Monday, May 27, 2024

The ‘F.A.S.S.’ formula for reparations

October 24, 2023 by  
Filed under Conversation

By Darryl L. Fortson, M.D. 

What are the criteria for a fair adjudication amount for reparations? Scholars and activists have debated this for decades. AASRT, Inc. has calculated a value formulaically derived from net worth data readily available in the public domain. While there are many different ways to calculate such an amount, our organization feels that whatever method is used, a total reparations amount should meet four key criteria (“F.A.S.S.”): 

1. It should be finite. It is important that all parties involved have one fixed goal amount to work toward. Whether that fixed goal is a number or a formula that generates a number, such a benchmark gives unity of goal and provides a point of closure for the process. We are due equality, and we cannot be equal in a capitalistic society until our net worth is equal. One of the ways he seeks unity is through human equality, not superiority — white or otherwise. We should get what makes us equal, which is readily calculable through net worth data. Net worth equality is our economic reparational goal. If Blacks get what makes us equal, we can all get that which will make us free. 

2. It should be attainable. The figure of $13.166 trillion dollars over the next 100 years is an amount that is attainable within that specified time frame. The federal government’s rapid mobilization of about 38% of that amount in a matter of weeks in response to the devastating economic consequences of COVID, shows that if America decides that reparations justice is worth funding, it can be funded — and we are not even making any current direct requests of the federal government for reparations at this time, since it is crystal-clear they are not going to pay them. Collecting an average of over $131 billion a year from largely private sources over the next 100 years would be nearly impossible — but using federal dollars to create a wealth structure through banking and the dismantling of structural and institutional racism, combined with privately collected funds being distributed and grown in revenue, growth, and interest-bearing vehicles is not. This is how the American economy has grown — through investment and growth. This is how the African-American economy should be repaired and grow as well. 

3. It should be significant. Blacks did not suffer trivial losses in slavery and therefore do not deserve trivial compensation. The amount paid should be large and discomforting to America; slavery and its lingering sequelae have been large and discomforting to us. Nevertheless, it is of great importance that we pursue reparations, not retribution — since reparations are a fruit of mercy by God to the repairer and the repaired alike. 

4. It should be sufficient to meet the needs of the entirety of all African-Americans. The equality needed by Black folks in America is equity in net worth with the majority population. Every Black person in America now living has been injured by slavery; therefore, every one of them needs to be blessed by reparations. If all of us aren’t moved forward, then, really, none of us are. AASRT is committed to reparations fund management that will ensure that every African-American — whether imprisoned, homeless, the working poor, middle class, affluent, or wealthy — will economically benefit from the blessings of reparations as we continue to make “An Investment In Justice.” 

Darryl L. Fortson is a practicing Las Vegas physician and the Executive Director of AASRT, Inc. (, a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to ending the racial net worth gap through a reparations paradigm. 

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