‘Reparations pricing’: Kingston event asks whites to pay; offers free admission for people of color

A local radio station and a grass roots activist group are teaming up to put on a free concert at Kingston Point that will highlight the issue of reparations to African-Americans for slavery and institutional racism.

The Radio Kingston-sponsored show dubbed “The Fall Fling” is slated for this Sunday, Sept. 23 at 2 p.m. The show will feature a hip-hop dance party with Radio Kingston DJ Micah Blumenthal and a performance by “Mystic Bowie’s Talking Dreads,” a band that offers reggae interpretations of the music of iconic New Wave band Talking Heads.

The event features a voluntary “reparations pricing” structure which asks white attendees to make a suggested donation of $10.79 (107.9 being Radio Kingston’s new FM frequency) to cover their own admission, as well as free admission for nonwhite people. Event organizers say that they included the deliberately provocative (but entirely voluntary) pricing scheme to spark discussion around the issue of reparations.

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“We want people to maybe be a little shocked by it,” said Callie Jayne who hosts “Rise Up Radio” on Radio Kingston and is a founder of the grass roots racial and economic justice group Rise Up Kingston. “To get the discussion started in our community.”

The issue of reparations for slavery has been around since at least 1865 with the never-fulfilled promise of “40 acres and a mule” for newly freed slaves. An effort to form a committee to examine potential reparations has been stalled in Congress since the late 1980s. “The Case for Reparations,” an influential 2014 article in The Atlantic by author Ta-Nehisi Coates, sparked renewed interest in the issue. In the article, Coates argues that even setting aside slavery, a case for reparations to black Americans can be made based on decades of Jim Crow laws, racist housing and lending practices and discriminatory federal policies that cumulatively hobbled black families’ ability to accrue and pass on wealth and property to subsequent generations. Supporters of reparations also argue that the impact of both slavery and state-sponsored racism are still felt by African Americans today.

“We don’t know where exactly we are going to go, we don’t know what reparations would look like,” said Jayne. “But we do know that there are families struggling locally that have been impacted by the legacy of slavery.”

The Fall Fling is part of a broader effort to begin a conversation about reparations on the local level. Jayne has addressed the issue on her “Rise Ip Radio” program on Radio Kingston as has Blumenthal on his weekly hip-hop show. Radio Kingston Station Manager Jimmy Buff said he sees the reparations discussion as in line with the community-based radio station’s mission to facilitate conversations on a local level.

“We want to have community conversations about a lot of things,” said Buff. “We think this is an important one but it’s by no means the only one. We believe our city is a place where people can talk to each other.”

Jayne said Rise Up Kingston hoped to follow up on the concert with a community-wide conversation in about a month. Meanwhile, she said, the show at Kingston Point was open and welcoming to all, regardless of their views on reparations.

“If you don’t agree with this, that’s great,” said Jayne. “Just come enjoy a reggae concert with your community.”

There are 22 comments

  1. SG

    So, do I get my $87,581.57 paid in annual taxes back then? ‘Cause that’s what comes out of my paycheck
    every single year to pay for social services, schools, fire, food stamps, jobs training, substance abuse, medical services and other public support into the community. Now, to all the haters, I AM FINE PAYING THIS EVERY YEAR because I believe we need to support the entire community and that mostly means paying taxes into
    social programs…but my ancestors were poor white farm labor who were frankly taken advantage of for most of their lives…and we had not connection to the slave trade…which people want to ignore WAS IN FACT driven by Wealthy Africans selling Poor Africans to the White Slave Trade…(I know NO ONE WANTS TO TALK ABOUT THAT…BUT…).

    Just keeping the “provocative” conversation moving along…I WILL attend, and I WILL PROBABLY DONATE $50…but there’s a little B#&*SH@T in this reperations theory.

  2. gerald berke

    this says “The African Ameican community needs fixing. It is going to cost a lot of money. Be prepared”
    It is surely the result of slavery, old Jim Crow, New Jim Crow and the breathtaking amount of overt and covert systemic prejudice against African Americans in the United States. It is insane that it still exists and it is more troubling that real damage has been done that will take at least a generation to get durable and robust results.
    But money doesn’t necessarily empower, doesn’t attract people who believe in the work and want to help, it attracts a lot of people who want money.
    That attraction doesn’t discriminate.
    And however I would hope to be objective, my views have to be affected by my being “white”, so there’s that.

    1. JusticeforAll

      True; many peoples throughout history were enslaved, including the Irish. The Hooley celebrates Irish Culture. And it’s free. Just like the Fall Fling.

    2. klg53

      The admission price is symbolic of the inequality of that has and still exists in this country for people of color. It is intended to generate conversations that will hopefully have people asking questions. If that scares you, or makes you hate someone, you should ask yourself why because you can choose to go, don’t go, or even go and not pay the suggested donation which will go to the Radio Kingston Community Fund. By the way, ‘the city’ has nothing to do with this event.
      If the Irish wish to hold a similar event, they are welcome and as long as they have good beer, I’ll go.

  3. Anthony Gasparini

    For this radio station to propose such a scheme is INSULTING. I will not be attending nor will I listen to this radio station. The management of this radio station owes its listeners an apology. What are you trying to start here.Slavery from 200 years ago has nothing to do with the people of color today.i will be posting this arrival on my public news feed so be prepared!

