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Reparations: From fringe to mainstream?
Posted by: McQ on Thursday, July 13, 2006

For the life of me I simply can't understand thinking which sees this as a valid idea:
Advocates who say black Americans should be compensated for slavery and its Jim Crow aftermath are quietly chalking up victories and gaining momentum.

Fueled by the work of scholars and lawyers, their campaign has morphed in recent years from a fringe-group rallying cry into sophisticated, mainstream movement. Most recently, a pair of churches apologized for their part in the slave trade, and one is studying ways to repay black church members.
It boggles the mind to think that there are those out there that believe that people who have never been bought or sold are owed money by people who've never owned anyone.

Certainly, I understand and accept the arguments about slavery and its residual effect ... to a point. But that point doesn't include cash to descendent's removed by multiple generations from slaves.

Perhaps they mean it in a metaphorical sense? In a word, no. We're talking cash payments here.
Reparations opponents insist that no living American should have to pay for a practice that ended more than 140 years ago. Plus, programs such as affirmative action and welfare already have compensated for past injustices, said John H. McWhorter, a senior fellow at the conservative Manhattan Institute.

"The reparations movement is based on a fallacy that cripples the thinking on race — the fallacy that what ails black America is a cash problem," said McWhorter, who is black. "Giving people money will not solve the problems that we have."
Now an argument can be made that neither AA or welfare have "compensated" for the injustices of slavery. But in combination with recognizing and changing the legal status of blacks to ensure their equality under the law and programs to help those at a disadvantage, a real effort has been made to ameliorate the residual effect of the peculiar institution.

As McWorter says, the problem isn't cash. And, interestingly, the danger of a reparations payment is that most people, should it ever come to pass, will then be moved to consider the matter closed forever. At that point, sympathy for set aside and racial preference programs will not be entertained as they are now. At the moment those payments were made my guess is the phenomenon of white guilt will, for the most part, be assuaged.

Perhaps the real reason for the reparations movement is acknowledgment. Acknowledgment that what was done was profoundly wrong and had some horrid residual effects.

If so, I acknowledge that. But I knew that when I was old enough to understand what slavery was. As did my parents, and theirs, and theirs. I don't think any reasonable person believes the institution was anything but vile, wrong and a horrible violation of human rights.

But, in historical context, that was then ... this is now.
"A lot of white people think they know everything there is to know about slavery — we all agree it was wrong and that's enough," Browne said. "But this was the foundation of our country, not some Southern anomaly. We all inherit responsibility."
No, we don't. We inherent the results and we do what we think is right to ensure that what happened then doesn't happen again. We do that legally and culturally. But those alive today are not responsible for what happened then. What we are responsible for is doing what is necessary to fix any racially related problems through culture and law. To use a cliche, "level the playing field", or if you prefer, work legally and culturally toward a color-blind society. What we're not responsible for is paying for something we never did to people who never suffered under it's yoke.
 
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David Horowitz has done some interesting work in this area. I highly recommend that anyone interested in the reparations issue check it out. Warning: Horowitz is somewhat of a bomb thrower, those easily offended should give it a wide berth.

John McWhorter, a professor of linguistics, has also done some excellent work on reparations and the lingering effects of slavery. I recommend his books Authentically Black and Doing Our Own Thing. It gives me great hope that he represents the future of black professors and intellectuals, not the old has beens and never weres like Cornell West and Angela Davis.

Lastly, for the pro-reparations folks. If we support your idea, shouldn’t Egypt be donating the Pyramids, most of the Valley of Kings, and, for all we know, the Sphinx, to Israel, Libya, Sudan, Chad, Ethiopia, and any number of sub-Saharan nations?
 
Written By: The Poet Omar
URL: http://
Geez, this is utterly ridiculous. I have a friend who’s half black and half white. Maybe she should pay herself reparations.

Some large proportion of "black" people are also descended from "white" people. And a lot of the "white" people in the U.S. today are descended (as I am) from people who not only did not own slaves, but weren’t even in this country until 50 years after the Civil War, and were oppressed in their home countries to boot. Therefore I propose that anyone who wants reparations has to trace their genealogy back to their ancestors’ entry into the United States and determine what proportion "black" they are. Then they have to trace the ancestry of every American taxpayer back to their ancestors’ entry to determine their fair share to contribute to the reparations. If reparations are really about fairness, they should jump at the chance to achieve this higher degree of fairness.

Of course, we all know reparations aren’t about fairness, they’re about greed and bringing home the goodies to your special group.
 
Written By: Wacky Hermit
URL: http://organicbabyfarm.blogspot.com
I fully believe in reparations for any and all
persons who were formerly legal slaves.

I don’t think any are still alive.
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
I don’t have to pay. I’ve already been pardoned.

http://www.gmu.edu/departments/economics/wew/gift.html
 
Written By: Jay Evans
URL: http://
Acknowledgment

Amendment XIII

Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

Amendment XV

Section 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.


Interesting, I don’t every remember that exception in the 13th.

But why stop with reparations to Black Americans. The KKK didn’t
only dislike Blacks. My Irish mother remembers the KKK going after
Irish Catholics. Many places the Irish didn’t like the Italians.
It has been a staple of TV shows from the 70’s on that Blacks don’t
like Hispanics. And ask any Haitian if anybody likes them, as they
seem to occupy the lowest point in the pecking order for Black and
Hispanics. What about the "second Americans," the Indians (actually
they pushed out the Polynesian strain of "first Americans") originally
from Asia ?

Shouldn’t each of these groups receive Acknowledgment as well.

