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!