No presidential candidate running in a competitive campaign would dare stake out a position in favor of giving reparations to the ancestors of African slaves and, happily, Barack Obama, pure political animal that he is, is no exception.
“I have said in the past — and I’ll repeat again — that the best reparations we can provide are good schools in the inner city and jobs for people who are unemployed,” the Illinois Democrat said recently.
Some two dozen members of Congress are co-sponsors of legislation to create a commission that would study reparations — that is, payments and programs to make up for the damage done by slavery.
Slavery is a national disgrace and reparations a national disaster in the making. While 18th & 19th century slavery in America is historically notable only for the melatonin disparity between owners and chattel, it was nonetheless a vile institution deserving of its end.
If black Americans feel they are due an apology then I say let’s give them one.
As for reparations, what else can we call the 45 years of welfare programs costing untold billions of dollars that have largely been directed to the African-American community? Some would say it’s an investment in a neglected segment of society. Well then, has the investment been worth the cost?
Starting teacher’s salaries in inner-city Houston are 50% higher than those paid to new teachers in suburban and rural areas. Within the rules of a failing system, the powers that be are attempting to attract teaching talent to these areas. But how many teachers will take the bribe in return for the abuse and danger they will be facing in their new environment? Frankly I wonder if any doable amount of money can turn such institutions around. It can be done, I think, given the will to create a new system of education and vast expenditures. But neither is likely to become reality.
Reparations supporters aren’t happy with Obama:
Vernellia Randall, a law professor at the University of Dayton, bluntly responded: “I think he’s dead wrong.”
She said aid to the poor in general won’t close the gaps — poor blacks would still trail poor whites, and middle-class blacks would still lag behind middle-class whites. Instead, assistance must be aimed directly at the people facing the after-effects of slavery and Jim Crow laws, she said.
“People say he can’t run and get elected if he says those kinds of things,” Randall said. “I’m like, well does that mean we’re really not ready for a black president?”
I’m like, well we’re not ready for a president of any color who’s going to say the kind of things that foster perpetual victimhood among black Americans.
If Barack Obama really wants to help black Americans he’ll talk more about getting off of welfare, off of drugs, off of the streets, into committed relationships, into churches that heal rather than create hate, into school and staying there, and making sacrifices that improve young people’s lives.
He’s done it before. Now that he’s the Democratic nominee he could really begin to lead the black community. Spurning reparations is one small step in the right direction. But Obama can and should do much more. Ultimately black Americans have to help themselves. To do that they need someone to show them how. By winning, Barack Obama could be that person.
It’s exciting to watch, even for a middle-aged honky. It’s doubtful Obama will get my vote, though – he’s on the wrong side of the fiscal policy debate.