And there were Assyrian slaves, Babylonian slaves, Egyptian slaves,
Roman slaves, the lower castes in India, ...

Forget reparations, why not start here.
This is where to make the real acknowledgment.
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
Well thanks Jay, I’m doubly screwed, my ancestors were part of the Norman conquests too.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Some large proportion of "black" people are also descended from "white" people.
Yes, that is true. But it wasn’t because we wanted to be decendents of white people. Think about how it was that we came to be decendents of whites.

I have a picture of my great-great grandmother, who looks mostly white. But I also have the bill of sale for her from 1858.

Slavery may have been over a long time ago but it was quickly replaced with Jim Crow, which itself was not outlawed until some 40 years ago - during my lifetime, I might add.

I have mixed feelings about reparations. One thing I am clear on is that reparations should not be paid to individuals; instead, it should go to institutions, such as HBCUs. Yes, the payment is really an acknowledgement of the horrors that existed for a long time in this country. But I also fear that such payment will let everybody off the hook, and that the continuing discrimination that we face will be ignored. A payment will not make that discrimination magically disappear.
 
Written By: Vivian J. Paige
URL: http://vivianpaige.wordpress.com
Black Americans should go to Gana and Nigeria and demand that at least some of the reparations come from the decendants of those who sold their ancestors to the European traders.
 
Written By: Jimmy the Dhimmi
URL: http://moorejack.ytmnd.com/
The advocates of reparations are apparently unfamiliar with the phrase "corruption of blood". If someone can explain to me why I should be punished for something I didn’t do, I might be more agreeable. Until that’s explained, I will continue to think that reparations are a deplorable idea.
 
Written By: Robert Prather
URL: http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/
Reparations? Cool! Where’s the Irish line? And the Cherokee line?

Some of my ancestors died digging the canals of New Orleans. They were "payed" with potatoes. The reason Irish were brought in was because slaves were too valuable to expose to yellow fever in the canals. And of course I don’t have to tell you what my Cherokee ancestors went through.

The truth is, using the same logic, a case could be made for African Americans paying white Americans for "saving" them from Africa’s poverty and disease with slavery.

yours/
peter.
 
Written By: Peter Jackson
URL: http://www.liberalcapitalist.com
When the movement started, cash was not always the solution. Perhaps if American had had honest discussions about slavery and how that and Jim Crow was designed to break blacks dignity, blacks now would not left wanting.
I sometime resent that most people think that all we needed was the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Act. Those laws just automactically made everything equal and a level playing field.
With relation to reparations: I want respect, I want to be thought of as an American, and I want you to appreciate the contribution of my ancestors. Slavery gave this country an economic base toward survival. I would want everyone to read the slave narratives, to get some understanding of what slavery was like and how precious freedom was to the slave.
It’s interesting, since the abolistment of slavery, sometime when we became economicly indepentdant from whites; it has resulted in riots and other destructive behavior from whites. More recently it has been "Urban Renewal." Urban Renewal detroyed mostly stable black neighborhoods and businesses. Whites for so many years have done their best of destroy us and 40 some years later the same tendicies still exist. When blacks point this out, they are accused of playing the race card.
I never get the immpression that whites want to really enter the discussion about race. Quite often, the only discusion about blacks are about their victimhood or why do we keep blaming white folk. Hardly anything positive, unless it proves a point about how some black is just like whites.

Black has nothing to do with genelogy. I grew up under the one drop rule.
Black is not being white for those of us who lived in the system that defined our lives that way. Jim Crow was close to Apartheid. It has not been something that I have outgrown or forgiven.
 
Written By: VRB
URL: http://
Vivian J. Paige wrote:
"One thing I am clear on is that reparations should not be paid to individuals; instead, it should go to institutions, such as HBCUs."
How about Bluefield State College in WV. It’s student body in now 93% non-black—which is still a 2.5 fold enrichment of African ancestry students compared to the state population—but a very small number of people would benefit from it who are the intended recipients...
"But I also fear that such payment will let everybody off the hook, and that the continuing discrimination that we face will be ignored. A payment will not make that discrimination magically disappear."
A tool that cannot work should not be taken to hand.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
Antietam, Vicksburg, Gettysburg...paid in full
 
Written By: frossca
URL: http://
Slavery in the US may be history, but worldwide it is at it’s peak.

"estimates there are 12.3 million people in forced labor, bonded labor, forced child labor, and sexual servitude at any given time; other estimates range from 4 million to 27 million."

These are the largest numbers in slavery, ever.

How about we start by ending slavery.
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
Black Americans should go to Gana and Nigeria and demand that at least some of the reparations come from the decendants of those who sold their ancestors to the European traders.

Since they’re huffing and puffing so about ’residual effects,’ they should further figure out which African country they were taken from, compare the median income per capita there with their own income here, and adjust their tax payments by that amount.
 
Written By: Achillea
URL: http://
Whites for so many years have done their best of destroy us and 40 some years later the same tendicies still exist.
Some whites, right? Not even most whites, either.
 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
Neo,

I am right there with you. Of course that would make you a neo-con warmonger because we all know where most of those slaves reside.

