The Hackneyed Demand for Reparations Lives On

 

The Democrats are at it again. It’s election campaign time, and Kamala Harris, for one, is demanding reparations, 150 years after the Civil War, for black Americans who probably know as little about that war as most other Americans:

I think there has to be some form of reparations. We can discuss what that is, but look, we’re looking at more than 200 years of slavery. We’re looking at almost a hundred years of Jim Crow. We’re looking at legalized segregation and, in fact, segregation on so many levels that exists today, based on race. And there has not been any kind of intervention done understanding the harm and the damage that occurred to correct course, and so we are seeing the effects of all of those years play out still today.

No, Senator Harris, let’s not discuss it. Instead, let’s talk about why it is an insulting and ridiculous idea. You say interventions have not been done? Well, there is the disaster of the Great Society which helped no one. And I guess living in the land of liberty is no help at all.

I will not be revisiting all the reasons that paying reparations is nearly impossible and unreasonable to do; if you want an explanation of those reasons, you can go here . Instead, I’d like to use Senator Harris’ comment as a preface to the insightful piece written by Burgess Owens for the Wall Street Journal.

Mr. Owens was the great-great-grandchild of a man named Silas Burgess who came to America on a slave ship, escaped a plantation through the Underground Railroad, and eventually became a successful entrepreneur and a pillar of his community. Based on this history of his great-great-grandfather and his own experience, Mr. Owens explains why the reparations movement is a bad idea:

At the core of the reparation movement is a divisive and demeaning view of both races. It grants to the white race a wicked superiority, treating them as an oppressive people too powerful for black Americans to overcome. It brands blacks as hapless victims devoid of the ability, which every other culture possesses, to assimilate and progress. Neither label is earned.

The reparations movement conveniently forgets the 150 years of legal, social and economic progress attained by millions of American minorities. It also minimizes the sacrifice that hundreds of thousands of white Americans and a Republican president made laying down their lives to eradicate slavery.

Mr. Owens also states that the act of perpetuating the myth that one race is superior to another is “evil racism.”

The Great Society programs were started at the very time when black Americans were making great inroads into the middle class. These government programs led to the break up of the black American family, left male children without fathers, mothers on welfare, and resulted in the prevalence of single parenthood in our black communities.

Mr. Owens points to the current iteration of the need for reparations: socialism is surely the cure, according to the Left. Fortunately, Mr. Owens knows through his own experience that socialism will not help anyone, including blacks. It will only create more divisiveness, perpetuate the lie that blacks cannot help themselves, and that only white society can help them. It’s important to note that Mr. Owens was a Super Bowl champion with the Oakland Raiders. He is the author of Liberalism or How to Turn Good Men into Whiners, Weenies and Wimps.

I’d like to end with one comment that Mr. Owens makes toward the end of his piece, that speaks to blacks and whites alike:

Character cannot be bought and will never allow itself to be diminished by bribery.

You can take that one to the bank.

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  1. Vance Richards Member
    Vance Richards
    @VanceRichards

    Not surprising considering the title of his book . . .

    • #1
  2. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    I’ve seen him interviewed on Fox News and he has the presence to go with his message. I hope he reaches some people.

    • #2
  3. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    Reparations are not really about the Benjamins, so mathematical arguments going into niceties about how they would possibly be calculated are irrelevant to supporters of the concept.  Reparations are about the idea of guilt and acknowledgement thereof, and the guilty cannot be proven innocent.  

    BTW, congratulations on unearthing extremely rare archival footage of the NY Jets in a playoff game.

    • #3
  4. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    Reparations are not really about the Benjamins, so mathematical arguments going into niceties about how they would possibly be calculated are irrelevant to supporters of the concept. Reparations are about the idea of guilt and acknowledgement thereof, and the guilty cannot be proven innocent.

     

    I agree, @hoyacon. They always brush off dollar amounts or who would receive the money. It’s just another “example” of racism and white elitism in this country when we tell them it’s a foolish idea.

    • #4
  5. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    I agree completely with the need for reparations.

    So I’ll posit a simple mathematical formula:

    Call the average lifetime earnings of a Black Person in Africa BPA.    Call the average lifetime earnings of a Black Person in the USA BPUS.

    If BPA > BPUS, then  White People in the US should pay sum sufficent to reimburse Black People in the US 20% of the difference in cash money.

    IF BPUS > BPA, then Black People in the US should pay 20% of the difference as a thank you to White People in the US.

