice as many Blacks as Whites felt that discrimination is the primary reason African Americans cannot get ahead. Table 4 shows the Generational Age Distribution.
Table 4. Generational age distribution.
Something really unique occurred during the 1980-1994 era. The population of Millennials exceeded every other Generation of Americans. Data shows that there are 73 Million Millennials in the United States (U.S. Census Bureau, 2019). Currently, Millennials have a 22% share of the total population. This represents a 5% increase in the population of Millennials, over the population of Baby Boomers (69 Million). Moreover, Millennials, alternatively called Generation Y are tech savvy, family centric, individualistic, and achievement oriented (Cain, 2019). The dynamics of the Reparations Cognitive Gap is shown in Figure 1.
In this study, consensus building for Reparations will consist of a seven-step process: problem identification, statement of opposing views, airing key concerns and solutions, sorting, using, and negotiating relevant solutions. Descending parties can negotiate to reach a consensus. However, if they cannot agree, subsequent discussion, sharing, sorting of ideas, negotiation follows until a consensus is reached. As Focus Group participants approach a consensus, the Reparations Cognitive Gap (RCG) is getting smaller. The objective of the Focus Group is to close the “gap” in opinions as much as possible. Focus Group Participants diplomatically coalesce a consensus on the relevant points about the granting of reparations to African American Slaves and their descendants. An illustration of the dynamics of the RCG is provided in Figure 1.
4.1. Focus Group Consensus Building Sessions
A Moderator led an intensive discussion addressing reparations, racism, equality, discrimination, and compensation. Table 6 provides some of the issues discussed during the sessions. Based on Focus Group Data, the most preferred and least preferred form of Reparations was Table 7. The survey results show that most Millennials and Focus Group participants prefer land above other suggested forms of Reparation (0.25). Education (0.64) and Health Care (0.78) followed in sequence as preferred choices. The least preferred forms of Reparations were Cash (0.16), Personal Debt Payoffs (0.16), and Tax Relief (0.16). The least preferred form of Reparations for Focus Group participants are Personal Debt Payouts (1.39), Tax Relief (1.58) and Government Benefits (1.66).
Focus Group Consensus Building energizes the momentum of support for Reparations of enslaved African Americans. The project’s objectives require the unmitigated support of contemporary Millennials, both African American and Whites. Sixty percent of White Americans Millennials, 18 - 39 years of age, actively oppose Reparations for enslaved African Americans. Twenty-seven percent support recompense of some kind, while 13% are undecided (Russ, 2019). Table 5 shows Millennial’s attitudes about Reparations.
Table 5. Millennial attitudinal survey.
Twenty-seven percent of White Millennials support Reparations for enslaved African Americans, while 60% do not. Moreover, only 18% of older Whites of Generation X and Baby Boomers, respectively support Reparations. Although 34% more Millennials support Reparations than Generation X’ers and Baby Boomers, Marketing Communication Strategy should be uniquely designed to effectively communicate a convincing message to the 13% who are undecided. Millennial’s Reparation support is twice that of all other generations: Generation X (18%) and Baby Boomers (18%). The 27% supporting Reparations is right at the average for all generations. While the number of African Americans supporting Reparations (59%) is almost twice that of White Millennial support (27%). Strategically targeting Undecideds with their mobile devices on Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and Social Media Campaigns facilitates communication. However, framing convincing messages to reach White Millennials with well-tailored messaging is just as important. Linkedin, Instagram and Facebook achieved unparalleled success with Millennials ages 18 - 29 during the 2012-2019 era. According to the Pew Center, 79% of Millennials was liking popular post, sharing with friends, family and frenemies on Facebook (FB). Instagram has achieved similar success among Millennials. Like Facebook, networks of friends, relatives and acquaintances are free to post social messages on the platform. The usage rate is estimated to be 67% for Instagram Platform users. Fewer Millennials use Linkedin, 28%; however, its popularity among business minded professional is unsurpassed and unlike any known social messaging platform of our time. Messaging professionals in business, government and academia can be strategically beneficial to those sharing the word about Reparations. Linkedin also has merit as a platform used to launch advertisements for raising Millennials acumen about Reparations. Each session discussion is provided in Table 6.