VRB,

I completely understand.
Perhaps if American had had honest discussions about slavery and how that and Jim Crow was designed to break blacks dignity, blacks now would not left wanting.
Of course I have had those discussions and fully acknowledge what Jim Crow and slavery were designed to do, I know Peter has and I suspect most of us here have. So do we get some kind of special dispensation?
I sometime resent that most people think that all we needed was the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Act. Those laws just automactically made everything equal and a level playing field.
I don’t think anybody here believes those things, but if they do I expect they will speak up. It is not a shy group. What I would like to know is why I should be punished for those who hold such views?
I want respect, I want to be thought of as an American, and I want you to appreciate the contribution of my ancestors. Slavery gave this country an economic base toward survival. I would want everyone to read the slave narratives, to get some understanding of what slavery was like and how precious freedom was to the slave.
If anybody needs the books come by my house. I have a number.I also suggest you visit the site neo links to. I personally think those of us concerned about slavery should focus there. That would be a far more appropriate form of redress because we would be helping actual victims. I do assure you that you have my respect, at least as much as anyone gets just by being a person. If I thought paying you cash might make you feel you have gotten it maybe I would even consider it, but you and I both know that wouldn’t work.
More recently it has been "Urban Renewal." Urban Renewal detroyed mostly stable black neighborhoods and businesses.
This is another point where we are on board with you. Given that this is a libertarian board, I think you should know that a primary thrust of libertarian research and policy has been directed at urban planning initiatives and their destructive impact upon poor and minorities. Urban renewal being a prime example. Protests against Keoh being another. The Institute for Justice is a group most of us support and that type of thing is what they spend a huge amount of time fighting.
Whites for so many years have done their best of destroy us and 40 some years later the same tendicies still exist.
Certainly some vicious racists still exist. I even know some of them. Of course it should be pointed out that there are African-American’s who want to destroy me, as well as many others around the world. I am not sure how others racism means I owe reparations.
Jim Crow was close to Apartheid. It has not been something that I have outgrown or forgiven.
Nor would I expect you to, though it might help you to do so. Either way, if you don’t want to forgive those who erected and defended Jim Crow, could you at least refrain from condemning or punishing those of us who did not? I personally do not need your forgiveness. I am certainly not going to ask for it. I have nothing but contempt for people who apologize for things like this. It is cheap grace. I don’t have to actually suffer deserved condemnation, but I get the benefit of an apology anyway. That is pathetic. If I want grace it will have to be for the good I do, not for apologizing for the crimes of others. None of us get to get off that easy in my book.

I am patient with such complaints, no matter how misplaced or unfair they are VRB, because the anger is so understandable. However, my empathy doesn’t lead me to feel I need to agree with what is obviously wrong. I also don’t see how it is in any way practical or that it would make any lasting difference. So I will have to respectfully reject the offer to expiate some of some people’s ancestors sins at this time. I also will not ask that the US population at large to pay me for the crimes against my ancestors. My children also do not need to be paid for their ancestors suffering on the Trail of Tears and afterwards.

There is too much evil in this world to spend our time making ineffective gestures for the crimes of the past. Once again, visit the site neo link’s to, it really is worth our focus.
 
Written By: Lance
URL: http://
Yes, that is true. But it wasn’t because we wanted to be decendents of white people. Think about how it was that we came to be decendents of whites.
You are what you are. Would you rather not exist? Without any of your ancestors, you would exist.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
When I say whites, these are not individuals. This is a group that fits my description of the perpetrators and living in a world of black or white. The world of Jim Crow.
 
Written By: VRB
URL: http://
Slavery gave this country an economic base toward survival
.

Slavery gave this nation division and Civil War.

The part of the nation that prevailed in the Civil War did so due to economic superiority—despite a lack of slavery in that part of the nation.

Speaking of whick, I’d like reperations from blacks for the .58 bullet my greatgrandfather took in the Battle of the Wilderness (and carried with him until he died in the 1920s).
Whites for so many years have done their best of destroy us and 40 some years later the same tendicies still exist.
If this were true, you wouldn’t be here.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Geez, this is utterly ridiculous. I have a friend who’s half black and half white. Maybe she should pay herself reparations.
The African slave trade began as a black on black effort. Perhaps we should determine which blacks should pay other blacks? Those with ancestors on both sides of the trade whould have a more difficult accounting.

Arab slave traders internationalized the trade, which spread to the Portugese and Spanish, and later to English North America. Arab slave traders did not restrict themselves to black Africans, they also enslaved white Europeans, several million of which became slaves.

The Royal Navy ended the international slave trade on the high seas, for the most part. But of course, slavery continues in the Arab world.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
As an aside, the central character in Amistad in reality was siezed and enslaved by fellow blacks, and after winning at court in the US, became a slave trader himself.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
As I see it, the biggest problem surrounding any discussion related to race is the lack of understanding that continues to exist between blacks and whites in America. The comments on this board are not unlike comments I see whenever the topic comes up. And it saddens me - because I know that, in my lifetime, I will never experience an America without racism.

I believe the answer is to get out from behind these keyboards and actually get to know people of the other race. I don’t mean the "I work with black (white) people" or "my neighbor is black (white)" or any of that casual contact that whites and blacks have. Hang out together, have your kids play together, attend church together - in other words, have a relationship with someone of the other race.

Then, and only then, do we have a chance to make real headway against the beast of racism.
 
Written By: Vivian J. Paige
URL: http://vivianpaige.wordpress.com
I’m not paying one dollar for reparations. Not. One.
 
Written By: Matteo
URL: http://
Vivian,

The central problem isn’t racism, but the failure of the black community with respect to economics, education, crime, etc. This is partially enabled by politically correct attitudes that don’t allow whites to grapple with the subject. It has also been enabled by white liberal ideas like welfare.

