We live on a continent taken from a people by violence, betrayal, and disease -- some of it intentionally spread through government policies. Sorry, the average American are direct beneficiaries of the atrocities of the past. Some of us don't know or chose to ignore it.
Update: I didn't say this to justify terrible things people are doing. We can't play this game of "only the most moral of us can criticize". Something is immoral in and of itself, it doesn't matter who calls it out.
This is true for most humans alive in nearly all nation-states today. At some point in the linear chain of humanity that allows my existence today, atrocities were committed. Whether an ancient ancestor strangling a potential threat with their bare hands, or the nation-state I was born in acquiring land through militaristic expansion.
How can I, as a person, talk with my money to prevent this? How can Lockheed Martin, a corporation whose fiduciary obligation is to generate profit for its shareholders, prevent this? How can the US government, who benefits greatly from a prosperous diplomatic relationship with the Monarch, prevent this?
> not caving to them
Fundamentally what I am saying is these institutions are not "caving in" - they are doing what they are doing because, from an emotionless game-theoretical perspective, it is beneficial to the success and longevity of the institution.
Apple benefits from an increasingly strong business relationship (the new diplomacy of the multinational) with mainland China - not just for their supply chain, but also for their marketshare.
These benefits have cost. For US-KSA the cost is tens of thousands of Yemeni civilian lives; for Apple the cost is decreased mindshare of the sovereign nationstate of Taiwan.
With your personal money? You can't. Can you convince extremely wealthy people to spend their money in a way that will ultimately lose them money? Possible, but still losing odds.
See Confessions of an Economic Hitman by John Perkins for an example of what this fight looks like. (he was one of the guys who paved way for the original deals between the US and Saudi Arabia that you mention)
Or, for a far less conspiratorial take on the same phenomenon, read "Globalization and its Discontents" by Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz.
In it you'll learn how institutions like the IMF treated open markets and no currency flow restrictions as a religion regardless of whether they made sense for the stage of development of the countries on which they imposed those as terms of their loans.
Stop buying goods that support these policies. Stop supporting politicians that support these policies. Stop patronizing companies that lobby for these things. Use apps like "Goods Unite Us" to find out where your money is going.
The only way to do anything as an individual is to vote with your wallet, your feet, and your actual vote. When that cumulative change affects the bottom line of these companies, they'll have no choice but to change.
This is a joke right?
It's also not our fault, infar as we didn't literally pull any triggers. We're probably still complicit to some degree, however, by our general lack of support for reparation actions.
I'm sure lots of tax money is wasted, or used for bad things, but also a lot of good as well. Roads, police (that keep the peace), firefighters, education, foreign aid, etc.
Here's a question for you: If the US were to collapse into anarchy, and there was suddenly a void in the world where the US military used to exist, do you think would there be more or fewer civilian/child deaths (in total, from other forces) and why?
Those are hardly the only two options.
However, now that the US exists, it does a lot of good for many, many people. As a first generation immigrant, I'm glad that I was able to come here, as I think conditions are much better than my country of origin.
That being said, am I complicit in everything bad that has happened here simply because I'm living here now? What amount of reparations are appropriate for me to give, considering neither I nor my ancestors likely had any involvement with any of those things.
Can any amount of money even make up for what happened?
It's insane. The Native American example was just the first one that came to my mind that demonstrates that the "average" American of today does indeed benefit from atrocities committed hundreds of years ago.
Though I don't think it's a boolean, "Well you did it, you made up for the damage your ancestors caused" situation, but more of a, "Well now we are better equipped than we were before to handle the fallout of the damage your ancestors caused". And it's not just money (though money does fund everything), there's a lot more that the US government could be doing for the Native American people. Am I a bad person for not doing more? No. Could I probably do a bit more to help? Yeah.
maybe not, but that is hardly a reason to do nothing instead
For the partisans:
(ever noticed that bananas are the cheapest fruit?)