Table 6. Focus group discussion session questions.
The Moderator organized the Focus Group [FG] Session. The threat of COVID-19 modified the plans from an on-sight to a viral meeting of Focus Group participants. The eight Focus Group Participants held positions throughout the Community. Four rounds of questions were transmitted to each participant. The Moderator encouraged insightful thought-provoking ideas and commentary about Reparations. The First Round proceeded as follows:
Round 1: Reparations are good for enslaved African Americans: The topic of discussion addressed the question of Reparations in general. According to the Moderator, Reparations are good for the enslaved African Americans and the Community. Overall, Focus Group Participants agreed; however, their level of agreement was a reflection of their belief that the community-at-large reap benefits from Reparations. This perspective coincides with the Utilitarian Ethical Perspective discussed in Lamb, Hair and McDaniel (2016). This ethical philosophy parallels the notion that any proceeds from Reparations should benefit the masses. The long-term deprivation of wealth drained viable desperately needed resources from the Inner-City. White flight and the decay of the Inner-City led to an inferior low-quality K-12th grade education, drug infestation, and escalated crime. Record high unemployment has intensified the level of stress and feelings of hopelessness among inner-city and rural dwellers. Development Funds infused through a Reparations Development Fund would be instrumental to improving Inner-City lifestyles and standards of living of enslaved African Americans. The panel supported a more broad-based utilitarian ethical approach to personal and community development. Improving the quality of education at all levels, including Historically Black Colleges (HBCU’s) and Community Colleges for training purposes topped their list of suggestions. Other Focus Group Participants voiced support for small business grants and resourcing non-profits to support community development in urban and rural communities.
Program development for Reparations transcends pointless oration about merely making improvement. Trained Project Planners must masterfully guide and monitor the process with a formalized plan. Special interest-bearing funds for the trillion dollar Reparation funds deposited in African American owned and controlled banks, finance and investment administrative funds. These institutions should create a future source of program funding that operates and functions on interest only, not the principal investment. Hence, the Reparations becomes an interest bearing self-generating fund for future investment projects.
Round 2: Reparations will change the social, political and economic environment of enslaved African Americans. Also, Reparations will reduce economic and racial disparity in America. The acuity of Reparations is both valid and timely. Even with Cash Payments, Recompense for slavery carries a mixed bag of blessings; however, inherent paternalistic issues arise. The successful Black Wall Street thrived because the dollar turned over several times within that community. To ensure similar success, the Inner City and African American Rural Communities should plan similar autonomous wealth creating and generating strategies. Inner City and Rural Community Impact Studies implementing effective Marketing Communication Strategies with well-defined mission, objectives and goals would be meaningful to the enslave African American and beneficial to strategic planners.
Although General Sherman reneged on the promise of “40 Acres and a Mule,” the genius of enslaved African Americans successfully weathered and overcame hard-times. The coffers of enslaved African Americans lay bare for centuries; however, their will to survive with unjust, usually lower than average compensation, exclusion from property ownership, redlining and mortgage and employment discrimination show little evidence of stopping them. Hence, African American Owned and controlled Banking and Investment Accounts would benefit enslaved African Americans in personal and community development efforts.
Round 3: Reparations for enslaved African Americans discriminates against yellow and brown people, specifically Asians and Indians. Focus Group Participant saw virtually no credibility in arguing about this claim. Well over 400 years of forced labor services, without compensation, is justification enough for supporting Reparations, not to mention, the inhumane, brutality and savagery imposed upon the enslaved African Americans. The enslaved suckled the mistress young, raised them better than their own, tilled the cotton fields, harvested the crops and begged Master not to beat them, if he had a bad day. Nowhere in the annals of history did the Asians and Indians succumb to the harshness of this kind of treatment. The enslaved African Americans along sung praises to the heavens with hopes of one day being free.
