Like most conservatives, I’ve scoffed at the idea of reparations or a formal apology for slavery. I did not own slaves, so why would I support my government using my tax dollars for reparations … ?…
[I]t could be argued that the idea fits within the conservative philosophy. We’ll come back to that. But it is undeniable that White people have disproportionately benefitted from both the labor and the legacy of slavery, and — crucially — will continue to do so for generations to come.
When slavery was abolished after a bloody civil war, African Americans were dispersed into a world that was overtly hostile to them. Reconstruction efforts were bitterly resisted by most Southern Whites, and attempts to educate and employ former slaves happened only in fits and starts. The government even reneged on its “40 acres and a mule” pledge. After slavery, prejudice and indifference continued to fuel social and economic disparity.
The result is unsurprising. As noted by scholars A. Kirsten Mullen and William A. Darity Jr., co-authors of “From Here to Equality: Reparations for Black Americans in the Twenty-First Century,” data from the 2016 Survey of Consumer Finances showed that median Black household net worth averaged $17,600 — a little more than one-tenth of median White net worth. As Mullen and Darity write, “white parents, on average, can provide their children with wealth-related intergenerational advantages to a far greater degree than black parents. When parents offer gifts to help children buy a home, avoid student debt, or start a business, those children are more able to retain and build on their wealth over their own lifetimes.”
Black author and activist Randall Robinson has argued that even laws such as those on affirmative action “will never close the economic gap. This gap is structural. … blacks, even middle-class blacks, have no paper assets to speak of. They may be salaried, but they’re only a few months away from poverty if they should lose those jobs, because … they’ve had nothing to hand down from generation to generation because of the ravages of discrimination and segregation, which were based in law until recently.”
In addition to the discrepancy in inherited wealth, even conservatives should be able to acknowledge that Whites enjoy generational associations in the business world, where who you know often counts more than what you know — a reality based not so much on overt racism as on employment and promotion patterns within old-school networks that Blacks lack the traditional contacts to consistently intersect….
The cost [of reparations] can be debated, along with the mechanics of a compensation package. But in the current drunken haze of government spending, appropriating trillions for the noble purpose of bringing Black Americans who remain economically penalized by the enslavement of their ancestors closer to the fiscal universe of White citizens surely seems less objectionable than some recent spending proposals.
It is a tenet of conservatism that a level playing field is all we should guarantee. But that’s meaningless if one team starts with an unsurmountable lead before play even begins.
It’s not necessary to experience “White guilt” or buy into the notion of “White privilege,” a pejorative that to me suggests Whites possess something they should lose, when in fact such benefits should extend to all. Supporting reparations simply requires a universal agreement to work toward, as Jayapal said, “righting that wrong.”
That’s not what you were expecting, is it? Where to begin?
Glaringly absent from Abernathy’s “analysis” are the main determinants of the vast black-white gaps in income and wealth: Blacks are (on average) less intelligent than whites; two-thirds of all whites in the U.S. are more intelligent than the average black. The lower intelligence of blacks, combined with certain cultural traits, means that (as a group) they can never attain the income and wealth of whites. The insurmountable gap is there because of inborn and inbred differences that have nothing to do with slavery or “Jim Crow” and everything to do with genetic inheritance and deeply rooted cultural traditions.
The wrong of “Jim Crow” is several decades in the past, and the wrong of slavery is in the distant past. Both have as much to do with the present condition of blacks as CO2 has to do with “climate change” — which is to say, almost nothing.
Racism? It cuts both ways, and you ignore that fact at your peril. It takes but a few seconds with a search engine to turn up statistics which show that blacks are much more prone to the commission of violent crimes than are whites (or Hispanics, for that matter). Don’t you suppose that the greater propensity for violence among blacks (which is a reflection of intelligence and culture) has a lot to do with the income and wealth gap? (It also has very much to do with the seemingly greater tendency of blacks to be shot by cops while they, blacks, are committing crimes and resisting arrest.)
A level playing field? Where did Abernathy get that one? A level playing field is where the participants are given the same opportunities to make what they can of their natural endowments. No amount of leveling the playing field will give blacks the same natural endowments as whites when it comes to earning a living. (Athletes and entertainers are among the relatively rare exceptions that don’t change the rule.)
Taking money from whites and giving it to blacks doesn’t level the playing field. It merely penalizes (most) whites for something that isn’t their fault and that can’t be fixed by throwing money at it. (Ditto, “climate change”.)
My own view is that American blacks, on the whole, owe me a large reparation for my “contributions” to various government programs. I am thinking not just of the usual handouts to “welfare queens”, the futile Head Start program, preferential treatment for mortgage loans, subsidies for black-owned businesses, etc., etc. Those are just icing on the cake of Social Security and Medicaid, which are designed to transfer income from those with high earnings to those with low earnings (or none). Then there are the taxes that I pay for “public safety”, which are undoubtedly higher than they would be if blacks comprised a smaller proportion of the populace.
Related page and posts:
Affirmative Action: A Modest Proposal
After the Bell Curve
A Footnote . . .<
Affirmative Action: Two Views from the Academy, Revisited
Crime, Explained Race and Reason: The Victims of Affirmative Action
Race and Reason: The Achievement Gap — Causes and Implications
Evolution and Race
“Wading” into Race, Culture, and IQ
Poverty, Crime, and Big Government
Evolution, Culture, and “Diversity”
The Harmful Myth of Inherent Equality
Crime Revisited Nature, Nurture, and Inequality
Let’s Have That “Conversation” about Race
The IQ of Nations
Race and Social Engineering
More about Intelligence
Nature, Nurture, and Leniency
Racism on Parade
How’s Your (Implicit) Attitude?
Why Race Matters
Is Race a Social Construct?
The Complexity of Race
Less Discrimination Means More Discrimination