This is a tactic of the political class that we should always pay attention to. They say things that pretty well everyone can agree to but leave off the solutions they propose because they know that people won’t agree on those. We aren’t as divided in the country as people thing. We agree on most things. It’s what to do about those things that causes contention. Let’s break down a little from White House adviser Cedric Richmond speaking to Axios on behalf of the President.
“We have to start breaking down systemic racism and barriers that have held people of color back and especially African-Americans who were enslaved.”
At first blush people are likely to agree with that. But if you pick it apart there are problems. “We have to start…” we already have started. We started that 150 years ago and have been working on it ever since. We have made great strides. “systemic racism” is something that cannot be quantified and which many say does not exist in our modern world. “people of color AND African-Americans that were enslaved.” – So that lumps in people who weren’t enslaved but who have the same color skin as those who were. Problem after problem.
“We have to do stuff now to improve the plight, status, future, and empowerment of Black people all around the country.”
Sounds pretty good right? But is it true? Do we really have to do something right now? Often this kind of plea leads us to do something, anything, but not the right thing, or the best thing, or even the thing that might actually help. Then there is the fact that black people (why is black capitalized in the article) are not the only ones that need these things. Not everyone in poverty even thinks they are in poverty and many people in poverty don’t have black skin.
“We don’t want to wait on a study that we even support. We’re going to start acting now.”
Well of course you don’t. He’s basically saying – why do a study, we already know what it is going to say anyway. It’s the old, “we both know” logical fallacy.
That people don’t see this as racism is beyond me. This, this wanting to help, to extend the loving hand of government, is racism. Some day it is derived from “white guilt” but I say it is derived from a disgusting need for power over others
People don’t want this to happen
In a Reuters poll 80% of those polled were against reparations. Even among those who would benefit half didn’t want it. That’s a big deal. With numbers like that, why even move forward with it? Understand that half of people who would get this, saying no, is a huge deal. Even when people don’t agree with something they generally take the “freebie”.
Then there are those who realize that this entire concept just makes no sense at all.
No one alive today kept a slave. So it makes no sense to punish people today for something they didn’t do and to give to people today who were never slaves. There are those that argue that “America was built on the backs of slaves”. Sure, but it was also built on the backs of everyone else too. Slaves represented a vast minority of the working population in America. But then people argue, okay, but they didn’t get paid! What would we pay them? Going back to the first point, we can’t pay them, they are all dead. So some argue we can pay their decedents. What would we pay them? The average wage with room and board was $40 annually for a farm laborer in the 1860’s.
If we go beyond 1776 then England needs to pay the reparations. Or do the Dutch, or perhaps the Spanish? Who pays what for whom? It’s nonsense when you look at it in a practical way. Which is exactly why Mr. Richmond speaks of the issue in a way that avoids the practical.
You don’t deserve reparations and I don’t deserve to be forced to pay them.
For many Americans today, their families never owned slaves at all. They were too poor to own a slave. And many other families weren’t in America at all at the time of slavery. They have nothing to do with Slavery in America.
Many slaves (some say most) were sold into slavery by other Africans. They were purchased by Europeans and North Americans, but the idea that these were the people kidnapping them is largely false. That is not to excuse them. From our modern lens there is no excuse that works. But from the lens of their time – actually, from the lens of all time before then – slavery was a fact of life. That people should keep slaves is the new idea. So there is that. By the moral standards of the day those who were involved did not have teaching in their life that what they were doing was wrong. It was wrong, but they didn’t think so. So what? It just feels odd to ask people today to pay for the wrongs of the past when the past didn’t even see it as wrong.
The people asking for reparations never were slaves. The people being asked to pay never owned slaves. That really should be the end of this conversation among rational people. Your great great great grandfather enslaved my great great great grandfather so you should pay me money. Why doesn’t that get a collective, “uh, no”?
Why indeed! The reason it doesn’t is the race-mongers who make today’s money off yesterday’s tragedy by keeping it alive long after we, as a nation, would have let it die.
Racism will never go away. That’s because it is not a tangible object one can get rid of. Nor is it a rational thought one can use logic to vanish. Racism is based on emotion. Sometimes, perhaps most often, the person doesn’t even realize the root of their racism. Some of it may be impressed upon children by parents but I think we have to admit that is not the majority in our modern day. Race-mongering makes racism worse. It stirs resentment. It creates opposition where none would otherwise exist. We forget when we become so-called adults, the lesson of childhood that teaches us that two wrongs don’t make a right.
In “Don’t Carry a Burden that isn’t Yours – Slavery’s Past is Passed” I wrote, “There is nothing we can do about the past. No apology, not reparations, will change what happened, nor would either really change anything in the real world…But some doom themselves when they latch onto the idea of themselves as victims of crimes they didn’t experience and by experiences they never went through. It doesn’t seem reasonable to me to burden your own self needlessly.”
Don’t burden yourself with a thing you never experienced and don’t burden others with a thing they never did. The logic of this is so streamlined, so easy to follow, but emotion seems to win the day too often. Unload your burden and move on.