One idea that continuously pops up from the left is the idea that a race – namely white people – should pay reparations for wrongs against another race – namely black people – due to some wrong that was done at some point in the past.
The latest politician to suggest such a thing is the Green Party’s Presidential candidate, Jill Stein, and her VP pick, Ajamu Baraka.
But they aren’t the only ones. Activists have been demanding reparations for some time. Gazi Kodzo seems to believe in this whole heartedly, even recruiting clearly manipulated college students into his videos who have been inundated with this mentality that all white people are guilty, and thus owe all black people money.
— Dr. Jill Stein (@DrJillStein) October 12, 2016
The problem with the concept of reparations is that it blankets an entire race with blame. In the case of events the left typically refers to – the enslavement and trade of black people – it happened long ago, in a time none of us were alive to see.
For instance, the pervasive myth that seems to float around in people’s minds is that white people all across America owned a slave. As if it was some kind of common practice, and we had a slave each. This is demonstrably false. In reality, less than 1.4% of Americans owned slaves. Owning a slave wasn’t necessarily cheap. Purchase, feeding, clothing, etc, couldn’t be done if your economic situation was meager. Not to mention those who didn’t own slaves purely out of their morality making it abhorrent to them.
So, most white Americans today would be completely innocent of the charge of racism and enslavement if they weren’t ALL completely innocent of it anyway for not having taken part in it in the first place.
But let’s also note that some of the slave owners back in those days were, in fact, black. Some free black Americans actually had an economic interest in the trading and possession of slaves themselves, and engaged in the practice right alongside the white slave owners. In fact, Duke University historian, John Hope Franklin, notes that over 3,000 black Americans owned slaves in New Orleans alone. That was 28% of the free blacks in that city.
So now the water is muddied further. If less than 2% of Americans as a whole owned slaves, and a percentage of those American slave owners were black, then do black people owe black people reparations as well? If not, why not?
One argument that is often used is that due to the slave trade, white people have benefited by it, reaching all the way into the modern day. I can agree with some of this, as slave labor was used to help drive the economy. The south would grow the product, and the north would create textile factories and cotton brokers.
But there’s a simple problem with that line of thinking. If white people benefited throughout time – from during the era of slavery to today – then so did everyone else, including the black population. Do hispanics and asians owe blacks reparations as well? There are many wealthy Native American descendants that have benefited from the American economy. Do they owe reparations to blacks? More importantly, and again, do blacks owe blacks reparations for benefiting? Remember, they were slave owners too.
But the biggest wrench in the gears here is that slavery has been a practice throughout humanity’s time on this planet. At some point, one skin color has enslaved another skin color or nationality for some length of time, benefited from it, and then somehow lost, or rid itself of it.
North Africans enslaved more than a million Europeans between the 1500’s through the 1700’s. The Jewish people were enslaved by the Egyptians, the Chinese enslaved Koreans, the Japanese enslaved the Chinese, the Russians enslaved their neighbors, the Muslims enslaved everyone they could get their hands on, and the list goes on and on. No one is innocent of the slavery charge. Even the Native Americans kept members of rival tribes as slaves, and barter material.
The point is, slavery is a horrid practice that the entire human race shares some guilt in. If whites owe blacks reparations, then blacks owe whites too. But we don’t. Nobody owes anybody anything. I didn’t participate in slavery, and find the act as abhorrent as my black friends – who also were not a part of the barbary slave trade – do.
Besides, with so many people’s ancestors having NOT participated in the owning or trading of slaves, the left lumping in entire populations of people with similar skin colors as at fault is…dare I say it? Racist.
We often hear how it’s racist to assume all blacks are dangerous criminal deviants due to its criminal element. We’re told how assuming every Muslim is a terrorist is based on some racial hatred. So why is it that the left can lump all whites in as a people who must pay up, due to the actions of a very small minority – some of which that were black – that occurred hundreds of years ago?
Seems kind of racist. In fact, I think we can easily conclude – by the left’s own rules – that anyone demanding reparations is, in fact, a racist.