I think that Cosby and others have made good points, points whites can’t make, but the black community seems more inclined to try to get Cosby in line rather than deal with the real problems blacks face.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
I meant to address this bit, but I didn’t,
Yes, that is true. But it wasn’t because we wanted to be decendents of white people. Think about how it was that we came to be decendents of whites.
What you mean is that some of your ancestors might not have wanted to procreate with white people. However that white person is still your ancestor and all miscegenation pre 1970 was not coercive. More relevant is that none of us chose to be born to our parents. I didn’t get to choose my ancestors, you didn’t get to choose yours. Your comment is therefore irrelevant in deciding what each of us is deserving of or accountable for. I don’t get to ask my english ancestors non irish children to pay for my irish ancestors rape or oppression at the hands of the english either.

Vivian,

First of all some of the commenters on this board may be African-American, and please do not give us a show of hands. I don’t think it strengthens the argument one way or the other. More importantly you have no idea what our experience with racism or other races is either way. The idea that experiencing what you say would change the logic or rationale of these commenters is rather presumptious. I have no illusions I assure you. Current racism doesn’t justfy reparations for past racism either. We have current remedies for that. Of course that is a different debate.
 
Written By: Lance
URL: http://
I believe the US should immediately agree to reparations. However, we first need to settle a previous debt, the one all African descendants owe to all European descendants for the Moors’ invasion and rule of Western Europe for some 600 years.
 
Written By: RedLion
URL: http://
Vivian,

The central problem isn’t racism, but the failure of the black community with respect to economics, education, crime, etc. This is partially enabled by politically correct attitudes that don’t allow whites to grapple with the subject. It has also been enabled by white liberal ideas like welfare.

I think that Cosby and others have made good points, points whites can’t make, but the black community seems more inclined to try to get Cosby in line rather than deal with the real problems blacks face.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Opps, somehow I doubletapped.

Redlion, it is more accurate to say Muslims invaded Europe in 711 than to say Africans did.
I don’t get to ask my english ancestors non irish children to pay for my irish ancestors rape or oppression at the hands of the english either.
Lance, the English who oppressed your Irish ancestors no doubt also had Celtic ancestors who were oppressed by their Saxon or Norman ancestors. In other words, the Irish and their English oppressors had ancestors who were cousins of a sort.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
I find reparations to be a insanely stupid idea. Particularly if one finds that their ancestors (great-grandparents and/or great-great-grandparents) arrived 11 years after the Civil War. It doesn’t help that the country that they all came from (same country for all) did not have slavery.

Now I’m supposed to owe somebody money for the slaver of their ancestors on what basis, exactly??

Because I’m white? What happened to the "content of their character and not the color of their skin?" That appears to be a one way street with the reparations crowd.
 
Written By: David R. Block
URL: http://
Lance, the English who oppressed your Irish ancestors no doubt also had Celtic ancestors who were oppressed by their Saxon or Norman ancestors. In other words, the Irish and their English oppressors had ancestors who were cousins of a sort.
So true, and in my case a different branch of my family came over in 1066 as a Norman and oppressed them both. I figure the lawyers will be fighting over that little bit for years.

What is also true, if the latest DNA research is to be believed, is that the entire Human race has a common ancestor that may be as close as only 2000 years ago. So me and VRB are not even that far removed as family because any two people, regardless of race are probably related even more recently.

Being in Financial services I need to get in on this. I’ll want to get out of fee based business though. This kind of constant shuffling of money is going to require lots of transactions. Commissions are definitely the way to go. I could keep myself busy just within my own family shuffling money around for years.
 
Written By: Lance
URL: http://
...for the .58 bullet my greatgrandfather took in the Battle of the Wilderness...
.58 caliber? Yow! You know that had to hurt. Paid in full indeed.

yours/
peter.
 
Written By: Peter Jackson
URL: http://www.liberalcapitalist.com
What is also true, if the latest DNA research is to be believed, is that the entire Human race has a common ancestor that may be as close as only 2000 years ago.
I think you are missing some zeros. American Indians have been here for over 10,000 years, to put things into perspective.
.58 caliber? Yow!
I’m assuming, since both the Springfield and Enfield rifle-muskets that were the most common arms were in .58. Other calibers were used, like the Spencer .52, the Henry .44 (private arms, not military issue), and the older smoothbores may have gone as large as .75 (that is the bore of the British Brown Bess of the Revolution).

Most likely, greatgrandpa was shot by an Enfiled .58. Second most likely, a Springfield .58.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
The idea that experiencing what you say would change the logic or rationale of these commenters is rather presumptious.
Nope. It comes from years of working in race relations.

If I had time, I would link all of the information out there that shows it. If I had time, I’d refute most of what has been written here. Instead, I threw that out there for folks to think about.
 
Written By: Vivian J. Paige
URL: http://vivianpaige.wordpress.com
Black is not being white for those of us who lived in the system that defined our lives that way. Jim Crow was close to Apartheid. It has not been something that I have outgrown or forgiven.
Then I sincerely hope you die soon, there is no place left for that kind of thinking. Neither I nor any white person under the age of sixty is responsible for your former condition, and on top of all the harm done to black people (and Indians) there is also the great amount of opportunity that has been extended in recent years.
Or maybe we should ask all of our new found "guest" workers from south of the border is they want to pay reparations to Black people?
 
Written By: kyle N
URL: http://impudent.blognation.us/blog
I believe the answer is to get out from behind these keyboards and actually get to know people of the other race. I don’t mean the "I work with black (white) people" or "my neighbor is black (white)" or any of that casual contact that whites and blacks have. Hang out together, have your kids play together, attend church together - in other words, have a relationship with someone of the other race.
Presumptuous does not even begin to describe your asinine statement. I think I know black people pretty damn well having lived with, worked with (and for), gone to church, and school with Black people my whole life. I know the good points of southern black culture and all the bad points too. I have seen white racism, and fought against it, and I have also seen black racism and lots of bad black anti-antisemitism as well.
Reparations will only exacerbate racial feelings in this country, We need to pull together not further apart. We need to stop dwelling on race, period!
 
