In 1865, a bloody Civil War left 620,000 white Americans dead. In the current monologuing on reparations, no one on the left seems bothered to mention this. (Even when 620,000 black babies are murdered by black mothers every two years, no one on the left notices.) Even forgetting the sacrifice of so many white lives, the historically unprecedented release from bondage and eventual ascension toward becoming co-equal partners – despite being a racial, cultural, and ethnic minority – seems profound and sufficient enough. You’re welcome, black America, you’re no longer enslaved and enjoy the same freedoms as whites in 21st century America.
Let’s not pretend no redress has been made already. We have had reparations in one form or another since the Confederacy’s surrender. Efforts to assimilate former slaves did not end merely at emancipation, nor even Reconstruction. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the back-to-back election of Barack Obama are two major examples of innumerable others that attest to the success of America overcoming its legacy of slavery. Has this ever happened before in world history?
Unfathomably, renewed efforts to “repair” the long-ago damages to the black community have resurfaced with hitherto unseen momentum. Black Americans who were never enslaved and white Americans who never enslaved them are suddenly the focal point of a country-ripping exercise in absurdity. A July 5th article at American Thinker outlined just a few questions worth pondering before delving into wealth theft for the benefit of a group of people either unwilling or uninterested in solving their own problems. The article asks:
“Who pays? Who gets what? Who decides? Does Obama pay or does he get money? Do recent African or Caribbean immigrants get money too or only people who can trace their lineage back to slavery or even Jim Crow? What about black families who owned slaves? Do the million or so black millionaires get money too? When are things as they should be? What’s the measure? Will every company or classroom or board have to reflect the pigment hue of the country as a whole? Will it apply to everything from police to janitors to ditch diggers to the NBA and the NFL? Will all of this change the unwed birth rate in black America? Is murder still to be considered a crime as half of the offenders in the US are black males despite the fact that they make up only 6% of the population? Since reparations will make everything even do we do away with welfare programs that disproportionately benefit minorities?”
Others have correctly pointed out that LBJ’s Great Society programs have injected over $20 trillion dollars into social reform programs in the past half century, ostensibly to correct for social failures but resulting only in the increased dissolution of black families and stagnant academic and employment outcomes. The IRS will go after people that don’t account for $100 on their taxes, but we’re supposed to be okay with the waste of $20 trillion?
The list of contemporary reparations is long. Consider the following:
- Affirmative Action. AA has been in effect for generations. It’s whole purpose is to admit, whether in academica or the workforce, less qualified blacks than whites on the basis that society needed to atone for its sins. Now, companies like United Airlines (among many) proclaim that they will hire a diverse workforce to address systemic racism. It is important to note that explicit attempts to diversify come at direct cost to merit and performance. It also prevents many Asians from getting into top colleges and universities. So much for helping minorities.
- Welfare. The current welfare system benefits blacks far above any other racial group. Blacks make up about 13-14% of the population yet account for anywhere between 30-40% of all welfare subsidies like TANF, SNAP, Medicaid, Section 8 housing, and every other conceivable benefit. It’s important to note that the monthly child care payments enacted by Joe Biden will also directly benefit black Americans more than white Americans given that black families are more likely to have larger families.
- Taxes. By some estimates, fully 75% of all federal income taxes are paid by white Americans. Conversely, and while exact figures are difficult to come by, it seems safe to estimate that just a small percentage of blacks pay anything in terms of federal income taxes. Given their median incomes, perhaps 20% – at most – of black Americans pay any federal taxes. That means while whites pay for most federal programs, it is blacks who get the benefits.
- Lowered Expectations. While the other programs are more in line with de jure reparations, this last piece is a de facto reparation. How long can blacks claim victim status based on the past? Is there a statute of limitations? What if Sasha and Malia turn out to be bums, does the fact that they had a successful black man – which presumably interrupted the racialized oppression – in their lineage matter? Every day, society excuses or flat out ignores blacks for their criminal and murderous behavior. Schools no longer issue grades or suspensions to poorly performing or behaving black students. Society has given blacks a pass for inferior personal and moral responsibility based on the narrative of oppression. Apparently everyone is okay with overt patronization and racism with this mindset.
Now, it’s been noted often that rather than repairing past harms, reparations will only further divide this country. It doesn’t take Nostradamus to conjure up visions of the future; this belies the obvious outcomes. Black American ingrates will always be ingrates, regardless of the flow of confiscated money toward them, but the two-thirds white majority will have every reason to resent both them and this country if reparations are ever paid out. If the left thinks white rage is a real phenomenon now, just wait.
The additional problem with reparations is that it’s not even about reparations. Will black victims suddenly stop lamenting America’s alleged racism once given a check? I’ll answer that question with another question. Did they quit their march toward dismantling the American justice system after Derek Chauvin was egregiously convicted guilty on all three counts of murder and manslaughter? Recall that there was an absence of joy and a preponderance of “it’s a small victory, but we must continue to do the work” commentary. Therefore, it would shock nobody if the United States wrote a check worth $1 million dollars to every black person today and by tomorrow black America would say that the checks were a small step toward justice, but now every white person needs to be thrown in a concentration camp. The left is never satisfied. As soon as more people figure that out, the better we will all be. Therefore, I would add two essential questions to the list provided by American Thinker piece:
Will reparations repair any past harms? Will the country be better for having done it?
Given that the answer to those is both a resounding “no,” it’s time to emancipate the country from further entertaining this perilous and quixotic notion.