reparations, yes or no?

Reparations to the African American community for the sin of slavery has once again made it into the mainstream conversation. Cedric Richmond, a White House advisor has indicated that the President may take unilateral action to bypass Congress and institute some form of reparations to Black Americans. This would not be the first time the US government has paid reparations for past actions including to native American tribes, Native Hawaiian and others for mistreatment and land confiscation. These reparations in most cases were paid to the actual victims of government misdeeds, such as those Japanese Americans interned in camps during World War II or those African Americans subjected to horrific experiments such as those in Tuskegee. The question now, so many years later, is who is to receive these reparations and who is to pay for them.

According to Richmond a purpose of reparations is because “we have to start breaking down systemic racism and barriers that have held people of color back and especially African Americans.” “We have to do stuff now.” The problem with this is that systemic racism is a myth perpetuated on the country and most people of color have made great strides and live a normal middle class American existence. There are no survivors of slavery to be paid. Those horrors that many point out are part of history and have been imposed on many of our citizens, black and white.

While the slave trade is one of the earliest and most repugnant forms, there are other types of ethnic and racial suppression. One of the earliest groups known to have been enslaved in mass were the Jewish tribes in the middle east. Anti-Semitism was well established before the holocaust and the German government has been paying reparations since the end of the war. Anti-Semitism continued after the war; I remember the story my parents told of being told that when trying to book their honeymoon they were turned down. The reason given by the travel agent was that the resort was restricted, no Jews. When it was offered to try again explaining they were Christian, to their great honor they said they did not want to stay at such a place. Today of course we see the continuation of this by the liberal left including BDS. Irish, Italian, Asian and Polish have experienced prejudice and violence over the years. To set the record straight what others have experienced is nothing compared to what African Americans have over the years.

Regardless of the harm done are reparations the answer. Beyond reparations Richmond supports making Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) tuition free. In the past there have been a number of civil rights acts and legislation that was meant to address and redress the wrongs of the past. Such actions as the Voting Rights Act, The Civil Rights Act of 1964, Affirmative action legislation other action to grant special considerations to historically deprived groups.  These made way for the beginning of full citizenship rights for blacks in America, rights that should never have been denied.  

Fifty years after, we should be beyond the point of continuing special considerations. While we need to keep an eye out and ensure all have an equal opportunity, we are past interfering with normal growth. Reparations have become a buzz word of the left without any substance behind it or reasons for it. It is time to move forward to solve actual problems today.

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