Round 4: Compensation and Recompense: Focus Group Participants discussed whether individuals, organizations or someone else receive the Reparations. Also, how far back in time should Reparations be considered, 250 or 400 years? FG consensus weighted more than 250 years of uncompensated labor services, with the added penalty of cruel, harsh and unusual punishment. The Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 serves as a legitimate mark in the annals of history. The law establishes a code outlawing slavery, and legitimizing fair and just compensation for labor services. Hence, Reparations commences at the initial passage and adoption of this law.
The suggestion of delegating distribution responsibilities to Global Organizations is moot and unfounded. Although this was a Transcontinental Slave Trade, global organizations neither bear responsibility for letting the atrocity happen, nor should they reap any benefits subsequent to this travesty. With this, the Focus Group Moderator capped the discussion summary essential points and concluding the Focus Group Session. Participants preferred form of Reparations is shown in Table 7.
Table 7. Focus group census data.
Twenty-seven percent of White Millennials support Reparations for enslaved African Americans, while 60% do not. Moreover, only 18% of older Whites of Generation X and Baby Boomers, respectively support Reparations. Although 34% more Millennials support Reparations than Generation X’ers and Baby Boomers, Marketing Communication Strategy should be uniquely designed to effectively communicate a convincing message to the 13% who are undecided. Millennial’s Reparation support is twice that of all other generations: Generation X (18%) and Baby Boomers (18%). The 27% supporting Reparations is right at the average for all generations. While the number of African Americans supporting Reparations (59%) is almost twice that of White Millennial support (27%). Strategically targeting Undecideds with their mobile devices on Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter with Social Media Campaigns about Reparations facilitates communication. However, framing convincing messages to reach White Millennials with well-tailored messaging is the fundamental challenge. Linkedin, Instagram and Facebook achieved unparalleled success with Millennials ages 18 - 29 during the 2012-2019 era. According to the Pew Center, 79% of Millennials was liking popular post, sharing with friends, family and frenemy on Facebook (FB). Instagram has achieved untold success among Millennials. The website displays more robust real-to-life images [enslaved African Americans then and now], powerful for creating social brands [#Hashtags Reparations], a mobilizer for activism [Empowerment thru Reparations] and successfully created a new breed of Influencers [Arts, Athletics, Politics and Education]. Like Facebook, networks of friends, relatives and acquaintances are free to post social messages on the platform. The usage rate is estimated to be 67% for Instagram Platform users. Fewer Millennials use Linkedin, 28%; however, its popularity among business minded professional is unsurpassed and unlike any known social messaging platform of our time. Messaging professionals in business, government and academia can be strategically beneficial to those sharing the word about Reparations. Linkedin also has merit as a platform used to launch advertisements for raising ones Millennial’s acumen about Reparations. The most preferred form of Reparations after applying Least Square Regression is provided in Table 8.
Table 8. Focus group ranking data.
*Ascending Weighted Averages from the lowest (Most Preferred) to highest (Least Preferred).
Strategically targeting Millennials for Reparations is a cumbersome task at best. See Table 9.
Table 9. Strategically targeting generations from an ethical perspective.
Strategically targeting Millennials for Reparations is a cumbersome task at best. Unlike other generations, Millennials are truly unique, and strategy should be carefully deployed using a thoughtful, yet convincing approach. Millennials are individualistic, self-centered, and they value guidance, mentorship and flexibility at work. Generation Y also valued career development, collaborative work arrangements, autonomy under competent supervision and meaningful work unrestrained by undue artificial timelines.
Millennials are well-connected and spend a considerable amount of their time on Facebook and Instagram. For some Millennials, it’s a toss-up between the two; however, their personal characteristics determine their preferred Social Media Platform. Targeted Advertisements should be strategically positioned on Social Media with consideration of 1) Usage Rates; 2) Time and 3) Purpose. In other words, the frequency of Social Media Usage, whether its high, medium or low should be used as a Media Advertising Platform. The ads for Reparations should be persuasive; therefore, the ads should be Ethos, Pathos or Logos. In other words, are the ads launched for Ethos (ethical), Pathos (emotional) and or Logos (logic and reasoning) (Callaos & Callaos, 2014). Hence, Planners should determine the most effective advertising “modus operandi” that is, should the ad be structured to make an ethical, emotional, logic and or reasoning appeal.
