Former President Barack Obama blamed “white resentment” for his reluctance to speak about reparations during his eight years in office. He says the conversation about reparations for slavery would be a non-starter due to the aforementioned reason, so there was no point in even bringing up the issue. “And what I saw during my presidency was the politics of white resistance and resentment. The talk of ‘welfare queens’ and the talk of the ‘undeserving poor.’ And the backlash against affirmative action,” he added.
Funny how “white resentment” never stopped Mr. Obama from passing DACA for illegal aliens brought to the United States as children or from abolishing “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” from the military for the LGBTQ population. Obama also successfully passed the infamous Obamacare while not telling the full truth about it (if you like your doctor you can keep your doctor). But when it comes to an idea such as reparations, all of a sudden the blame must be shifted to “resentful” whites. If Mr. Obama is being honest, he knows that “white resentment” is not the true culprit here.
The issue of slavery reparations for black Americans is a non starter for a few actual reasons. First, all of the slave owners and slave masters from the end of American slavery have been dead for a very long time now. In other cases where people received “reparations”, there was always a living party who was the victim of some sort of crime or atrocity later deemed a punishable crime. Second, there was no actual crime when speaking about slavery prior to 1865. Slavery was an abhorrent, yet very legal, practice throughout much of the world at that time.
An argument is made that white Americans benefit from the original sin of American slavery. The problem is that most white Americans came to the country long after slavery was abolished. If current-day white Americans benefit from slavery, then so do current-day black Americans. The color of someone’s skin does not prevent them from partaking in the American dream. Immigrants come to the country every day for that very reason. Not because the country started with slavery just the same as other countries, but because America is the land of opportunity.
The elephant in the room is multi-faceted. Here are a couple of obvious questions that people tend to avoid. If monies are doled out to black Americans, then who pays the tab? An immediate response from pro-reparations people is “the Government.” The problem is that the Government does not generate any revenue. All they have is the authority to take money from citizens through taxation to fund themselves. So a black person receiving reparations would simply have a portion of their own tax money given back to them. Even if the reparations are not strictly cash payments and they come in the form of free things like education and land, money must still exchange hands at some point in time to make that possible.
Another obvious question is about genealogy. Who is actually black and who isn’t? What percentage black must someone be to receive slavery reparations? If a person identifies as black, their entire family is black, but a DNA test shows that they are 55% white and 45% black, do they still count as black? Do they get reparations on a sliding scale based upon their DNA? Then there is the issue of recent immigrants from other parts of the African diaspora who do not have ancestral ties to American slavery. Are they excluded from the reparations discussion? All of these questions could easily be avoided if reparations were handled properly from the beginning. That ship has long sailed and it won’t be coming back to port.
The former President’s words make it appear as if he’s trying to capitalize on racial hostility in the United States. “White resentment” has nothing to do with a doomed movement not gaining traction. If that were the case then it would apply to other things that he was able to successfully accomplish like… getting elected in the first place.
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