Posted on June 20, 2019

GOP Missing in Action on Reparations

Robert Hampton, American Renaissance, June 20, 2019

Resolution 40 in the House of Representatives calls for $12 million to be spent on a study commission on reparations (the number 40 stands for “40 acres and a mule). The Judiciary Committee held a hearing on it yesterday.

The committee invited New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, writer Ta-Nehisi Coates, actor Danny Glover, and others to testify in support. Just two panelists, former pro football player Burgess Owens and Quillette writer Coleman Hughes, opposed reparations. Only one witness was white: filmmaker Katrina Browne, who supports reparations because her ancestors traded slaves.

Nearly every committee Democrat endorsed H.R. 40. “We as a nation have not yet acknowledged and grappled with racism and white supremacy that has tainted this country and continues today,” said Sen. Booker, a presidential candidate. “These disparities don’t just harm black communities, they harm all communities.”

He said reparations must compensate for “persistent inequalities” beyond slavery including segregation and “redlining.” Others agreed.

Mr. Coates, author of the 2014 essay, “The Case for Reparations,” suggested compensation was due not just for slavery but Jim Crow laws, racial violence, predatory lending, mass incarceration, police brutality, and economic troubles. He also criticized Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who had criticized reparations in these terms:

I don’t think that reparations for something that happened 150 years ago, for whom none of us currently living are responsible, is a good idea. We tried to deal with our original sin of slavery by fighting a Civil War, by passing landmark civil rights legislation. We elected an African American president.

Mr. Coates’s reply:

We grant that Mr. McConnell was not alive for Appomattox. But he was alive for the electrocution of George Stinney. He was alive for the blinding of Isaac Woodward. He was alive to witness kleptocracy in his native Alabama and a regime premised on electoral theft. Majority Leader McConnell cited civil-rights legislation yesterday, as well he should, because he was alive to witness the harassment, jailing, and betrayal of those responsible for that legislation by a government sworn to protect them. He was alive for the redlining of Chicago and the looting of black homeowners of some $4 billion. Victims of that plunder are very much alive today. I am sure they’d love a word with the Majority Leader.

Mr. Coates claimed rich blacks and black immigrants also deserve reparations because the system discriminates against them.

Author Julianne Malveaux claimed life is worse for blacks now than it was 100 years ago because there is a greater black/white wealth gap. Dr. Malveaux blames this on “evil predatory capitalism,” which, according to her, directly oppresses blacks. She also claimed that “enslavement was the foundation on which our country was built.” Whites owe blacks reparations because they reaped rewards from enslavement. Dr. Malveuax said the Democrats used to be the “devil,” but now “Republicans took that over, and they became the devil.”

Mr. Glover said justice for blacks requires “radical change to the structure of our society.” The actor said whites must understand that make it happen.

Committee Democrats agreed. “Even long after slavery was abolished, segregation and subjugation of African-Americans was a defining part of this nation’s policies,” New York Rep. Jerry Nadler said. Texas Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, H.R. 40’s sponsor, said reparations are “long overdue.” White Pennsylvania Rep. Madeleine Dean said whites need reparations to “heal our soul.”

No one explained how “reparations” would work. Sen. Booker has proposed “baby bonds,” which would give all American newborns a $1,000 savings account. The government would make a deposit every year for 18 years, with poorer children getting more money. Other panelists want a racial solution. Mr. Coates didn’t offer anything concrete, but said some blacks “deserve checks.” Others wanted “radical structural change,” whatever that might be.

H.R. 40  suggests all blacks—not just descendants of slaves—would benefit. The commission to study reparations would have to draw nearly half of its members from groups that support reparations.

The commission would develop proposals based on many factors, such as “the role of Northern complicity in the Southern based institution of slavery,” and “the direct benefits to societal institutions, public and private, including higher education, corporations, religious and associational.” This suggests the descendants of Union veterans would pay, along with Northern universities, churches, and corporations.

There were anti-reparation arguments at the hearing—but no white Republican was willing to make them. They had blacks do it for them.

“Black people don’t need another apology,” Coleman Hughes said. “We need safer neighborhoods and better schools. We need a less punitive criminal justice system. We need affordable health care. And none of these things can be achieved through reparations for slavery,”

Mr. Hughes, a 23-year-old Columbia student and columnist for Quillette, argued that reparations turn blacks into victims and turn the relationship between black and white Americans into a “transaction.”

“The question is not what America owes me by virtue of my ancestry, the question is what all Americans owe each other by virtue of being citizens of the same nation,” he said. “And the obligation of citizenship is not transactional. It’s not contingent on ancestry. It never expires, and it can’t be paid off. For all these reasons, bill H.R. 40 is a moral and political mistake.”

The audience booed.

“I do not believe in reparations,” Burgess Owens said. “Because what reparations does is, it points to a certain race, a certain color, and points them as evil and points the other race, my race, as one that is not only becomes racist, but also beggars.” Mr. Owens said if that anyone owes blacks reparations, it’s the Democratic Party.

The only opposition to reparations by a white person came when Texas Rep. Louis Gohmert made a similar argument about the racist history of the Democratic Party.

Democrats clearly want reparations. H.R. 40 may pass in the Democrat-controlled House and several Democratic presidential candidates support reparations. If a Democrat wins, he will probably accept the committee’s suggestions and push for handouts.

Meanwhile, Republicans are missing in action. Most on the committee didn’t even show up. The few who did failed to make serious arguments against reparations. Sixty percent of Americans oppose reparations, but the GOP is in hiding.

It better stop hiding. Democrats will force the issue, but Republicans have a majority if they fight. If they cower, Democrats will impose reparations—and once again, white America will pay.