Compensating people monetarily for injuries that have been done to them is an imperfect but valid way to try to right a wrong. If let’s say, a rich guy gets drunk, flips his car over, and slides into a school bus killing a kid, he would face both criminal and civil charges. If he was forced to pay a million dollars to the family that lost the child, that’s certainly not a fix since that money can’t replace a child’s life. However, it would at least be an acknowledgment that the rich guy in question had done something wrong to that family and it would be an attempt, albeit inadequate (most people wouldn’t trade the life of their child for any amount of money), to repair that injury as best as possible.
That makes sense.
Well, what if someone else, based on the fact that they’re the same race as the little girl, ALSO demanded that they be paid a million dollars? In addition, the million dollars wouldn’t come from the rich guy who was responsible, it would come from the whole community. Would that make sense to anyone? No? Well, what if I told you that ludicrous situation would make EVEN MORE SENSE than paying people reparations for slavery today? After all, if we’re being perfectly honest, we should acknowledge that slaves may have suffered terribly, but their ancestors benefitted TREMENDOUSLY from their suffering.
How can that be? Well, how could it not be? Where did American slaves come from?
Of those Africans who arrived in the United States, nearly half came from two regions: Senegambia, the area comprising the Senegal and Gambia Rivers and the land between them, or today’s Senegal, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, and Mali; and west-central Africa, including what is now Angola, Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Gabon. The Gambia River, running from the Atlantic into Africa, was a key waterway for the slave trade; at its height, about one out of every six West African enslaved people came from this area.
In addition to the nearly 50 percent of the total number of enslaved Africans in the United States from these two regions, a considerable number of enslaved people had their origins in the West African nation of Ghana, as well as neighboring parts of the Windward Coast, now Ivory Coast. Others originated in the Bight of Biafra (including parts of present-day eastern Nigeria and Cameroon), an inlet of the Atlantic on Africa’s western coast that was a hub of extensive slave-dealing operations.
Let’s see. What’s the per capita income for black Americans in the United States?
Now, what’s the per capita income in:
The Democratic Republic of Congo: $577
There’s a reason all the people that are telling you America is a racist hellhole and they deserve reparations for giving us the gift of their presence aren’t moving to where their ancestors were captured. It’s because, despite all their whining and complaining, they have it several orders of magnitude better here than they would there and they know it.
Nobody deserves to be able to play the victim card in 2023 because of things that happened to their ancestors more than a hundred years ago and even if they did, black Americans are far from the only people that suffered. White people died fighting to put an end to slavery in the Civil War and were sharecroppers. Different white ethnic groups like the Italians and Irish were horribly discriminated against. So were Asian immigrants. You could certainly point out ways that Americans back then mistreated Indians, but the Indians also massacred Americans and kept slaves themselves.
Additionally, contrary to the impression you get from the ahistorical nonsense going around on the Left these days, slavery has been around as long as human beings have and it wasn’t just a black thing.
It's worth noting that, other than Great Britain, the United States has done more than any nation in history to put an END to slavery. Although we should be ashamed that we had slaves, we should also be proud that our nation did so much to END SLAVERY. So, maybe we need a national day of thanks to the United States for doing so much to end slavery across the world? It would certainly be well deserved.
All that being said, if there were living slaves and slave owners today in America, I would be perfectly fine with them being paid reparations by the people that profited from their involuntary labor. That would seem to be one of the most just uses of reparations imaginable. However, all the slaves and slave owners are long dead.
It’s also worth noting that one of the critical concepts used to sell the ludicrous idea of reparations for slavery is that America “got rich” off of slavery. This idea doesn’t even survive the most basic level of scrutiny:
During the mid-1800s, America was a much smaller, much poorer country than it is today. Back in 1860, America’s population was about 31 million people and in 1870, after the war, per capita income per person was $2,445. Today, America’s population is roughly 328 million people and per capita income is $65,297. Additionally, keep in mind that the industrial north rather famously had a much stronger economy than the slaveholding south. Put another way, the wealth generated by slaveholding states was an insignificant part of America’s economic success and you could even make a decent argument that slavery retarded America’s growth, not helped it.
Once you get beyond the idea of a responsible person or corporation paying some person or entity that they’ve harmed directly with their actions, reparations are usually a purely political idea. In those cases, reparations almost inevitably turn out to be a group of politicians looking to give away other people’s money to their political allies in return for votes. If you want to see a perfect example of this, look at what’s happening in San Francisco right now:
A San Francisco advisory committee has recommended paying out hefty reparations to the city’s longtime black residents, including a $5 million payment per qualifying person and a supplemental income to low-income residents for 250 years.
“While neither San Francisco, nor California, formally adopted the institution of chattel slavery, the values of segregation, white supremacy, and systematic repression and exclusion of black people were legally codified and enforced,” the group wrote.
