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Klavan: How Is Sleep A Form Of Reparations?

We've all heard of reparations, the idea that African Americans are owed monetarily for the injustices committed by the United States government for their involvement in the slave trade, and for the hundreds of years slavery existed on the North American continent. The idea goes that, because of slavery, descendants of slaves in the U.S. have had generations of wealth robbed from them, therefore stunting their economic growth. Because of this, a leg-up is needed in order to level the playing field.

That's easy enough to understand, whether you agree with that logic or not, but now one writer is arguing that reparations should also include "rest." Andrew Klavan took a look at this article on Thursday's episode of "The Andrew Klavan Show."

"So I have to end with what has to be my favorite story of the week," said Klavan. "It’s a review of an art installation called 'Black Power Naps' by Janine Francois, and the headline is 'Reparations for Black People Should Include Rest.' It says: 'Just as sleep deprivation was used as a means to control slaves, the modern-day "sleep gap" weighs down many black people today. Black Americans are five times more likely than white Americans to get less than six hours of sleep per night.'"

The article opined, "'Black Power Naps' complicates the idea of reparations for black people, reminding us that reparations are not solely about money, but also time. Time is an asset in capitalism; it is, in itself, a kind of privilege that has translated into financial wealth for white people. If we reframe centuries of unpaid slave labor as sick leave, annual leave, or overtime, then we, the descendants of the enslaved, are heavily owed."

"We need to give them our sleep," Klavan joked. "You know, somebody has got to teach people, on the Left in general, really on both sides, has got to teach people that words can take you anywhere. They can take you into all kinds of nonsense and make it sound realistic."

He explained: "Think for a minute. I mean, think for a minute about reparations. If you just use your imagination, can you imagine reparations making anyone’s life any better? Can you imagine being paid for nothing that happened to you by people who did nothing to you? Can you imagine that making your life better? But can you imagine also the idea that you are somehow owed vacation days because of slavery? That you are owed vacation days because of things that happened to dead people that were done by dead people? I mean, it's nuts. It is nuts and it's just the wonder, the absolute glory of language that it can take you into these crazy places and make you sound sane."

Klavan joked, "Listen, if anyone is owed sleep, it's me damnit. In fact, I'm demanding right now that you send your sleep to me because I’m so far behind. If I could have the hours that I lie awake back, I would be 27."

Video and transcript below:

So I have to end with what has to be my favorite story of the week. It’s a review of an art installation called 'Black Power Naps' by Janine Francois, and the headline is 'Reparations for Black People Should Include Rest.' It says:
"Just as sleep deprivation was used as a means to control slaves, the modern-day ‘sleep gap’ weighs down many black people today. Black Americans are five times more likely than white Americans to get less than six hours of sleep per night.”
I must be partly black.
“They're more likely than white Americans to feel sleepy during the day, and on average get an hour less sleep per night than white Americans. There’s no scientific consensus on what, specifically, causes the sleep gap. As reported by The Atlantic in 2015, however, leading theories point to both experiences of discrimination and structural inequality—aspects of one’s environment that make one feel unsafe and insecure—as root causes. Just as sleep deprivation was used as a means to control slaves, the modern-day sleep gap continues to weigh down many black people, like me, today. I can feel it in me: It breaks my spirit, as I exist in between half-conscious states; never fully awake or asleep, never able to distinguish between the two. This may be the true power of racism—its force encompasses everything, seeping into our dreams at night and deflating our capacity to envision a better future.”
Let me tell you, she’s describing my life. Anyway, she goes into this art installation, where black people are supposed to take a nap. She says:
“'Black Power Naps' complicates the idea of reparations for black people, reminding us that reparations are not solely about money, but also time. Time is an asset in capitalism; it is, in itself, a kind of privilege that has translated into financial wealth for white people. If we reframe centuries of unpaid slave labor as sick leave, annual leave, or overtime, then we, the descendants of the enslaved, are heavily owed.”
They are owed a lot of vacation time. Vacation time...
“We also have reason to be restless, angry, and ready to explode. This sentiment is shared by the artists, who believe a call to action means 'front lines existing in our bedrooms as well as in the streets.'”
This is what black people need, more sleep. We need to give them our sleep. You know, somebody has got to teach people, on the left in general, really on both sides, has got to teach people that words can take you anywhere. They can take you into all kinds of nonsense and make it sound realistic. Think for a minute. I mean, think for a minute about reparations. If you just use your imagination, can you imagine reparations making anyone’s life any better? Can you imagine being paid for nothing that happened to you by people who did nothing to you? Can you imagine that making your life better? But can you imagine also the idea that you are somehow owed vacation days because of slavery? That you are owed vacation days because of things that happened to dead people that were done by dead people? I mean, it’s nuts. It is nuts and it’s just the wonder, the absolute glory of language that it can take you into these crazy places and make you sound sane.
But I just love the idea that we owe black people sleep. Listen, if anyone is owed sleep, it’s me damnit. In fact, I’m demanding right now that you send your sleep to me because I’m so far behind. If I could have the hours that I lie awake back, I would be 27.
 
 
 

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