As the Democrats running for president compete to represent the most radically socialistic ideas, it’s not surprising that reparations for slavery have once again come up.
Sheila Jackson Lee has a reparations bill and other Democrats like Bernie Sanders, Tulsi Gabbard, Julian Castro, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, and Elizabeth Warren are supporting it. Currently, the Democrats are even having hearings on the subject.
Although you won’t hear liberals admit it, demanding reparations for slavery is obviously a terrible idea. It would cost trillions of dollars and create a precedent that would lead to an endless array of other groups demanding money today for something that happened to other people long ago… but that’s just where it starts. It only gets worse and more illogical from there. Just consider that…
1) There are no living slaves or slave holders: Since slavery formally ended in the United States 154 years ago, there are no living slaves or slave holders. So, when we’re talking about reparations, what we are really talking about is one group of human beings who never held slaves giving another group who were never slaves money because something happened to other people who are long dead. If my grandfather’s grandfather was shot by an Irishman, can I demand that the nation of Ireland pay me damages? That makes as much sense as reparations.
2) How does someone qualify for reparations?: At the time of the Civil War, the population of the United States was roughly 31 million. Meanwhile, in 2017, we had 44.5 million immigrants living in the United States. Point being, a large percentage of Americans of all races had ancestors came to this country AFTER the Civil War. Should they be part of this? What about mixed-race Americans? Keep in mind that the average black American today has a lot of European DNA.
According to 23andme.com, the average African American is 75 percent sub-Saharan African, 22 percent European and only 0.6 percent Native American.
Think about someone like Obama. His MOM was white. Why should he get reparations? We could ask the same thing about rich, successful black Americans. Why should your tax dollars go to Oprah, Dr. Dre or Lebron James? If you were so inclined, you could probably make a better case that they should be paying money to poor, uneducated white Americans in failed factory towns than the reverse.
3) Most black Americans today BENEFITTED from their ancestors being enslaved: Certainly, no one personally benefits from being enslaved, so for black slaves brought to America, their slavery was a tragedy. Can the same be said for their ancestors living in the richest, most successful nation in the world? There aren’t exactly a flood of black Americans leaving the country for greener pastures. As a matter of fact, only 5,411 Americans of any race gave up their citizenship in 2016. That’s because this is arguably the most desirable country in the world to live in. In fact, we have so many people trying to get into this country illegally, that it has created a crisis on the border.
Just to drive this point home, there were roughly 3 million slaves in the country in 1865 while there are now over two million African immigrants in the United States and they outperform native-born black Americans economically. If you want to talk about how bad black Americans have it here, that certainly isn’t the story being told by the number of black Americans that have flocked here in recent years or in what has happened in Africa since the 1800s. If your ancestors being enslaved means you grew up in the United States instead of say, Somalia or Uganda, it may have been a bad deal for them, but you were extraordinarily lucky.
4) You could fairly argue that reparations have already been paid: The first argument that could be made on this count is that an awful lot of white Americans (one life was lost in the Civil War for every 6 that were freed) paid their reparations and then some by fighting and dying in the Civil War that freed black Americans from slavery. How do you look at a northerner who literally gave their life to solve a problem they didn’t create and say, “Gee, you didn’t do enough.”
On top of that, we have had Affirmative Action since 1961 and the U.S. government has spent an astronomical amount of money on a wide variety of welfare programs that black Americans are eligible to receive. Over a trillion dollars was spent on welfare programs just in 2018. In other words, if you want to make the dubious argument that any black American is poor today because of slavery, they’re already getting payments from the government. You could very easily say, “You want reparations? Oh, well you have already received it and then some. It’s called Medicaid, food stamps, housing assistance, and the earned income tax credit.”
5) What evidence is there that slavery is the cause of the economic difficulties of black Americans?: It may not always be easy to avoid poverty in the United States, but it is certainly simple. Graduate high school, get a full-time job, don’t get arrested and don’t have kids until you’re married. Do those things and you’re highly unlikely to be poor.
86% of white Americans graduate from high school and 69% of black Americans graduate from high school. 3.6% of white Americans are unemployed and 6.6% of black Americans are unemployed. “In 2016, there were 1,608 black prisoners for every 100,000 black adults – more than five times the imprisonment rate for whites (274 per 100,000).” 29% of white Americans have children out of wedlock while 73% of black Americans have kids out of wedlock.
If you want to know why black Americans are poorer than white Americans, there are very concrete things that you can point to that explain it. Does slavery or racism cause people to commit crimes or have kids out of wedlock or are those cultural issues? Handing people money they didn’t earn because something bad happened to people that look like them 150 years ago might be easy, but it doesn’t address the real underlying issues that are consistently ignored because they are hard to tackle and unpleasant to deal with.
John Hawkins runs Brass Pills, is the founder of Right Wing News and you can also listen to his Planet Hawkins Podcast or follow him on Twitter.
Op-ed views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of BizPac Review.
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