Centuries of history and decades of scholarly research have left no doubt that the legacy of slavery, post-slavery economics, Jim Crow laws, redlining, discriminatory lending, and other anti-Black policies have made it unfairly difficult for Black Americans to accumulate wealth. In 2016, the net worth of a typical white family was $171,000, while that of a Black family was $17,150—a staggering disparity that illustrates the impact of generational wealth.

Put plainly, money makes money, and racist policies have directly kept money out of the hands of Black Americans for generations. (Not to mention the wealth that was literally taken from Black people's labor and placed in the pockets of white enslavers for generations.) That's the impetus behind the idea of reparations—that the damage done by actively denying people economic opportunity due to the color of their skin be repaired financially.

Whenever the topic of reparations comes up, there are naturally questions about who, how, how much, and why. As Trevor Noah pointed out, that's mainly a conversation for Black Americans to have with the U.S. government. But one municipality has come up with a form of reparations for local residents that answers those questions directly.

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