My comments about the issue of slavery reparations drew a huge email response, almost all from people insisting that it is right and just to force modern day people to pay for something that happened long before they were born.
Let's get real here. Reparations is a cash-grab, nothing more. The slaves are all dead. So are the slave owners. So is the Confederacy. No amount of cash will undo what has been done. If you want to talk reparations, let's talk about the debt owed to the families of those union soldiers who died so that modern blacks would NOT be slaves. And let us not forget that it was Africans who sold other Africans (from rival tribes) into slavery in the first place. But nobody talks about suing Africa for reparations. Nor have the champions of slavery reparations made provision to exempt those modern day citizens who, like myself, are descended from abolitionists who ran the Underground Railroad. Reparations is just another pretext to grab money from someone else, history be damned.
But setting aside the sheer ridiculousness of punishing the great grandchild for the sins of the great grandfathers, the reality is that reparations has little to do with freedom and equality for blacks. Indeed reparations will keep blacks subordinate, keep them hoping "massa" government will give them another hand-out if they but vote the party line instead of their own conscience. Reparations will destroy equality by increasing resentment towards blacks by whites, not all of whom are the descendants of slave owners. But mostly, slave reparations will destroy all respect for those blacks who by sheer dint of hard work and talent have built themselves a good life in this nation. Instead of looking at those hard working members of society and respecting their obvious accomplishments, whites will simply assume any display of wealth and achievement was paid for with a slave reparations check. Real accomplishments of individual blacks will be the very first victim of the resentment arising from reparations, dismissed as having been unearned and undeserved, the result of cash coerced from others.
Not that the blacks will ever see that much cash. Like the Tobacco Settlement, the lawyers will take a huge chunk off the top, while the balance gets re-routed by bankrupt government into "higher priority" items. Black neighborhoods might see a few new playgrounds and community centers, but in the end, any actual cash payouts, divided among the large black population, will amount to at most a few hundred dollars each. (Take a lesson from Zimbabwe, where the wealth looted from the white population has wound up in the hands of favored political cronies.) And there the descendants of slaves will sit, resented even more by the white population, losing what respect they had gained, still dependent on handouts of one form or another from the government, still keeping their own lives on hold because some opportunistic lawyer told them that they didn't have to work for what they wanted because their neighbors could be made to fork over free money because of something that happened before all of us were born. All the gains of the civil rights movement of the last 40 years will have been undone in an moment, and for a mere few hundred dollars.
Does this sound like a good idea?
What is slavery? Forcing one race to work for the benefit of another. And isn't that exactly what the promoters of reparations are demanding, to force whites people to work for the benefit of the blacks? If the former slave owners were still alive and forced to work for the benefit of the former slaves, this might make some sense. But the bottom line remains that the people who committed the crime and the people the crime was committed against are all dead. Young. old. white, black, rich, poor, they are all truly equal now.
Is it right to punish all blacks for the crimes of a few thugs? No it isn't. And likewise, it cannot be right to punish all whites for the crimes of a few slave owners, who even when they were alive were a tiny fraction of the white population. Reparations is an attempt to punish people for events they could not possibly have had any control over. And on that basis alone must be rejected.
The main point is being missed. The government did not enslave the Africans. This was done by individual businessmen or companies for profit. Blacks are trying to equate reparations for slavery to the reparations paid the Japanese. This is like comparing apples and oranges. The Japanese were put into detention camps and their property taken by the government. Africans were sold into slavery by individuals, often their own tribesmen, for profit.
The other point is that the Japanese who were on those camps and who received payments are still alive. This is not the case with the slaves. These and other inconsistencies will likely continue to be ignored by the proponents of reparations, who have inundated this website with hateful, threatening, and badly mis-spelled emails screaming that any denial of slavery reparations to people who have never actually been slaves is "racist". This hate-mail demonstrates the point I made in the original article, that the real agenda of slavery reparations is to destroy equality by increasing black versus white hostility and resentment in the nation.
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