April 17, 2021

The Case Against Reparations: Part 1

Last week, I testified before the House Committee on the Judiciary’s Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties regarding H.R. 40: Examining the Path to Reparative Justice in America. In other words, reparations. This is the first part of the statement I submitted:

“Reparations is the extraction of money from people who were never slave owners to be given to people who were never slaves.”

It is also interesting that we are having this hearing at a time when racism as a barrier to success has never been so insignificant. In 1991, Black Democrat and Harvard sociologist Orlando Patterson said: “The sociological truths are that America, while still flawed in its race relations and its stubborn refusal to institute a rational, universal welfare system, is now the least racist white-majority society in the world; has a better record of legal protection of minorities than any other society, white or Black; offers more opportunities to a greater number of Black persons than any other society, including all those of Africa.”

In 1997, Time/CNN did a broad survey of Black and white teens. Asked whether racism is a major problem in America, both said yes. But, when Black teens were asked whether racism was a big problem, small problem or no problem in their own daily lives, 89% said small or no problem. In fact, nearly twice as many Black teens, compared to white teens, agreed that “failure to take advantage of available opportunities” was a bigger problem than racism.

During the 2008 race for the presidency, the major contenders were Democrats Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton; and Republicans Mitt Romney, a Mormon, and Sen. John McCain, who would have been 72 by the time he entered office, if elected. A 2007 Gallup poll found fewer Americans would refuse to vote for a Black person (5%); than would refuse to vote for a woman (11%); than would refuse to vote for a Mormon (24%); than would refuse to vote for someone who would be 72 upon entering office (42%).

In 2007, the year before he was elected president, Obama spoke at a Black church on the anniversary of Bloody Sunday. He said: “The previous generation, the Moses generation (the generation of Martin Luther King Jr.), pointed the way. They took us 90% of the way there, but we still got that 10% in order to cross over to the other side.”

I thought that 10% remaining “to cross over to the other side” was a fair assessment. After all, a 2002 Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll found that 8% of Americans believed that Elvis Presley was still alive β€” or that at least there was “a chance.” So, as to Obama’s 10% remaining, I’m not sure how much more wiggle room we have left before running into the Elvis factor.

The reparations argument is based, in part, on the belief that but for slavery, America would not have become the prosperous nation it is today.

To the contrary, conservative scholar Michael Medved notes:

“It’s not true that the U.S. became a wealthy nation through the abuse of slave labor: The most prosperous states in the country were those that first freed their slaves. …

“At the time of the Constitution, Virginia constituted the most populous and wealthiest state in the Union, but by the time of the War Between the States the Old Dominion had fallen far behind a half-dozen northern states that had outlawed slavery two generations earlier.”

About the difference in wealth between the North and the South, Frederick Douglass, after escaping from a plantation in Maryland to freedom in Massachusetts, wrote: “But the most astonishing as well as the most interesting thing to me was the condition of the colored people, a great many of whom, like myself, had escaped thither as a refuge from the hunters of men. I found many, who had not been seven years out of their chains, living in finer houses, and evidently enjoying more of the comforts of life, than the average of slaveholders in Maryland.”

To be continued next week.

Larry Elder is a bestselling author and nationally syndicated radio talk show host. His latest book, “The New Trump Standard,” is available in paperback from Amazon.com and for Nook, Kindle, iBooks and GooglePlay. To find out more about Larry Elder, or become an “Elderado,” visit www.LarryElder.com. Follow Larry on Twitter @LarryElder. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2021 LAURENCE A. ELDER

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18 Responses

  1. Excellent statement, as usual, by Mr. Elder. Some other items that ought to be addressed: 1. There were white slaves in (British America), especially hundreds of thousands of Catholics from Ireland in the 17th and 18th centuries. So would reparations also be made to Irish Americans? Scottish Americans? And what about the “indentured servants” from Ireland and elsewhere? How different were their lives from those of slaves? 2. Some 663,000 Americans died in the Civil War fought to end slavery. Will the descendants of those fallen also be recompensed? 3.When Lee surrendered to Grant, Lee said to Grant: “The reason you won this war is because you had more Irish fighting in your army.” He referred of course to the Irish, many of whom had arrived in the USA on the famine boats, also called coffin boats. 4. My parents only arrived from Ireland in the USA in 1928, So, would I be entitled to reparations– or be expected to pay reparations?

  2. Excellent statement, as usual, by Mr. Elder. Some other items that ought to be addressed somethime: 1. There were white slaves in (British America), especially hundreds of thousands of Catholics from Ireland in the 17th and 18th centuries. So would reparations also be made to Irish Americans? Scottish Americans? And what about the “indentured servants” from Ireland and elsewhere? How different were their lives from those of slaves? 2. Some 663,000 Americans died in the Civil War fought to end slavery. Will the descendants of those fallen also be recompensed? 3.When Lee surrendered to Grant, Lee said to Grant: “The reason you won this war is because you had more Irish fighting in your army.” He referred of course to the Irish, many of whom had arrived in the USA on the famine boats, also called coffin boats. 4. My parents only arrived from Ireland in the USA in 1928, So, would I be entitled to reparations– or be expected to pay reparations?

  3. Blacks were sod to blacks by blacks and some to whites who made it to America as slaves. They were then given their freedom an then given rights. Their progress from that point is from their own initiative. I did not do anything to them. Why should i give them money, and what would money do for them?

  4. LOVE LARRY ELDERS..HE IS SO FAIR AND HONEST. BLACK AND WHITE SHOULD SET HIM AS EXAMPLE.
    YOU CAN ONLY DO WHAT YOU WANT TO DO IN LIFE.IF YOU WANT TO BE A CROOK ,LIAR, MURDERER,
    WHATEVER. OR JUST ASK THE GOVERMENT AND TAX PEOPLE TO PAY FOR SOMETHING THEY HAD
    NOTHING TO DO WITH..I DO NOT HOLD THE JAPANANAISE RESPONSIBE FOR PEARL HARBOR OR
    THE JEWS FOR KILLING JESUS.THAT WAS ANOTHER TIME. GONE. GET ON WITH YOU LIFE AND MAKE
    SOMETHING GREAT HAPPEN QUITE LIVING IN THE PAST..STOP THE HATE , AND DO SOMETHING GOOD
    FOR YOUR COUNTRY.AS JFK “DON’T ASK WHAT THE COUNTRY CAN DO FOR YOU, ASK WHAT YOU CAN DO
    FOR YOUR COUNTRY”

  5. Any accurate & truthful telling of history will clearly affirm that Black African leadership, of the era, was totally complicit with the slave traders to provide them with the necessary inventory to ply their trade.

  6. We need term limits for our congressmen! We do not need Pelosi, Biden, and Harris as dictators of our citizens and laws.

  7. No one alive today has slaves….No one alive is a slave….DUH NO ONE alive today is going to pay for this STUPID reparation idea…….STUPID is as STUPID does…………….It is my understanding that the first slave was brought to America by a BLACK man!!!!

  8. They had their chance after the Civil War most chose to be taken cared of. Now just send them home to Africa if that’s what they want, no money

  9. Native Americans have been the most mistreated population in this country. Therefore the United States government owes Native tribes for theft, murder, rape, etc. and I think our government should ask for and beg for forgiveness for all the indignities the native peoples have suffered. Therefore the United States government should pay at least 100 trillion for reparations for past and present indignites.

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