Reparations Are a Drag on Reality

Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File

California used to be known for its majestic coastline and the movie industry. Now it seems, that every stupid idea has its genesis in California, or metastasizes into a greater cancer in Gavin Newsom’s state. 


Another reparations bill has now moved through the California State Assembly. Because Democrats hold a supermajority, there is nothing to stop whatever absurdity Democrats invent. The latest reparation iteration would create an “agency” to help track black family lineage in preparation for reparations. Although California is swimming in red ink, it’s barreling toward reparations for Californians who were never slaves and who are several generations removed from a slave ancestor. 

Senator Steven Bradford championed the agency idea. Although California wasn’t a slave state, Bradford thinks its citizens should pay for a sin they never committed.

“If you can inherit generational wealth, you can inherit generational debt,” Bradford said. “Reparations is a debt that’s owed to descendants of slavery.”  

No one “inherits” the sins of their long-since-dead ancestors. I don’t owe anyone alive or dead for slaves my ancestors never owned. 

Two years ago I wrote about my ancestor, Robert Thompson. He volunteered in 1861 to fight in the Civil War. During the Battle of Kinston, he was wounded and left on the battlefield. He was captured by Confederates and spent the rest of the war as a POW. He ended up at the infamous Andersonville prison. 

Robert was the direct and actual victim of the injury he suffered. He left Andersonville weighing less than 100lbs. Crippled for life, he was awarded a pension. $12 a month. The demand for reparation for ancestors of slaves has never made sense to me. FDR sent thousands of Americans to internment camps because their ancestors were Japanese. They were proud Americans and suffered direct injury. Japanese Americans who suffered deserved every cent of reparation they got, and more. They suffered an injury. 


Last week, I golfed with two grandchildren of a man who was interred at Manzanar. Those decedents aren’t demanding reparations for their grandfather’s internment. Calling for reparations for Americans who are in many cases, four, five, or six generations removed from the Civil War is utterly impractical. Reparations proponents like Ta-Nehisi Coates admit as much. Coates, for one, wants other means of indirect compensation. I am all in for reparation for anyone held as a slave. But none exist. 

Juneteenth is again behind us, but the call for reparations is not. In fact, it seems that June 19th is now a demarcation for silly people to make silly demands – like this woman:

A few days ago Nikole Hannah-Jones, the author of the fact-challenged 1619 Project, raised the specter of reparations. Hannah-Jones once said:

"I find it hard to believe that any member of the white race can have the audacity and hypocrisy to call any other culture savage. The white race is the biggest murderer, rapist, pillager and thief of the modern world....The crimes they committed were unnecessarily cruel and can only be described as acts of the devil."

A week doesn’t pass without her regurgitating the same arguments. In one X thread, a Choctaw sarcastically asked where his reparations might be for the wrongs done to his ancestors. She reminded him that a Choctaw Chief held black slaves. That opened a Pandora’s box. Another person pointed out that a Black man owned the most slaves in South Carolina before the Civil War. Jones pointed out that that particular man was half-white. When someone is of mixed race and did evil,160 years ago, his ancestry is white. For purposes of reparations, that someone is, apparently, black?


Of course, that doesn’t make sense, but neither does 21st Century Americans paying for the sins of long-since-dead 19th Century slaveowners, even those who were half black or Native American.

Hannah-Jones’ mother is white. Will Hannah-Jones be white or black when it comes to reparations? 


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