Skip to comments.The Touchy Question of Reparations-U.S. govt, corps., religious groups fingered as prime culprits
Posted on 01/25/2004 3:40:59 PM PST by chance33_98
The Touchy Question of Reparations
by Earl Ofari Hutchinson
In December the Dallas City Council approved a resolution asking Congress to set up a commission to study the feasibility of paying reparations to the black descendants of the victims of slavery. The bill authored by House Democrat John Conyers, Jr. would allocate $8 million to fund the commission. The city council's endorsement of the bill drew the instant wrath of the white council members. They claimed that the reparations issue is to murky and messy, will deepen racial fault lines, demonize the federal government, dredge up a long by-gone past that should be buried, unfairly compare the plight of blacks with other victim groups that have received reparations, and ignores the huge economic and social gains blacks have made since slavery. The slim majority of the council that passed the resolution dismissed these objections. But the reasons the council members objected to it can't easily be dismissed. They, like many Americans, bristle at the notion of paying blacks for slavery.
They fervently believe that the passage of three civil rights bills, numerous affirmative action statutes, piles of court decisions that guarantee civil rights and civil liberties protections, a tepid acknowledgment from Clinton that slavery was wrong, and massive government spending on business, education, housing, health and social programs for blacks have done much to right the historic injustice of slavery and its legacy. Since the toppling of legal segregation the spectacular rise of a wealthier, better-educated, and more upwardly mobile black middle class, they say, is convincing proof that blacks have gone far in shaking loose the legacy of slavery. They also raise these troublesome questions on the reparations issue.
This would ignite a monumental backlash among many whites to the use of their tax dollars for reparations. It would cause nightmarish jitters among many African-Americans, who regard the reparations issue as to little to late, that they would be targets of massive scorn and vilification for harping on an issue that is many decades past. It would prompt Chinese-Americans, Mexican-Americans, and Native-Americans to rightly claim that since they were racially abused, viciously exploited for their labor, and had their lands ripped-off they are also entitled to compensation. At the very least, they would justly claim that their tax dollars should not go to pay reparations for slavery. Reparations to others. Japanese-Americans, Holocaust survivors and the Korean comfort women bagged big cash payments for atrocities committed against them. But there was near universal public and official consensus that they were the victims of blatant violations of civil and international law by the U.S., German, and Japanese governments and are liable for their crimes. Also, the Swiss bankers agreed to pay billions to those Holocaust victims who entrusted their money, valuable objects, and jewelry to them. The bankers shamefully looted those assets and therefore had a clear obligation to repay them for their profiteering. In 1997 the black survivors and family members of the two decade long syphilis experiment begun in the 1930s by the U.S. Public Health Service that turned them into guinea pigs got $10 million from the government and an apology from Clinton. They were victims of medical genocide conducted with the full knowledge and approval of the U.S. government. The government was duty bound to pay and apologize to them for their suffering. These are the objections that many Americans repeatedly make whenever the demand is made to pay for slavery. But these objections don't alter the fact that slavery was a morally monstrous system that wreaked severe pain and suffering on America, generated stupendous profits for bankers, industrialists, and big landowners, saddled many blacks with the horrific legacy of poor schools, a drug and crime plague, high rates of prison incarceration, family deterioration and racially-isolated neighborhoods.
If it takes a federal commission to help explain if, why and how reparations should be paid for slavery then Congress should move quickly and set it up. This just might do a lot to make reparations much less of a touchy question for many Americans.
Dr. Hutchinson, a nationally syndicated columnist and the director of the National Alliance for Positive Action, is a Contributing Editor to The Black Business Journal and USAfricaonline.com.
Atlanta used to draw businesses seeking to relocate in Dallas away from Dallas by showing them video of Dallas City Council meetings. Al Lipscomb and Diane Ragsdale were the two top clowns.
Can you document that? If so, it would be a very powerful argument.
Everybody who's ever looked into the questions knows that.
First of all, there are simply several times more white Americans than there are black Americans. Of those white Americans, a very large percentage find ancestors in the earliest populations. Outside of New England, it was quite normal for men and women to "marry" outside their own family backgrounds.
The current estimate is that over 50 million "white" Americans have a black slave ancestor.
Did you mean to say:
"More 'black' Americans have a white slave ancestor than do 'white' Americans"?
If that legal and true argument doesn't work...I can dig up some Irish ancestors, so can I sue the British government for reparations?
If you have ancestors outside of New England who were here in the 16th century, or most of the 17th century, I guarantee you have some rather swarthy (black, actually) ancestors!
There is no shame in this.
LOL...that's two of us. Let's start a class action suit.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.