Written By: kyle N
URL: http://impudent.blognation.us/blog
Don,
I want you to understand that I am here, that is what I meant by respect. You have projected you own view of what blacks are like. You can not respect that anything I have said could be valid.
The central problem isn’t racism, but the failure of the black community with respect to economics, education, crime, etc. This is partially enabled by politically correct attitudes that don’t allow whites to grapple with the subject. It has also been enabled by white liberal ideas like welfare.
You have become an apologist for racisim. Using the tired conservative mantra on how to speak about blacks. Blacks are a monolith? Is that the same as "they all look alike?" Do you think blacks would not have any knowledge of history of slavery? The fact is, it was not black on black slavery in this country. Slavery in Africa did not shape our history in America. It is not the same as those slaves in the Caribbean and South America. We do have to incorporate the world in order to discuss almost 300 years of slavery on this land.
I’ll say again, I do not ask for cash, only R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

Kyle,
Maybe you should say under 35. As you define the end of racism, the Civil Rights laws were not immediately in effect in 1964. As for the end of my life, it is inconsequential. There have many lives lost to castration, lynching, assasination, bombing, fire, riots, and the recent incident in Texas, dragging a man to death. Come to think of it, maybe you should say 5 years old.


 
Written By: VRB
URL: http://
I think you are missing some zeros. American Indians have been here for over 10,000 years, to put things into perspective
No I am not, that is what the research shows. Somewhere along the lines we have interbred enough so that all of us have a common ancestor, a single common ancestor as recently as 2000 years ago. That doesn’t mean all my ancestors are interrelated. So yes, the American Indians living today have a common ancestor with you and I that is approximately that recent. At least, according to this research. Maybe the research is wrong, but it seems rather plausible to me that between 2 and 5 thousand years ago lived a woman to whom we are all related. When I first heard this I said no way, but the more I thought about it the more it seemed not only possible, but likely.

My own children have ancestors that I can identify just off the top of my head without even looking with several Indian tribes, Spanish, French, Italian, English (including Norman which means originally Scandinavian) German, Irish and Scottish. If I looked with that in mind I am sure I could find many others and of course many more I would have no way of finding out. That is only looking back a few generations. I know of few populations which did not begin mixing at least 200 years ago, so this stuff spreads pretty quickly.

As I said, it may be wrong, but that is what the research says at this point.
 
Written By: Lance
URL: http://
Ah VRB, the old white guilt card. How well it works, my friend. Fortunately for me, my ancestors were dark skinned folks who had very little to do with the African slave trade.

You should read Jon’s "Objectively pro-whatever" column from a few days ago. It might give you some perspetive on the type of argument you are making here. I don’t think Don or any of the other commenters here are in any way apologists for racism. To even imply that is to pre-emptively play the race card right along with the white guilt card which you next dealt to Kyle.

When does the guilt of the white man end, may I ask? You haven’t excused those over 60, or those over 35, or even those over 5. This despite the idea that it is patently absurd to cast the stigma of racism on those who are barely old enough to walk and speak. And speaking of blacks not being monoliths, what about whites? Apparently, the vast white monolith makes sure to inundate its youth in racist teachings as soon as they are weaned from the breast to make sure that they all conform nicely to the white racial party lines dealing with race based issues. Or so you imply.

If we really are going to use the race guilt (also known as the sins of the fathers) argument, then no race on the planet is free of the guilt of oppressing another. As I pointed out earlier, if we are going to talk reparations, then lets start at the beginning, shall we?

You ask for nothing more than respect. I think that’s a very admirable position. The first step toward getting respect, however, is to learn to give it.
 
Written By: The Poet Omar
URL: http://
Don,
I want you to understand that I am here, that is what I meant by respect. You have projected you own view of what blacks are like. You can not respect that anything I have said could be valid.


I think the black subculture has failed in some substantial ways, but that is hardly a projection of what all blacks are like.

Further, I’m not going to reject what you say out of hand, but that doesn’t mean I’ll accept everything you say either.
You have become an apologist for racisim. Using the tired conservative mantra on how to speak about blacks. Blacks are a monolith? Is that the same as "they all look alike?"
I don’t see racism as a serious problem in this country today, and the proximate cause of black problems is black culture, not white racism.

Last I looked, about 13% of the population committed 49% of the homicides. Statistics like that need to be revised before we have a fully color blind society. That’s the reality we have to grapple with, but as long as you fallback on "white racism" as a boogyman, I doubt you will seriously grapple with it. And if I attempt to grapple with it, I’ll be branded racist.

No, I don’t see blacks as a monolith. But, the very talk of racism, whites, reparations, etc., assumes generalizing about groups. You can’t have it both ways: if you can generalize, then so can I.

And no, I wouldn’t confuse Condi and Colin Powell.
Do you think blacks would not have any knowledge of history of slavery?
I’m sure some do and some don’t. I’m sure most know little real history of slavery. Our first black President (Bill), for example, said something to the effect that 9/11 was payback for our sin of slavery. Clearly, he’s one ’black’ man who is unaware of the Arab slave trade.
The fact is, it was not black on black slavery in this country. Slavery in Africa did not shape our history in America. It is not the same as those slaves in the Caribbean and South America.
Slavery in the Caribbean did in fact lead to slavery here (our first slave ship was headed to the Caribbean and came to the English colonies by mistake). And the slave revolts in the Caribbean did in fact effect the treatment of slaves here.