As such, the committee proposed the city make a lump sum payment of $5 million to black residents who are at least 18 and have identified as black or African American on public documents for at least ten years. Residents must also meet at least two of eight other requirements. Among those requirements is that the resident is “personally, or the direct descendant of someone, incarcerated by the failed War on Drugs” or is a “Descendant of someone enslaved through US chattel slavery before 1865.”
So, a city in a state that didn’t own slaves is going to pay people whose ancestors weren’t necessarily even slaves 5 million dollars for… what? Being related to someone who may have been a slave or alternately, who may have gone to jail for dealing crack?
Not only does this seem ludicrous on its face, but it seems doubly ludicrous given that this is going on in the exact same city:
A coalition of more than 100 businesses and property owners in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district are demanding tax refunds for 2022 for dealing with rampant crime and drug use.
"There is a real and palpable fear that the neighborhood is now on the verge of collapse," The Tenderloin Business Coalition wrote in a petition to Mayor London Breed, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. "The neighborhood is not safe because the streets are controlled by drug dealers. Drug dealers operate in very clear and obvious ways to any rational observer... They prey on residents, openly steal from Tenderloin businesses, they intimidate and extort passersby and all of this behavior goes unchecked by law enforcement."
About 135 business and property owners in the Tenderloin district signed the petition demanding "a full and complete refund of all sales tax and property taxes paid to the City of San Francisco in the fiscal year 2022" for the city reportedly abandoning "its commitment to provide a baseline of safety."
"The city has abandoned its commitment to provide a baseline of safety in the neighborhood, thus significant effort and investments made by the business owners and property owners to keep their blocks safe and clean have come to nothing. It is clear the state of the neighborhood is declining. We represent that this is a violation of the City’s implicit bargain with the taxpayer: pay your taxes and the city will ensure safe streets," the petition reads.
In other words, while the city is discussing giving people 5 million dollars each in reparations for having the right skin color, there are essentially 100-plus businesses demanding reparations in the form of taxes they paid to compensate them for the San Francisco government refusing to do its first and more important job, which is to provide security.
Do they deserve reparations for that sort of thing? Traditionally in America, the answer to that question has been “no,” but by any reasonable standard, they deserve it more than some guy whose great-great-great grandad was a slave or whose dad went to jail for selling heroin to school kids.
The business owners in the Tenderloin district are actually people who are being wronged. They’re being wronged NOW and the people responsible for that wrong are in the government of San Francisco. Tell me why these people don’t have a better case than ANYONE claiming that they’re owed reparations because their ancestor was a slave? We could say the same thing about people in crime-ridden neighborhoods all across America. About people who were victimized by criminals that were let out of jail early. About the victims of crime by illegal aliens. About the people that got sick after being forced to take mandatory COVID vaccines. About white and Asian students who lost out to less qualified black students when they applied to universities because of Affirmative Action.
The reality is that once you start handing out large lump sums of other people’s money for purely political reasons, there are an endless number of other people that will reason that if the original group of deadbeats got paid, then why shouldn’t they? In a sense, you can hardly blame them. That’s why smarter and more decent people than the sort of race hustling, poverty pimps that advocate in favor of reparations are so against reparations for slavery. The people who deserve to pay and be paid are long gone, the people who want money today don’t even remotely deserve it and the whole thing would turn into just one more slippery slope that would end with billions of dollars wasted.
So much truth in this essay my neck is sore from nodding in agreement. I'm sick of the words "insane", "insanity", "have lost their minds" to describe the idiocy that underscores the tenets of progressivism, I never want to hear them again! What ever the words are on the state seal of California, if those words I don't ever want to hear again aren't on the seal, they should be.
Perhaps every person who serves in the government, from the highest to the lowest, should have an equal amount of taxpayer money withdrawn from their paychecks that they indiscriminately dole out to the undeserving. Would that put the brakes on them? Ha! These grift experts would probably find a way for that to line their pockets and glean votes.
Reparations is the most stupid and dangerous idea floating around America. In exchange for buying votes, the Democrats are willing to violate every principle of equal treatment under the law, and to potentially trigger a race war? I get stuck on the fact that "we tried this already, and the Democrats undid it." Right after the Civil War, General Sherman took plantations from the slave owners and gave the slaves 40 acres and a government mule, but the Democrats and their founder, Andrew Johnson, killed Lincoln and kicked the slaves out and gave the land back to the former slave owners, (now share cropping landlords). If there is any reparation scheme, any money should only come from Democrats, the crew that sabotaged the timely plan that Republicans had implemented. The only other thing I would say is to look up and see where "African Immigrants" land on the annual income chart- higher than American born white people! You don't see this discussed much because of course it blows up their "skin color racism keeps black people down" narrative. Despicable lies and division designed to destroy our nation, the most diverse, by far, on the planet...