COVID-19 created uncertain conditions and a countless number of deaths among generations of Americans. The same is true for Slavery in the United States where every man is granted inalienable rights, life, liberty and freedom. Both COVID-19 and the Transcontinental Slave Trade unveiled the truth about America’s sorted past. The glaring reality of COVID-19 resonates as a contemporary, true-to-life experience, unlike any other encountered before. However, the main commonality that both COVID-19 and the Transcontinental Slave Trade share is the trail of deaths among Africans and enslaved African Americans in the wake of its wrath. COVID-19’s savagery took the lives of 250,000 plus Americans, while the Transcontinental Slave Trade annihilated anywhere from 4M to 12M people by some accounts. Most of the dead from both COVID-19 and the Transcontinental Slave Trade were enslaved African Americans. The high incidence of death is due to a lower concentration of Wealth in enslaved African American Communities is attributable to COVID-19. Therefore, the infusion of Reparations into enslaved African American Communities reduces the Wealth Gap. The smaller Wealth Gap ensures more resources for personal, organizational, profit and non-profit development in the United States.
Indeed, the findings emanating from this study has resulted in the following findings:
With only 27% of White Millennials supporting Reparations for enslaved African Americans, 66% of them do not support Reparations for the enslaved. The objection resonates from the belief that descendants of the enslaved are not the actual victims of any acts against Slaves. Similarly, opponents voice concerns of discrimination against others, Asians and Native Americans. While others took a more selfish ethical approach, these egotists felt that at some point and time in one’s life, everyone has been a slave. Those advocating and avowing this position are indeed more biased along racial lines. Nevertheless, the researcher accepts H0 = White Millennials do not support Reparations claims for enslaved African Americans. The notion that H1 = Millennials do support Reparations Claim for enslaved African Americans is rejected.
Sorting the possible options for Reparations is very important. The future of the African American Community, and more importantly, America’s future is vested here. The absurd notion that African Americans will take the cash is so misleading. For the long-run benefits of future generations, land, education and health care ranked higher than the other choices. Hence, the researcher rejects H3 = Enslaved African Americans prefer cash payments to satisfy Reparations Claims and accept H4 = Enslaved African Americans prefer other forms of Reparations.
The Black Lives Matter Campaign, COVID-19 and the Widening Wealth Gap are catalyst to the research itself. Wealth disparity along racial lines is alarming. With current day Trumpism, where horrendous tax cuts benefited the top 1% and Big Business, the Wealth Gap will continue to grow. However, the Emancipation Proclamation and General Sherman set legal precedence with the promise of 40 Acres and a Mule. This promise was unfulfilled dampening the hopes, dreams and aspirations of millions of enslaved African Americans. Therefore, America has an obligation to make good on the promise. It is immaterial as to whether or not one is blameless regarding an injustice of long ago. Clearly, the Wealth and interest bred from the sweat, blood and tears of enslaved African Americans to make America what it is today is justification enough to grant enslaved African Americans Reparations. Hence, the researcher accepts H5 = Reparations are instrumental in reducing the Wealth Gap between Whites and enslaved African Americans. The notion that H6 = Reparations are instrumental in widening the Wealth Gap is rejected.
In conclusion, America’s destiny should be anchored in the ethical belief that “All Men are Created Equal.” This guarantee is set forth in the U.S. Constitution. Although the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 served a dual purpose: the preservation of the Union and freeing slaves. Despite the legalization of states’ rights, slaves were free, but African Americans continued enslaved under Jim Crow. The African American was three-fifths of a person. Moreover, African Americans were legitimately enslaved no matter where they went in the United States. This argument was raised in the Supreme Court; however, the court’s ruling denied Plessy’s appeal designating him as less than a man and forever a slave. The Civil Rights Movement of 1963 challenged the inequality and discrimination rampant in the United States. Even though the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King rallied the call for freedom, the vote, and the right to be a man in their own right. African Americans still continue to struggle with the widespread inequity, discrimination and the need to be “truly” free (King, 2019).