And it was black on black slavery that lead to the development of the slave trade in the first place. So, in fact slavery in Africa set the stage for slavery here.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Vivian,
Nope. It comes from years of working in race relations.
No, that is called presumptuous. You know nothing about me and my life with African Americans. I can promise you, if I spent even more time with people of other races it would change my opinions not one bit. I have spent way too much of my life studying race and its history in this country, way too much time with people of other races to have my views changed by having a few more of my friends and acquaintances with a different color skin. I don’t think that way.

When I got married I chose the person who my wife and I care about the most who is also a pastor to carry out the ceremony. He happens to be black. Did it make me any better? No! Did it mean anything other than he is my friend and my wife adores him and he her? No. I wouldn’t presume to spend time with people to raise my awareness. That is using people. Will my children be any better people when he and his children come and swim with us? No. Will they be worse people if they don’t? No. Would he want me using him to understand the black experience? No, he wants me to be there when he calls and talks about his own marriage, to go to basketball games with him, to give him advice, as he has given advice in turn when we needed it. Would I like to know him even better? Yes, and that includes questions of race, but I hope he would be very disappointed in me if that was why I got to know him better. I certainly would hate to think that he was getting to know me better so he could know what it was like to be white.

If you have a specific beef about a point here go ahead and make it, but don’t presume you know things about the commenters on this blog other than the opinions they express. Some of them may be hopeful, some may be lamentable, but you have no business judging them based on some self satisfied sense of superiority based on things you cannot possibly know and your own presumed greater awareness and open mindedness.
 
Written By: Lance
URL: http://
No I am not, that is what the research shows. Somewhere along the lines we have interbred enough so that all of us have a common ancestor, a single common ancestor as recently as 2000 years ago. That doesn’t mean all my ancestors are interrelated. So yes, the American Indians living today have a common ancestor with you and I that is approximately that recent.
Not possible. American Indians have been here at least 10,000 years. Any common ancestor they have with Europeans must predate that.

The Icem Man they found in the Alps from 5,000 years ago could be genetically traced to some populations living in the Italian Alps today. If what you say is true, we could all trace him as a common ancestor.

I’ll do a quick google, let you know what I find.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Found this:

http://tedlab.mit.edu/~dr/Papers/Rohde-MRCA-two.pdf

 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Don,

You may be right, but the 10,000 years is irrelevant to Indians living today who have somewhere in the past 500 years had an ancestor from Europe. There are other reasons it works, but that alone shows why they cannot be separated from the rest of us so easily.
 
Written By: Lance
URL: http://
From wikipedia
However, Rohde, Olson, and Chang (2004), using a non-genetic model, estimated that the MRCA of all living humans may have lived within historical times (3rd millennium BC to 1st millennium AD). Rhode (2005) refined the simulation with parameters from estimated historical human migrations and of population densities. For conservative parameters, he pushes back the date for the MRCA to the 6th millennium BC (p. 20), but still concludes with a "surprisingly recent" estimate of a MRCA living in the second or first millennium BC (p. 27). An explanation of this result is that, while humanity’s MRCA was indeed a Paleolithic individual up to Early Modern times, the European explorers of the 16th and 17th centuries would have fathered enough offspring so that some "mainland" ancestry by today pervades even remote habitats. The possibility remains, however, that a single isolated population with no recent "mainland" admixture persists somewhere, which would immediately push back the date of humanity’s MRCA by many millennia. While simulations help estimate probabilities, the question can only be resolved authoritatively by genetically testing every living human individual.
Other models reported in Rohde, Olson, and Chang (2004) suggest that the MRCA of Western Europeans lived as recently as AD 1000. The same article provides surprisingly recent estimates for the identical ancestors point, the most recent time when each person then living was either an ancestor of all the persons alive today or an ancestor of none of them. The estimates for this are similarly uncertain, but date to considerably earlier than the MRCA, according to Rohde (2005) roughly to between 15,000 and 5,000 years ago.
As I said, maybe they are full of it, but that is what they are saying.
 
Written By: Lance
URL: http://
Lance,

I agree that’s what they are saying. However, I suspect there are native Americans who are pure Indian, although of course the Vikings visited and perhaps the Chinese as well.

I find a purely mathematical model a bit unconvincing in this. I’d prefer something more rooted in genetics.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
And it was black on black slavery that lead to the development of the slave trade in the first place. So, in fact slavery in Africa set the stage for slavery here.
Would you include Greek and Roman Slavery too.
The Portugese reinforced the African slave trade with incentives. FYI the black African slave trade was a similar to the Roman or Greek. The other African slave trade was Muslim both black and Arab.
Yes I want you to feel guilt, because I still suffer the conquences and I don’t see any of you lifting a finger to do any thing about it. All you do is point fingers, pick out your favorite black, and feel philosophically superior.
Then I sincerely hope you die soon, there is no place left for that kind of thinking.

How am I suppose to deal with someone who thinks my kind is better off dead? Was I mistaken in what he said?

I’ll give respect to those who think i have a right to speak.

 
Written By: VRB
URL: http://
VRB nobody on this site questions your right to speak, just your obvious melodrama.

Are you still attempting to impose the collective "guilt of the white race?"

