Say No to Reparations

by Sal on February 18, 2009

in Culture,Politics

On the docket in the House of Representatives is H.R. 45, which establishes a blue-ribbon commission to examine the effects of slavery both on African Americans from the Civil War era as well as those living today.  The commission would also be charged with determining appropriate remedies to the descendants of slaves:

In making such recommendations, the Commission shall address among other issues, the following questions:

(A) Whether the Government of the United States should offer a formal apology on behalf of the people of the United States for the perpetration of gross human rights violations on African slaves and their descendants.

(B) Whether African-Americans still suffer from the lingering effects of the matters described in paragraphs (1), (2), (3), and (4).

(C) Whether, in consideration of the Commission’s findings, any form of compensation to the descendants of African slaves is warranted.

(D) If the Commission finds that such compensation is warranted, what should be the amount of compensation, what form of compensation should be awarded, and who should be eligible for such compensation.

Reparations for slavery are a farce. and simply a back-door way of providing welfare while at the same time punishing the evil white man for its horrific crimes dating from the immoral founding of this nation.

There are several problems with this logic.  Yes, slavery was a horrible offense against human dignity, and a stain upon our past as a nation.  Yet even in our founding, the founders knew that slavery was a stain, and put in the mechanism into the Constitution to start bringing about its end.

There is another problem with the idea of reparations, which Bill Dupray at the Patriot Room points out so succinctly:

Not to put too fine a point on it, but I personally have never owned a slave, and to my knowledge, nobody in my entire clan, stretching back to the mid-19th century, when we arrived in America, has either. But I am going to have to pay more money to the government so it can be given to people who were never slaves, whose families may never have been slaves (how does one accurately prove that anyway?), and who have benefited from hundreds of millions of dollars in welfare payments, affirmative action, racial preferences and set-asides, and anti-discrimination laws?

Slavery was an evil that was perpetrated on African-Americans in the past.  It was horrific, and it should rightly be condemned.  However, it is in the distant past.  No one alive today was a part of slavery, or even the son or daughter of someone who was a part of slavery.  The past should remain the past.  We should learn from it, see slavery for the evil that it was, and move on.  Reparations will do nothing to stamp out racism, achieve racial harmony, or anything of that nature.  It is unprincipled, unjust, and bad policy.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

James February 19, 2009 at 9:39 am

You say that slavery is an evil which exists only in the past. Yet the whole point of H.R. 40 is to examine whether there are lingering effects from slavery today, and if so, whether anything ought to be done about that.

When you ask to “move on” from the past, without doing anything to correct its effects, aren’t you simply asking people to swallow injustice and not complain?

Perhaps the problem is that you think there are no effects from slavery today. That’s certainly the message from Bill at the Patriot Room. But he’s wrong: programs like welfare and affirmative action have benefited mostly people who aren’t black. Blacks have been far behind whites in this country since the days of slavery and Jim Crow. That effect is directly attributable to slavery and discrimination, just as much of the standard of living of the average American today can be traced to the legacy of slavery, as well.


rightonoz February 19, 2009 at 6:24 pm


NZ paid money to Maori tribes for loast land etc and made a ‘full and final’ payment. Guess what they are still going back for more handouts!.

Yes, slavery was abominable, however paying reparations to descendents 200years later is stupidity.

Regardless of the fact that the majority of blacks in the US are still at the bottom of the heap and do suffer systematic discrimination in may area’s (Sorry it is a fact), they are far better off than if they were living in any part of Africa and they and their families do have access (most of the time) to far better education, health and welfare than if they were in Africa. You could say it all evens out…


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