African-Americans have just celebrated Juneteenth (June 19), the day in 1865 when blacks in Galveston learned that slavery had been abolished.
Let’s start off by admitting that slavery was the most shameful part of America’s history. And right behind it were the Jim Crow laws enacted by the Southern States. But should the generations of Americans who had absolutely nothing to do with those grave injustices be forced to pay for the harm done to black Americans? The Democrats think so. They are moving ahead with a proposal to pay reparations to the descendants of slavery. And those reparations, if put into effect, would cost billions of dollars.
What about the plight of blacks today? Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams, an African-American, was booed on Tuesday when she told a black community meeting that “Real change starts with our community.” Despite the boos, she was spot on.
Slavery and the Jim Crow laws are not responsible for the high rate of black school dropouts. Nor are they responsible for the high crime rate in black communities. And it is not the fault of slavery and Jim Crow that blacks who do graduate from high schools can barely read, write and do simple math, thereby leaving them functionally illiterate.
Reparations for the descendants of slavery? What about reparations for America’s Indians? America was their land. They lived on it and they thrived on it. That was before it was stolen from them by the white man.
The Indians were forced into reservations, most of them barely habitable. Today most Indians live in abject poverty with a high rate of alcoholism.
When I worked for one of those ‘evil’ pharmaceutical companies, I called on the medical facilities of several Indian reservations in Arizona. I was shocked to see the horrible conditions many of them lived in.
The only Indians who were well-off that I saw, and that was as a law enforcement officer, were the Agua Caliente band of Cahuilla Indians. They were well-off because they owned most of the land in and around Palm Springs. And even among the affluent Agua Caliente Indians, there was a high rate of alcoholism. But on the nearby Cabazon Indian Reservation, the inhabitants were left to live in squalor.
Have the Indians, or to be politically correct, have the Native-Americans called for reparations? Not that I know of.
Reparations for the descendants of slavery? How about reparations for the Japanese-Americans of Washington, Oregon and California? After the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, Japanese-Americans in those states were rounded up and interned in concentration camps. And when they were released they returned to their home states only to find that most of their homes and businesses had been appropriated by white Americans.
Have the Japanese-Americans called for reparations? No, they have not. Instead of waiting for a Japanese Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton to complain about their plight, they started over again and re-achieved the American Dream through hard work and making sure their kids excelled in school.
So, should blacks get reparations for slavery which was abolished 154 years ago? No, no and no!
Senator Mitch McConnell has made it clear no reparations bill will pass while he controls the Senate. He is right when he says we fought a war to end slavery and we passed civil rights legislation to end Jim Crow and give blacks the equal rights they should have had all along. And we passed Affirmative Action laws which often punished whites by giving jobs to less qualified blacks and admittance to colleges and universities of black students who probably would not pas freshman English.
What we do owe blacks is to make sure our public schools provide a good education to all students. For starters that means getting rid of incompetent teachers who are now protected by the teachers’ unions. Every high school graduate should be able to read and write well and do some advanced math. For students who do not plan to go on to college, schools should teach them the skills they will need to join the modern work force.
As for the black school dropouts, Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams had some good advice when she said, “Real change starts with our community.” Until black parents start emphasizing the importance of a good education like the Japanese-Americans do, their kids will continue to drop out of school, with many of them turning to commit crimes. And for the most part, who are the victims of black criminals? It’s African-Americans.
It is also important to note that many blacks have achieved the American Dream. They own good homes in good neighborhoods because they obtained a good education and worked hard at their jobs. But if the Democrats had their way, these middle and upper-class blacks would also be paid reparations.
If anyone deserves reparations, it’s the American Indians and the descendants of the Japanese-Americans who were interned in concentration camps after Pearl Harbor. But the Indians have been too proud to ask for reparations and the Japanese-Americans have done quite well without them.
Thus, under no circumstances should we spend billions of dollars on reparations for the descendants of American slaves!
Fat Albert says
I have a friend (Anglo) who is married to his wife who is black. Does she get reparations? Her family moved here from African in 1968. Does that make a difference? What about their kids? Do they get reparations? Grandkids? How much black do you need in your ancestry to claim reparations?
And, who pays? my father’s family all fought for the Union, many died. Does that exempt me from paying? My Mother’s family came here in the 1880’s, after Slavery. Should they have to pay?
Does need enter the issue? Should Colin Powell’s kids get reparations? What about Barak Obama’s?
Why not simply call it what it is – a bald-faced attempt by liberal politicians to purchase the votes of the black community.
Bob Walsh says
First, the easy part. I absolutely believe that any currently living persons who were held legally as slaves in the United States should get reparations. Since any such persons would be somewhat more than 150 years old and the longest well-documented human life span is about 116 I suspect the applicant pool will be sort of thin.
Then to the harder part. Who would get such payments, and who would pay? Would someone whose family came here in the late 1800s or early 1900s, well after legal slavery ended, get money? How do you define “black.” Would Kamala Harris get money? Neither of her parents was born here. In fact her father is from Jamaica and her family was, back in the day, very large slave OWNERS in Jamaica. That’s not the US. Does that count? Would she pay, or get paid, or both?
