How our world’s racist history can be digitized for an equitable future
Family’s around the world have memories of their heritage hidden in closets, resting under beds, tucked away in photo albums or maybe hanging on their walls. Firsthand accounts of struggle, hardship, breakthroughs, successes, death, birth and every other emotional high and low the generations have experienced are captured in photos, official documents, letters, newspapers and more. There is a web of historical records that are hidden in every home across the planet.
Meanwhile, the idea of righting the wrongs of the past through reparations is tied up in political double-talk sprinkled with some legitimate debate and a nightcap of internet bumper stickers. What if all the red tape could be completely thrown out and the good ‘ole USA could do what it does best by turning the past into a capitalist endeavor?
There are both monetary and historical reasons to pull family records out of closets and from underneath beds so they can be organized and distributed to the public.
On the historic front, these records bring the individual human element to the broader historical strokes that are painted in history books. They put names and faces to movements and atrocities. Imagine a UGC database that captures and expresses the deeper meaning of every family’s keepsake. The chance to take a single story that has been one family’s defining story and source of reflection and inspiration and scale it so the world can contribute their story and experience others.
On the monetary side, these records have value. Some more than others, but many of them have value and for the first time there is a way for individuals to unlock that value – NFTs. This a chance to move past charity and goodwill and get paid. This is a chance to circumvent political posturing and public money to move to the private sector and get paid.
People who have records that show their family member, their tribe, their congregation, their country and so on were robbed of something that was rightfully theirs (their land, their home, their property, their wages, their loved ones or their life) have a path to making that record available and purchasable as an NFT while simultaneously bringing personalized history out of the closet and to the public.
I propose a repository is created that allows people from all over the world to create NFTs from their family’s personal story as part of our collective story. This repository should organize the past in a way that brings these personal connections to broader historical tragedies (genocide, slavery, occupation, segregation and so on) while creating a marketplace for collectors, speculators, non-profits and more to bid on these NFTs and compensate the families in some way for their loss.
Further, owners (private, commercial and/or philanthropic) of existing historical records can generate a totally new revenue stream by creating NFTs of their item(s). This is found money and it affords them the opportunity to add any blood relatives to the smart contract so they can participate in redistributing the money that was never paid out.
This is just a real-time rant, but there is an opportunity here and I hope the groups that are working on this will entertain creative solutions that have a real chance of moving things forward. I’m happy to talk to anyone that feels this tactic could play an important role in their strategy.