Hence, the debacle embracing America today is omnipresent in its refusal to repair the grave injustice of its past. It is neither enough to seek resolve nor disassociation from the reality of the past. However, it is time to strategically structure and embrace a plan of substantive compensation to the true victims of slavery. Although differences exist between African Americans and White Millennials, those differences relate to issues of entitlement. Two Hundred Fifty Years of forced, uncompensated labor services are grounds for consideration. The promise of 40 Acres and a Mule was unfulfilled, although the United States Government annexed thousands of acres of land to Europeans Immigrants. The land was settled in the West and Mid-Western Regions of the United States. Moreover, the United States Government established Land Grant Colleges to train and teach the Immigrants farming techniques. Since Jim Crow, the Federal Government has been complicit in discriminating in education, employment, and lending practices to the enslaved African Americans. Redlining has been instrumental in buttressing the inequities that affect America. It is refutable that Enslaved African Americans deserve a seat at the table. However, it is less clear about the method of Reparations. Clearly, the application of Least Square Regression Analysis and Focus Group Consensus Building Model showed Land, Education and Health Care as the highest ranked forms of Reparations. Millennials and Generation Z, the COVZY Generation as seen by yours truly, benefit substantially from future interest bearing properties associated with land. Land ownership has inherent regenerative attributes beneficial to the future health of generations to come. Food, fuel, and fiber possess regenerative properties as bi-products of land with future benefits for Millennials, Generation Z, the COVZY Kids.
In reply to the disgruntle White Millennials our country has always provided free land and education to Western pioneers. The idea of Free health care and education is no anomaly. The United Arab Emirates provide free health care and education to its citizens. Norway, Finland, Sweden, Germany, France and Denmark offer free or near tuition-free education to its citizenry. Hence, the United States touts itself to be the most powerful, riches country in the world, and it has the obligation to pay this debt.
Millennials and Generation Z, “the COVZY Generation”, are tech-savvy, well-connected, and mobile. Whatever strategy used should connect with them where they are. Communication, transportation, and technology are dynamic and ever-changing. Therefore, the strategy should integrate popular Social Media Platforms, including YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram in sharing the message of Reparations. Marketers should consider using Electronic billboards lining America’s highways and byways, strategically positioning and marketing the message deep within the tunnels beyond the subway’s turnstiles. Well integrated Internet and digital visuals, audio-generated messages either strategically communicated using an ethos (persuasion by being authoritative), pathos (persuasion by appealing to emotion), and or logos (persuasion by appealing through logic) strategy targeting White and African American Millennials are instrumental to guaranteeing success. Indeed, Planners should determine the most persuasive Marketing appeal. The macroenvironment changes and there may be a grain of truth in the saying that “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus” (Gray, 1992). The level of emotion or logic used in creating these persuasive advertisements depends upon the characteristics of the segment of targeted Millennials themselves. However, there is little credence in the belief are more logical or emotional than the other. Nevertheless, closer analysis through careful and deliberate investigation should reveal where the persuasive appeals for Reparations should be positioned.
The researcher makes the following recommendations to Planners and Strategist for Marketing Reparations to Millennials:
1) Stakeholders should consider aligning themselves in partnership agreements. This tenuous, yet profitable agreement should yield returns to all parties over the long haul. Compensation should be both adequate and sufficient to appease the victims for nearly 250 years of free, uncompensated labor. The most popular forms of Reparations are land distribution, free health care and education. Social benefits accrue to partners for land development projects, agricultural enhancement and development. African American owned and controlled investment banks, corporate and private enterprise, including small businesses should reap benefits from each of the carefully tailored programs.