Again, let me point out to you that no race on this planet is free of guilt when it comes to the oppression of another race. If you insist that white Anglo-Saxons feel guilty for their ancestors’ role in the African slave trade, then please also insist that Egyptians feel guilty for enslaving Jews, Nubians, Ethiopians, Libyans, etc. Japanese for enslaving Koreans. Mongolians for enslaving just about every other race in Asia and Eastern Europe. Etc.

And the only person I see pointing fingers here is you. Minorities of all colors have both succeeded and failed in modern America. WASPS have also both succeeded and failed. If there is a vast white conspiracy, then against whom is it directed? And to whose advantage? It certainly isn’t directed against East Asians, African Americans, South Asians, Arabs, Eastern Europeans, Eskimos, etc. And if there is a particular group that is being discriminated against for the white man’s advantage, then please show me what advantage is being gained. White people are just as likely to have out-of-wedlock births, high school dropouts, convicted felons, etc. in their families as any other ethnic group. If I’m totally off in left field here, please show me the evidence indicating otherwise (no I don’t mean statistics which say whatever the people quoting them mean them to say).
 
Written By: The Poet Omar
URL: http://
I don’t see any of you lifting a finger to do any thing about it.
With all due respect how would you know that? Unless by you, you mean for you in particular. In that case then you are right. Also, if you personally are suffering the consequences, in what way? I am not doubting you, I am just curious exactly what you are driving at. Finally, what is it that we could do about it? I mean those of us on this thread.
All you do is point fingers, pick out your favorite black, and feel philosophically superior.
How would you know that?
Yes I want you to feel guilt, because I still suffer the conquences
Even if you are still suffering the consequences how is that anyone on this threads fault?
 
Written By: Lance
URL: http://
Reparations for the decendants of enslaved African in America will occur. Those of you in this blog who believe that all American have the same playing field are mistaken. The fact is that our beloved country got its wealth and power off the backs of slaves. Now all the immigrant who came here post 1865 inherited the horrors of the institution. It would still be a wilderness. Think about how old this country is compared to other nations, how did America get so big so fast? FREE LABOR OF THE ENSLAVED PERIOD. Now think about that for a moment.
 
Written By: chicagomom
URL: http://
So chicagomom, you suggest that Asian Americans, Eastern European Americans, Hispanic Americans, and even African Americans who came to the US long after slavery ended should bear the "guilt" of slavery? I mean according to your theory anyone who has lived in America post-1865 has still benefitted from slavery.

In that case, then African Americans can simply pay themselves reparations, since we are all guilty after all.

 
Written By: The Poet Omar
URL: http://
To The Poet Omar

The melodrama comes from anger. This discussion was about reparations for slavery in America, not how over time other cultures have mistreated each other. I thought I descrbed how black and white is not about individuals. It is a constuct of Jim Crow. Every thing I have said about how blacks have been treated is true. This seemed to disturb certain individuals here. When I said that slavery in America still effects black folk. I get the history lesson once again. It is a constant denial that white folk had any responsibility in our slavery. Its the blacks folks fault. When I said I wanted respect, they felt I was trying conjure white guilt. I did not ask for a pound of flesh from anyone, just respect. It appears that it would be harder to get respect, than to get cash. If racism didn’t rear it ugly head here, I would not have been pissed off. Of course it will be said that I’m playing the race card; but yes I am over 60 and from my experiences, I know a duck when I see one.
 
Written By: VRB
URL: http://
VRB,

I cannot presume to imagine what a black man of 60 has endured in his lifetime. I hope that you feel some improvement has been made during your life, though I realize not yet enough. Alas, I believe it will require generational turnover for more significant progress to be made. I suspect you believe this, too. Many people formed their biases long before the Civil Rights Movement and have been unwilling to change them. Hopefully, as racism continues to be brought into the light, discussed, and denounced, more and more children will be born into an America with less and less racism around them.
 
Written By: Scout
URL: http://
Urban renewal victimized blacks? Yawn. So what’s new? And why do blacks still support the Democrats who invented urban renewal?

"I will never experience an America without racism.’

As long as you define rascism as disagreeing with whatever position you espouse, you are correct.

"When I say whites, these are not individuals."

Interesting.

"How am I suppose to deal with someone who thinks my kind is better off dead?"

Is that an intentional misreading or just supreme arrogance?

." The fact is that our beloved country got its wealth and power off the backs of slaves."

Absolute nonsense. What else is there to say?

." It is a constant denial that white folk had any responsibility in our slavery. Its the blacks folks fault."

More absolute nonsense. Distortion and selective interpretation.

." I did not ask for a pound of flesh from anyone, just respect."

I am perfectly willing to give courtesy and consideration to you or anyone else. Respect, however, must be earned, and you don’t earn it by accusing everyone who disagrees with you of racism. Stop whining. You may have legitimate complaints, but spare us the generic "I’m black, so I’m a martyr" crap.

As for reparations, I will endorse over the reparation checks I receive from the various groups that have persecuted and/or enslaved my ancestors.


 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
In addition to the various practical and philosophical objections to slavery reparations that have been made here I am sensing another objection that has not been fully articulated.

Peter Jackson notes that his Irish ancestors were brought to New Orleans to dig canals, risking Yellow Fever, and paid with potatoes. Lance says that his ancestors were among those who were forced to march down the infamous Trail of Tears. Don’s great-grandfather was wounded during the Civil War Battle of the Wilderness.

It seems that, for many who are not the descendants of slaves, the hardest thing to accept about reparations is not that the government will be coercing them to give up their hard-earned money, but that by paying that money they are being forced to give their mandate to an official, state-sponsored version of history that portrays their ancestors as priviledged oppressors.

