Earlier this week, musician Pharrell Williams was interviewed on CNBC. During the interview, he advocated for making Juneteenth—the day commemorating the official ending of slavery in the US—a national holiday. I personally support that initiative and believe that is a worthy goal. Williams also said he didn’t want to detract from July Fourth, but that he simply wanted to acknowledge that the same rights didn’t pertain to blacks at the time of the Founding, which sadly, is true.
Up to that point, I was in agreement…
But then the interview fell off the tracks when Williams advocated for extensive slavery reparations. That is a bad idea built on an erroneous assumption that the legacy of slavery is stifling the ability of blacks to advance in American society today. There are other factors such as single-family households, poor education, and youth unemployment that are the drivers of higher rates of poverty in the African American community.
However, that doesn’t justify making payments to people who have never been enslaved themselves.
Even though the ancestors of people living today were once enslaved, slavery ended 150 years ago in a war in which over 600,000 Americans died—mostly white men—to end the institution.
The chorus for reparations has continued to grow louder. David Brooks, the New York Times’ token Conservative, wrote a column last year endorsing the idea of reparation payments. He had previously been opposed to the idea but has apparently had a change of heart. His article is titled “The Case for Reparations.”
I have several issues with Brooks’ column.
First, Brooks starts out by writing, “The racial divide is born out of sin. We don’t talk about sin much in the public square anymore. But I don’t think one can grasp the full amplitude of racial injustice without invoking the darkest impulses of human nature.”
We don’t talk about sin because the left won’t let us talk about anything related with religion. Sin is a religious idea, and there is an effort to silence Christians in this country.
The second point he makes here is insulting to millions of Americans. The implication is that Americans are ignorant about the horrific history of slavery. If you don’t acknowledge “racial injustice” in America today, then you obviously are ignorant of history.
Raise your hand if you never learned about slavery in school.
I am assuming no one just raised their hand.
Brooks drags out a quote from Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural speech to make his point: “Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s 250 years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said 3,000 years ago, so still it must be said ‘the judgements of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.’”
Um, pretty sure Lincoln isn’t advocating for paying the decedents of slaves there. He is referencing the Bible and how we would have received God’s wrath had we continued the institution of slavery. It’s a reference to the stories of the Old Testament.
Nice try, David. Maybe you ought to dust off that Bible yourself.
He goes on: “That injury shows up today as geographic segregation, the gigantic wealth gap, the lack of a financial safety net, but also the lack of the psychological and moral safety net that comes when society has a history of affirming: You belong. You are us. You are equal.”
This isn’t 1860 or 1960 — it is 2020. African Americans have the same rights as white Americans. We have come a long way on race relations in this country. This is just an excuse.
Then, Brooks plays the identity politics card: “We’re a nation coming apart at the seams, a nation in which each tribe has its own narrative and the narratives are generally resentment narratives.
The African-American experience is somehow at the core of this fragmentation — the original sin that hardens the heart, separates Americans from one another and serves as model and fuel for other injustices.”
You can blame the eft for this tribal mentality. The Left has been trying to put people in a box based on their racial and gender identity. Conservatives judge the person by individual merit, not racial identity. It is about personal virtues, not personal grievances.
Brooks is saying that, because we had slavery 150 years ago, we are divided today.
This is an absurd claim. Unless you can find a slave and slave master who found the Fountain of Youth and are still living today, then I would reconsider my thesis.
Yes, America has made mistakes in the past, but we believe in the principles of personal responsibility in this country. No one around today was either a slave or a slave owner. For that reason, no matter how loud the calls for reparations may be, we need to remember that that won’t solve anything.