     

     

    • #5
  6. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Please open up two of those Can-O-Worms for us:

    1. Reparations
    2. Compensation for Environmental Regulatory Takings

    We don’t have enough to fight about so far, but coming up with formulas for those should keep us occupied for decades to come.

     

    • #6
  7. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    I agree completely with the need for reparations.

    So I’ll posit a simple mathematical formula:

    Call the average lifetime earnings of a Black Person in Africa BPA. Call the average lifetime earnings of a Black Person in the USA BPUS.

    If BPA > BPUS, then White People in the US should pay sum sufficent to reimburse Black People in the US 20% of the difference in cash money.

    IF BPUS > BPA, then Black People in the US should pay 20% of the difference as a thank you to White People in the US.

     

     

    Very clever! I like it, @miffedwhitemale! It’ll increase my retirement funds.

    • #7
  8. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Please open up two of those Can-O-Worms for us:

    1. Reparations
    2. Compensation for Environmental Regulatory Takings

    We don’t have enough to fight about so far, but coming up with formulas for those should keep us occupied for decades to come.

     

    Not to worry, @thereticulator. They have no intention of even beginning to calculate anything. As Hoyacon stated, it’s all for show: making us into white supremacists who keep the black man down, even now.

    • #8
  9. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    Hoyacon (View Comment):
    congratulations on unearthing extremely rare archival footage of the NY Jets in a playoff game

    …I suspected photoshop…

    • #9
  10. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    Reparations are not really about the Benjamins, so mathematical arguments going into niceties about how they would possibly be calculated are irrelevant to supporters of the concept. Reparations are about the idea of guilt and acknowledgement thereof, and the guilty cannot be proven innocent.

    BTW, congratulations on unearthing extremely rare archival footage of the NY Jets in a playoff game.

    Okay, @hoyacon, you and @drbastiat–are you guys teasing me or what? Or are you making fun of the Jets?

    • #10
  11. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    Reparations are not really about the Benjamins, so mathematical arguments going into niceties about how they would possibly be calculated are irrelevant to supporters of the concept. Reparations are about the idea of guilt and acknowledgement thereof, and the guilty cannot be proven innocent.

    BTW, congratulations on unearthing extremely rare archival footage of the NY Jets in a playoff game.

    Okay, @hoyacon, you and @drbastiat–are you guys teasing me or what? Or are you making fun of the Jets?

    Well, I can’t speak for the doc, but yes.

     

    • #11
  12. Mim526 Member
    Mim526
    @Mim526

    Susan Quinn: We’re looking at legalized segregation and, in fact, segregation on so many levels that exists today, based on race.

    I’m going to have to agree with Kamala Harris on this, or at least agree that it is what the Left tries very hard to achieve.  According to the Left, all of America is a hotbed of white supremacy, male toxicity, and hetero homophobia — particularly the portions of America who do not agree that America is driven by those things.

    What is racism if not that all members of a race are alike based on the color of their skin? Misandry if not that all males are toxic, especially older white ones?

    Message to Ms. Harris and all toxic supremacy phobes like her:  Politician, heal thyself.  

    • #12
  13. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Mim526 (View Comment):
    I’m going to have to agree with Kamala Harris on this, or at least agree that it is what the Left tries very hard to achieve.

    @mim526, I understand the second part of your sentence, but I don’t understand your agreement on the first part. Maybe I’m misreading?

    • #13
  14. Vance Richards Member
    Vance Richards
    @VanceRichards

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):
    congratulations on unearthing extremely rare archival footage of the NY Jets in a playoff game

    …I suspected photoshop…

    If that is the playoffs and Owen is a Raider, not a Jet, than that would have this game.

    • #14
  15. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    Vance Richards (View Comment):

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):
    congratulations on unearthing extremely rare archival footage of the NY Jets in a playoff game

    …I suspected photoshop…

    If that is the playoffs and Owen is a Raider, not a Jet, than that would have this game.

    Yes–1/15/83.  Jets lost to Dolphins the next week with Super Bowl on the line.

     

     

    • #15
  16. Mim526 Member
    Mim526
    @Mim526

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Mim526 (View Comment):
    I’m going to have to agree with Kamala Harris on this, or at least agree that it is what the Left tries very hard to achieve.

    @mim526, I understand the second part of your sentence, but I don’t understand your agreement on the first part. Maybe I’m misreading?

    If Kamala Harris is correct that there is segregation today, it’s promoted by the Left.  It seems to me opponents of the Left have a powerful argument waiting to be used to convince non-committal voters that the real segregating is what the Left is trying to do to separate Americans.  They’d like to obliterate the uniting melting pot view of America and segregate by ethnicity, class, gender, etc.  It’s not enough that Americans be identified by skin color, wealth, sex – we have to be made to envy or denigrate based on them.