For many people, their family saga is an important part of their own identity, and a source of pride, and they understandably will resist being coerced by the government to condemn that history.




 
Written By: Aldo
URL: http://
It is a constant denial that white folk had any responsibility in our slavery.
There aren’t any white folk alive now who had any responsibility for pre-1865 US slavery.

If you want to dig up my great-great ancestor’s bones up and kick them around to vent your anger, go ahead. But if you are going to blame me or demand that I feel guilt for something my great-great ancestors did or did not do, I’ll tell you to pound sand into a painful place.
 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
Well, I have to say, mostly late comer that I am genetically, am I to understand that all the non-slaves were sitting around on their backsides while the slaves built the country? Just curious about the latest ’on the backs of slaves’ meme that is being bandied about.

I also think it may be flying in ’guilt ridden’ communities, but it’s never going to catch on at national level enough to be put forward. And where the money would flow, from and to, and how, well. Let’s talk about the way FEMA made payments for New Orleans, and get back to me on what it will be like for this reparations concept.

In any event, best case, it’d be a tax credit, have a nice day.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
VRB,

Perhaps I can help ease the tremendous pain and injustice you feel you have experienced in your lifetime by quoting from my soon to be released book: "The Tao of Jeff: Modern Philosophy for Everyday Living."

Excerpted from Chapter One: It’s Your Own D*mn Fault...

...ultimately, YOU are solely responsible for your net happiness or net misery, so STOP YOUR SNIVELLING!


Available in hardback Spring 2007.

I’m 33 years old, so I guess I’m on the hook for James Byrd’s death, huh? I’m quite sure that sometime in the past 12 months a black man or woman was called "nigger" by a white, so I guess that makes my 15-month-old son culpable, doesn’t it?

You’re not a special and unique snowflake, buddy. Nobody cares how hard you think you’ve had it because they’ve got problems of their own, and those are the ones that most important to them. In their spare time, in a forum like this, people are willing to extend you some token sympathy, because blacks in the past have had a sad history in this country. But everyone has experienced adversity in their lifetime. It’s how YOU deal with it that defines your character and determines your net happiness, not what you expect other people to do for you.

If you don’t care for this white man’s preaching, maybe you’d like the example set by Frederick Douglass, who was BORN a slave, never knew a father, lost his mother at age seven, and eventually escaped from slavery. In his own words:
I prayed for twenty years but received no answer until I prayed with my legs.
Then he went on to become one of the most notable authors and orators in this country’s history. One thing he didn’t do was whine about unfair treatment. This is what he wrote in "What the Black Man Wants":

Everybody has asked the question. . ."What shall we do with the Negro?" I have had but one answer from the beginning. Do nothing with us! Your doing with us has already played the mischief with us. Do nothing with us! If the apples will not remain on the tree of their own strength, if they are wormeaten at the core, if they are early ripe and disposed to fall, let them fall! I am not for tying or fastening them on the tree in any way, except by nature’s plan, and if they will not stay there, let them fall. And if the Negro cannot stand on his own legs, let him fall also. All I ask is, give him a chance to stand on his own legs! Let him alone!


Instead of asking me to put myself in your shoes, why don’t you try putting yourself in HIS shoes?


 
Written By: Jeff
URL: http://
And, even more apropos:
There are many who find a good alibi far more attractive than an achievement. For an achievement does not settle anything permanently. We still have to prove our worth anew each day: we have to prove that we are as good today as we were yesterday. But when we have a valid alibi for not achieving anything we are fixed, so to speak, for life.

—Eric Hoffer
Hurts, don’t it?
 
Written By: Jeff
URL: http://
What you all assume is that you know how slavery has effected me. Our culture is what it is, because of slavery, the good and the bad. Everything I have written you have written your version of what it has meant. When I talked about lifting a finger to help, your comments and those of you who blog could add to the positive discourse; if you would stop thinking that whatever a black says, that you don’t like to hear, is playing the victim. I have the impression that I have to give up my history and honor yours to have any validity as a person. I have not said that anything about your ancestors suffering not affecting you. If you said so, I would have to take your word. I was hoping that some of you would look a little deeper beyond some stereotype you already have of me. I don’t think I hate, but there may be a fine line between hate and anger. I felt like I was playing the dozens when I said "Yes I want you to feel guilt, because I still suffer the conquences."

Scout,
I am not a black man, but a black woman. I wanted to say this because they definitly have suffered more severly than women from racism. I truly can not speak for them.
 
Written By: VRB
URL: http://
What you all assume is that you know how slavery has effected me.
I don’t really care about how events of over 100 years ago have affected you as an individual, unless you are much much older than I suspect.
I have the impression that I have to give up my history and honor yours to have any validity as a person.
Pardon me, but I honestly do not understand what you mean by that.

Do you believe that blacks are better off now than 40 years ago? How about 60 years ago? 80? 100? Where does the vector point? Are the gains on one hand offset by losses in another?

Do you wish to talk about the future we can create or the past which we cannot change?
 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
Face it - you simply want your "suffering" to continue. Because when you stop "suffering", you stop being special and will have to be judged solely on your character, just like the rest of us.

So hold on to your "suffering" with all your might, lady. Keep that pity-party rolling, but don’t expect me to believe you want resolution. Or that you want to see "the end of racism" in this country.

Because then who the h*ll is going to feel sorry for you then?
 
Written By: Jeff
URL: http://
I don’t want any of your "pity." Continue to preach to the choir. I’m outta here.
 
Written By: VRB
URL: http://

 
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