Would I have to pay? My mother’s family is high up in the Mormon church and has a thorough family history. For sure no slave owners since the US became the US and probably no slave owners when we were colonies. My dad’s family left Ireland during the great famine but went to Canada first, then later to Boston and then to Nebraska. No slave states. No slave owners. What, if anything, is MY responsibility towards slavery? (Answer, not a damn thing.)
This is just more political bullshit to convince Blacks that they are perpetual victims and are helpless without the Democrap party going to bat for them. It is a demeaning proposition, self-defeating and by some reasonable definitions racist in and of itself.
The proposal would just enrich and grant power to poverty pimps, race hustlers and generic assholes. It should be killed off and buried in an unmarked grave with a stake thru it’s heart.
Facts matter, people. I looked in vain for any wording in H.R. 40 that backed up Mr. Katz’s statement that Democrats “are moving ahead with a proposal to pay reparations to the descendants of slavery.” Read it for yourself; pay attention to the verbs (you know…the “action” words). Stop being so darn misinformed and enraged.
Howie Katz says
I beg your pardon, Mr. Slamen. What do you think the Commission to Study and Consider Reparation Proposals is other than a move by the Democrats to grant reparations to the descendants of slaves? H.R. 40 was drafted by Houston’s Sheila Jackson Lee. All the sponsors are Democrats, including Houston’s Al Green.
Democratic House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told reporters that Democrats plan to vote on H.R. 40 which will “look at how we try to compensate for the extraordinary racism and denigration” that blacks in America have long faced.
You are wrong! I am not misinformed. Congressman Hoyer makes it crystal clear that the Democrats want to grant those reparations. But you are right, I am enraged.
I should add that the Japanese who were interned received an apology and $20,000 per family in reparations. But their descendants received nothing, nor have they ever asked for anything.
Fat Albert says
JSlamen: Facts do indeed matter. From the document you cited, Section 3(b)(7):
(E) How, in consideration of the Commission’s findings, any form of compensation to the descendants of enslaved African is calculated.
(F) What form of compensation should be awarded, through what instrumentalities and who should be eligible for such compensation.
(G) How, in consideration of the Commission’s findings, any other forms of rehabilitation or restitution to African descendants is warranted and what the form and scope of those measures should take.
If you looked in vain, then you might want to brush up on your reading skills.
Mr. Katz: I begged that readers read the bill and pay attention to the verbs that include “address”, “establish (a commission)”, “make recommendations”, etc. How controversial can it be to produce a report (including recommendations) as the sole end product?
Did you notice how the committee would be formed? Three (3) members appointed by the President, 3 by the Speaker of the House, 1 by the President Pro Tem of the Senate and 6 from organizations that have “championed the cause of reparatory justice.” Seven members would constitute a quorum. I don’t see how that would be a totally Dem membership, do you?
How dangerous are recommendations that are drawn from the way such a committee would inform itself on the issue?
In my observation you are reacting out of fear. Let this commission analyze the issue and actually make some recommendations. There’s no reason to think such a committee would recommend direct payments to anyone; let’s see what the commission thinks are some answers…they’d just be recommendations and at least they’d put some reasoned policy ideas on the table for all sides to consider and debate.
Dear Mr. Albert:
The very important sentence —- the (7) —- that formulates the E, F and G you cite, says that the commission must make recommendations on any findings they reach, and that their recommendations must address seven questions, of which E, F and G are three.
Take “E” for example. You assume it means that payments will be recommended. IF the commission finds that any payments of any kind are worthy of recommendation, E just says they have to explain how their recommended payments would be calculated —- just defining how complete their recommendation has to be. I won’t similarly deconstruct the rest, but the same rationale applies. You can’t lift subordinate clauses out of context; to do so obscures their real meaning. Read the primary sentence/clause first. This isn’t hard, unless you are trying to discover things that aren’t actually in the bill’s text.
Fat Albert says
Boy, you certainly are fixed on this. Try reading Section 2(b): “the purpose of this Act is to establish a commission to study and develop Reparation proposals for African-Americans.” Please note that it doesn’t say “to study whether reparations are appropriate, or useful, or fair, or equitable.” It simply says “study and develop reparation proposals”. The entire bill is written from the assumptive view point that reparations are needed and should be instituted. It simply establishes a commission to study how to do so and sell it to the public. To read it any other way is to ignore common sense.
As for Mr, Coates article in “The Atlantic”, it has indeed been discussed at length – mostly by a series of academicians and commentators who have exposed it for what it is. If you really would like to see his argument demolished might I refer you to Kevin Williamson: https://www.nationalreview.com/2014/05/case-against-reparations-kevin-d-williamson/
And finally, while there may be “precious few facts” in evidence, here’s a big one: There is not a single person alive today who was either a slave, or a slave owner in the United States.
Just the _word_ “reparations” is enough to cause outrage in many quarters. Since there are precious few actual facts on the table, one way to clarify your thoughts and emotions on the subject is to read some well-considered writing by those whom you think you oppose.
This article, written 5 years ago, is one of the most discussed pieces on the topic. If you’re enraged, I beg you to read it and try to demolish the writer’s argument:
howie katz says
I strongly urge everyone to read Matt Walsh’s article on reparations.