    Harris is another prime example of how the Left is most guilty of what they accuse others.

    • #16
  17. Vance Richards Member
    Vance Richards
    @VanceRichards

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    Vance Richards (View Comment):

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):
    congratulations on unearthing extremely rare archival footage of the NY Jets in a playoff game

    …I suspected photoshop…

    If that is the playoffs and Owen is a Raider, not a Jet, than that would have this game.

    Yes–1/15/83. Jets lost to Dolphins the next week with Super Bowl on the line.

     

     

    That was the one year I thought the Jets might do it. Had good record in a strike shortened season but then, rain, no tarp, mud, AJ Duhe, bad memories.

    • #17
  18. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Mim526 (View Comment):
    Harris is another prime example of how the Left is most guilty of what they accuse others.

    Thank you. Yes, you are correct. The blacks are committing segregation, especially on some college campuses where they want black-only dorms and other facilities, because they “feel safer” there. Unfortunately, they don’t realize that their self-segregation only highlights that they don’t want to be part of mainstream society. What also strikes me is that a way to overcome fears is to confront them, deal with them. It’s pretty hard to fear or hate someone once you get to know him or her. But that takes courage, and getting past the propaganda.

    • #18
  19. DonG Coolidge
    DonG
    @DonG

    Susan Quinn: The Great Society programs were started at the very time when black Americans were making great inroads into the middle class. These government programs led to the break up of the black American family, left male children without fathers, mothers on welfare, and resulted in the prevalence of single parenthood in our black communities.

    Since Jim Crow, KKK, and Great Society were all DNC ideas, how about if the DNC pays the tab? 

    • #19
  20. Mim526 Member
    Mim526
    @Mim526

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Mim526 (View Comment):
    Harris is another prime example of how the Left is most guilty of what they accuse others.

    Thank you. Yes, you are correct. The blacks are committing segregation, especially on some college campuses where they want black-only dorms and other facilities, because they “feel safer” there. Unfortunately, they don’t realize that their self-segregation only highlights that they don’t want to be part of mainstream society. What also strikes me is that a way to overcome fears is to confront them, deal with them. It’s pretty hard to fear or hate someone once you get to know him or her. But that takes courage, and getting past the propaganda.

    True, and good micro level example.  I understand where Burgess is coming from and applaud everything I’ve heard him say.

    However, Kamala Harris and those touting reparations are giving non-Leftists a golden opportunity for a politician with the courage to seize it.  I could see the narrative in this country flipping on a dime were someone to point out the her views’ attempted segregation of Americans.  A fighter with compassion not overly versed in the art of double speak…someone like Dan Crenshaw, for example.

    We really need a macro level counter narrative.  Now.  You can feel the support for it in Americans weary of political infighting, double speak, broken campaign promises…sick of elitism.  Trump started it; there needs to be someone equally bold but more articulately persuasive to move it along in the public discourse.

    • #20
  21. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    The blacks are committing segregation, especially on some college campuses where they want black-only dorms and other facilities, because they “feel safer” there.

    Then funny thing is, we used to give them all that stuff without them even asking, and they were all PO’d and went to court to put an end to it.

     

    • #21
  22. James Gawron Inactive
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    Susan,

    What is so lacking in our educational system is a wider perspective on issues. Slavery has always existed at all times everywhere in all societies. France, England, and the United States banned it in the last 200 years, the period of the Enlightenment. Many other countries followed but not until the late 19th century and into the 20th century.

    Slavery still exists in the world today. I sincerely doubt that Kamala Harris would be so politically incorrect as to criticize the slave traders today as they are largely in Africa & many are Islamic. Wouldn’t fit her narrative. Also, if you accept private property and democratic government as basic human rights then living under a communist dictatorship is a kind of slavery. A billion and a half Chinese are still slaves to their Marxist state. I’m sure Kamala would have little to say about this also.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #22
  23. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Mim526 (View Comment):
    We really need a macro level counter narrative. Now. You can feel the support for it in Americans weary of political infighting, double speak, broken campaign promises…sick of elitism. Trump started it; there needs to be someone equally bold but more articulately persuasive to move it along in the public discourse.

    You are so right! Maybe someone from the Freedom Caucus? Mark Meadows or Jim Jordan?

    • #23
  24. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):
    Then funny thing is, we used to give them all that stuff without them even asking, and they were all PO’d and went to court to put an end to it.