    1. JamaicaonHudson

      Uh, the radio station “owes its listeners an apology” but, since you’re not a listener, what’s it to you?

      FYI, I don’t like a great many things–Kanye’s new music, traffic on the Tappan-MarioC-Zee Bridge, Diane Neal’s Harvard Extension School “degree”, faux-Puritanicals with too much righteous indigination/time –however, luckily, I can avoid them. That’s the same for those who feel “insulted” by this concert/publicity stunt. It’s not a mandatory to attend–or listen to the radio station. However, if the weather holds up, it does sound like fun. It’s also a clever way to bring attention to a social justice issue (while promoting the radio station, the band and the Kingston Point Beach as a venue).

      That said, I’m not telling you what to do: Post whatever “arrival”(?) you want on your feed…Ofcourse, I won’t be listening, watching, or reading it–which is my constitutional right.

    2. Kevin L Godbey

      The admission price is symbolic of the inequality of that has and still exists in this country for people of color. It is intended to generate conversations that will hopefully have people asking questions. If that scares you, or angers you, you should ask yourself why because you can choose to go, don’t go, or even go and not pay the suggested donation which will go to the Radio Kingston Community Fund. By the way, ‘the city’ has nothing to do with this event. Why are you afraid of the conversation?

  4. Barbara

    I absolutely “refuse” to pay ANY so called “reparations”. My white family came over in the 1920’s..That is 65 years AFTER slavery ended. And to ask or tell white people they have to pay for an event that black people enter for free is reverse discrimination and hate. I refuse to to be taken advantage by your predujiced event..I wipe my shoes on it. So get over it.

  5. AM

    Slavery around Kingston or even ny get the fuck over it any race should have the pay the same amount to attend your talking of something over a hundred years ago who is going to get 40 acres and a mule in NY SMH some people…..#AllLivesMatter

  6. DL Polat

    I think this scheme is an excellent way to bring attention to the topic of reparations and racial injustice. No apology needed by the radio station. In fact, they should be commended for having the guts to even address this sensitive topic. I am certainly going to show my support, as well as enjoy the music!

  7. Happy Cloud

    There are still First-Nation people in Kingston. You didn’t kill us all. You have not destroyed our Spirit. Accountability, truth and rectification are good for all parties involved. Dr. King told the Truth. It’s not a matter of race or religion, it’s a matter of economics. The worker is kept poor and ill-informed, for the sake of shareholder greed… that can never feel satisfied…. Let’s all stand together here on this land that was stolen with lies, violence and murder. Show some respect for yourself! Stand-up and insist that your Treaties, that your word, that your actions, be honored. Thank you.

  8. PB

    I’ve never heard of such a thing. It’s reverse discrimination. I love my fellow black citizens, but this issue is sure to enrage an already bigoted population that Chumpy Cheese has emboldened. Please, don’t do this.

  9. Victor E OfThePeople

    Imagine if it was reversed, white people got in free and Blacks/Asians etc had to pay an entry fee? Would you still feel the same way?

    America elected its first mulatto president and came close to electing a woman as president, haven’t we as Americans moved beyond the ‘reparations’ fallacy?

  10. Gerard McCluskey

    Dumb. Only encourages divisiveness. AND…. being that this Reggae, which is from Jamaica, a former British colony, they should direct the bill across the pond!! Reggae, as a wonderful form of music genre, did not exist until 100 years after slavery! These promoters should get their history straight before they start claiming oppression, demanding reparations, and encouraging the continuance of this fear of each other. Being that this event is being held in Kingston, NY, I would point out that New York did not have Jim Crow laws and was a major route to freedom for slaves escaping the south with the underground railroads. Also, since it’s being brought up, why don’t we celebrate the New Yorkers, especially the Irish, that fought and died for the freedom of slaves in South! How about we celebrate that! Read a book or 2 kids!

    1. One Spliff

      Reggae is the inverse of American Country-and-Western music. That’s what they heard in Jamaica, turned the beat around, and identified themselves as being religiously akin to the Hebrew Children. “By the Rivers of Babylon, was there we wept….”.

      Don’t patronize me.

  11. Ami Tahba

    I see. So point out racism by showcasing a Rastafarian band. Rastafarians are well known to espouse extremely sexist and homophobic beliefs. The left is truly eating itself. I love my black friends and neighbors. We are all appalled by this gross pandering and divisiveness by the radio station. I’m gonna take a guess that it was a “well-meaning” white persons idea?

  12. JAH

    Reparations ?? The africans who were sent to America as slaves, were captured and enslaved by other africans, who then sold them to the slave traders who sold them to Americans. The africans who remain in Africa are the descendants of the original slavers. If anyone owes reparations to todays african-americans, it is the africans who are still in Africa !

    1. Abe, Izzy and Jack

      And don’t forget Joseph, who was sold into slavery by his brothers?

      You are being ethnocentric, comparing one culture to another culture. There were American Indian black slave owners in this country. The Civilized Tribes of the East Coast (Cherokee for one) were called so because they adopted the White-man’s institution of slavery. As for the Black Calvary after the Civil War, they were sent out as Indian killers in the West.

      It’s a coat of many colors?

      an

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