Tamika, check your mail!
I got this check in the mail for, well, I can't even type how much, it's just too overwhelming. It looked like it came from the federal government, because it looked like the tax refund check I got that one time. I hadn't seen a check like this for a while so I was skeptical. I thought maybe it was an internet scam. I looked more closely at the check and it read "Department of Truth and Reconciliation.” Of course I thought to myself this cannot be right, when has our country ever been concerned with truth or reconciliation? So I called the 800 number on the check. Sure enough, someone answers the phone in a cheery sing-song voice.
“Hello, Department of Truth and Reconciliation. What can we make right for you today?”
“Um, I got this check in the mail…” I said, cautiously.
“That’s wonderful! We love hearing from recipients of our programs. Are you Native American, African American, or Iraqi?” She asks as if each one of those categories holds some kind of prize, like a game show host asking me if I want what’s behind door number one, two or three.
“African American.” I say worried that maybe that means that I have to give the money back.
“Great! I am very sorry for the delay it’s taken our country to repay your ancestors for all the work they did to build up the economic structure of this nation. Without them we really would never be the country we are today.”
“Did you have any questions about cashing the check?”
“No, I mean…I can cash it?”
“Yes of course, this one won’t bounce. Now, do you have any unpaid student loans?”
“Um, yeah, about $65,000 worth.”
“Wow, school sure has gotten expensive over the last several years, hasn’t it? Well I will send you the forms for you to fill out to have those loans repaid. It’s the least we can do for keeping you all out of the good schools for so long. What is your mailing address?”
“Uh…” I mumbled my mailing address to the happy lady. I was in a bit of a daze at this point. That got quickly broken by her next question.
“Now, pardon me for being so forward in asking, but do you have any relatives in jail?”
I paused. This is not my favorite question.
“Yeah, my uncle Charles.”
“Did Charles commit a non-violent crime?”
“Yeah, he was accused of robbing a convenience store, but no one could ever really prove…”
“Well bless his heart,” She interrupted my knee-jerk justification for the shame of having a family member in jail.
“Well, you let him know that our plan for releasing non-violent offenders, particularly those who committed economic driven crimes is well underway. We should have him out in about a month. Get your guest room ready!”
“Wha…?” I was so stunned I could barely eek out more than a grunt.
“Now, one last question, if you don’t mind. I don’t want to take up too much of your time, Lord knows we’ve taken enough from you already.”
“Do you have any children or family members under the age of 18?”
“Yes, I do,” again, my worry kicks in, figuring that like Social Security the government is going to foist this burden on the younger generation, and it will turn out that my kids end up paying for the crimes of this country instead of those whose ancestors committed them.
“Great!” She is so enthusiastic about all of this. “You can give me their addresses, or have them contact me or visit our office. They’ll want to fill out paperwork so that they can have their college education paid for in full. We’re sorry to say though, that we can only cover the first four years, graduate degrees go through a different department.”
"Um, o...kay. I'll tell them."
“Okay almost done with the interrogation…aw geez, sorry I didn’t mean to say something offensive. That silly little joke can be a real stinger for our Iraqi callers. Don't worry I am going to log that in the fine book, and pay up for that one. I’m still working on this spontaneous mouth of mine. But anyhoo, where was I? Oh, yes, did you want to participate in our ‘Talking Reparations’ program? If you do, I’ll pair you up with a white person who will offer you a complete and total, informed apology for the decades of white privilege and racial hierarchy that followed the enslavement of your ancestors. The program is experimental but so far, with our re-education program, us white people are doing a pretty good job.”
“Uh…no, no thanks. Well, could you send me some information about that In case I want to join later?”
Absolutely, you just take your time, we’ll be here!”
“Lastly, let me get your social security number as well, we’re going to exempt you from paying the reparations tax. We surely don’t want you footing the bill for your own apology!”
A New Day has Dawned.
We can't believe how much America has turned around! Every week we'll bring you a new story of how our fair country has become more...fair.
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One Love (for real this time),
Jamal and Tamika
Nov 24, 2008
Tamika, check your mail!