2) Urban development should rank high on the list of priorities with Reparations. African Americans tend to live in urban communities. Public transportation, access to retail grocery stores, employment hubs, and assess to quasi-public, and private enterprise ranks high among the reasons for urban residency. Therefore, abundant opportunities exist for the right investors supplementing governmental funding of Reparations. The public sectors reap benefits in the form of Community Development, sales, excise, and property taxes. More vibrant communities produce lower taxes and increased revenue for future investment and development of inner cities.
3) Reparations could be a win-win for everyone and it can lead to peace-of-mind for everyone. The supporters and the opposition enjoy a higher standard of living and quality of life. Reparations should not be a “zero sum game.” It should, however, be an investment venture where all stakeholders reap benefits and enjoy the returns.
4) Reparations would reduce the Reparations Cognitive Gap (RCG). Persuading non-supporters to embrace Reparations, strengthens the economic prowess of America, while simultaneously enhancing the wealth effect of African Americans and our nation at large.
5) “Meeting of the Minds” and reaching a consensus among opposing parties is essential to gaining support for Reparations. Millennials completing surveys and Focus Groups expressed support for Reparations for African American Slaves and descendants. This serves as recompense for past exploitation of African American Slaves and their descendants.
6) COVID-19 Pandemic simply revealed some very disturbing yet ignored issues about America. The notion of “one nation under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all” is an anomaly for the African American. A long history of racism originating nearly 400 plus years ago is interwoven into the fabric of our nation. Structural racism pervades virtually many public and private institution of America. The impact resonates in discrimination in health care, education, housing, banking, and the church. Racism has resulted in the perpetuation of two worlds: one for the have and one for the have nots. The only thing that comes between them is the wealth gap. Reparations for African Americans and their descendants is an effective method of closing the gap. Millennials are targeted as the generation equipped to successfully bring together two separate and unequal worlds. Indeed, the researcher acknowledges the need to expand the sample size beyond the current population. Although the Gray Generation, Baby Boomers, Generation X’ers, and Generation Z, the COVZY Generation are impacted by the research, this study focuses, specifically on Millennials. This study investigates the reasons why White and African American Millennials disagree about granting Reparations to Enslaved African Americans. Reconciling the differences of opinions between White and African Americans about Reparations is at the heart of this study. The research does not address other generations of Americans; however, future studies addressing the question of recompense are recommended. The relatively small sample size does not adequately shed light on the problem at hand. However, it does provide decision makers with greater insight into the minds of Millennials in terms of what is important to them. Moreover, the study carefully ranks the recommended forms of Reparations. Land, Education and Health Care ranked high among priorities for Millennials. With growing debt for college, Millennials ranked Reparations for Education, including educational loan forgiveness for Enslaved African Americans. Surprisingly, cash does not rank high as a priority for Millennials.
The credibility of the statement, “From the Millennial’s ethical perspective, by virtue of the enormity of injustice, it is only right and fitting that the United States grant Reparations to Enslaved African Americans.”
Furthermore, this study addressed Reparations for enslaved African Americans while supplementing the literature in the following ways:
1) Demonstrating that Millennials are more proactive in advancing the cause of Reparations for enslaved African Americans than any other Generations;
2) Showing that contrary to popular beliefs, Millennials are not homogeneous in supporting Reparations;
3) Advancing strategy for reconciling differences well beyond entitlement among Millennials; and,
4) Introducing the Reparations Cognitive Gap (RCG) into the literature as a critical factor for building a Consensus among Millennials, as well as, the acronym for Generation Z, the “COVZY Generation”. Like Generation X’ers, the “Latchkey Kids”, were basically home bound entertained by television and video games. Generation Z, the COVZY Kids will be forever “marred” or characterized by the wrath of COVID-19. This deadly virus loomed across the globe claiming the lives of nearly 250,000 lives. The lack of wealth proved to be a significant factor in the higher than average number of deaths of enslaved African Americans who succumbed to COVID-19. The lower Wealth Effect reduced quality health care access, but it raised the fatality rate of enslaved African Americans succumbing to COVID-19, well above all other races of people.
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