    Never expect consistency from the radical Left. It will make you crazy.

    • #24
  25. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    James Gawron (View Comment):

    Susan,

    What is so lacking in our educational system is a wider perspective on issues. Slavery has always existed at all times everywhere in all societies. France, England, and the United States banned it in the last 200 years, the period of the Enlightenment. Many other countries followed but not until the late 19th century and into the 20th century.

    Slavery still exists in the world today. I sincerely doubt that Kamala Harris would be so politically incorrect as to criticize the slave traders today as they are largely in Africa & many are Islamic. Wouldn’t fit her narrative. Also, if you accept private property and democratic government as basic human rights then living under a communist dictatorship is a kind of slavery. A billion and a half Chinese are still slaves to their Marxist state. I’m sure Kamala would have little to say about this also.

    Regards,

    Jim

    I love this entire comment, @jamesgawron; it covers the gamut of the problems inherit in these arguments, inconvenient things like reality and the truth.

    • #25
  26. tigerlily Member
    tigerlily
    @tigerlily

    James Gawron (View Comment):

    Susan,

    What is so lacking in our educational system is a wider perspective on issues. Slavery has always existed at all times everywhere in all societies. France, England, and the United States banned it in the last 200 years, the period of the Enlightenment. Many other countries followed but not until the late 19th century and into the 20th century.

    Slavery still exists in the world today. I sincerely doubt that Kamala Harris would be so politically incorrect as to criticize the slave traders today as they are largely in Africa & many are Islamic. Wouldn’t fit her narrative. Also, if you accept private property and democratic government as basic human rights then living under a communist dictatorship is a kind of slavery. A billion and a half Chinese are still slaves to their Marxist state. I’m sure Kamala would have little to say about this also.

    Regards,

    Jim

    Well said Jim. Calls for reparations of this sort require that the potential voters be historically ignorant.

    • #26
  27. Mim526 Member
    Mim526
    @Mim526

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Mim526 (View Comment):
    We really need a macro level counter narrative. Now. You can feel the support for it in Americans weary of political infighting, double speak, broken campaign promises…sick of elitism. Trump started it; there needs to be someone equally bold but more articulately persuasive to move it along in the public discourse.

    You are so right! Maybe someone from the Freedom Caucus? Mark Meadows or Jim Jordan?

    I’m thinking someone more outsider or seen as establishment, though I realize “establishment” and counter narrative is a near contradiction in terms :-)

    I’ve thought for awhile that Liz Cheney is an underutilized asset.  Watching her in a recent clip, she has her dad’s strong will with less of his bull in china shop.  Smart, very articulate, tough lady.  She’s probably a bit heavy on the neocon I’ll grant, but would be interesting to see what a Speaker Liz Cheney in tandem with a wheeler dealer Mitch McConnell and POTUS Trump could do to better focus govt.  For now, I think she’s a good voice to counter the Left’s narrative.

    • #27
  28. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    Susan Quinn: Mr. Owens knows through his own experience that socialism will not help anyone, including blacks.

    Socialism has always hurt minorities especially hard. The Jews had to flee Ethiopia, millions of Ukranians died in the USSR and Cuba doesn’t have Afro-Cubanos represented in the Cuban government as far as I can tell and the treatment of homosexuals in Cuba was barbaric. Socialism will of course not help anyone but I suspect that it will hurt minorities the most. That’s been the pattern.

    (I really need to write a book about how leftism doesn’t work from the perspective of someone who wants left-wing goals.)

    • #28
  29. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Mim526 (View Comment):
    I’ve thought for awhile that Liz Cheney is an underutilized asset.

    She’s great! I agree with you–she’s fearless and always speaks her mind. C’mon folks, let’s get some voices out there!

    • #29
  30. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Mim526 (View Comment):
    Harris is another prime example of how the Left is most guilty of what they accuse others.

    Thank you. Yes, you are correct. The blacks are committing segregation, especially on some college campuses where they want black-only dorms and other facilities, because they “feel safer” there. Unfortunately, they don’t realize that their self-segregation only highlights that they don’t want to be part of mainstream society. What also strikes me is that a way to overcome fears is to confront them, deal with them. It’s pretty hard to fear or hate someone once you get to know him or her. But that takes courage, and getting past the propaganda.

    In my experience, dudes straight out of Africa want to assimilate to the American mainstream. They have knowledge of the corruption and oppression in African societies and they like the whole American deal of getting ahead without having bribe a politician every five minutes. 

    • #30
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