Friday, June 30, 2006

Middle-class blacks, hiding behind reparation movements

The issue of reparation for descendants of slaves is only really a serious matter for Americans, for now. It's not absolutely clear as to why Americans, in the here and now, should pay monies to today's black Americans for a system that was abolished long before any of us were even born.

Some black reparation groups have calculated how much is due to today's black Americans, the results are nothing but a complete and utter joke. The African American Reparation Action Network calculates with inflation that every single afro-American is owed 40 acres and $100,000, or $200,000 without the land. Other organisations think the sum owed maybe 40 acres and a mule, but, does anyone know what the going rate of a mule is?

More enlightened commentators have rightfully highlighted the fact that the issue of 'slavery is a messy and complex story - in the real world, trying to identify the beneficiaries and victims of slavery would be an impossible task'. So, knelling down before a crowd of Africans and 'begging for forgiveness' can serve no real purpose, other than attempting to absolve the individual of their own self-loathing.

Time magazine's columnist Jack White, thinks black Americans are owed a whopping $24 trillion on the basis of unpaid wages not paid to some 10 million slaves. Others have calculated that between 1620 and 1865 unpaid slave labour at today's prices should total some $9.7trillion. Some of these calculations have been doubled to take account of 'pain and suffering'. But hey... why double it? Why don't they just quadruple it?

In the past reparation was demanded by black separatists movement in order to fund an independent black republic. Today, the call for reparation is about national unification and social healing. To date, at least 10 US city councils have endorsed the idea of federal 'impact statement' on slavery. Indeed, top American lawyers have lunched lawsuits against big businesses that have profited from slavery.

None of this could happen were it not for the favourable climate of self-loathing and compensation culture in the West. Apparently, America is so sick and divided, and in need of healing, the only antidote is to shell out tonnes of hard cold cash to all and sundry. America is said to be in denial, and reconciliation is the answer. If you ask me, black Americans are being treated like child abuse victims, who just can't get over the trauma of being... well... black. The idea that the imaginary chains of slavery still shackle the feet of today's black Americans is in the first case a diabolical insult. Secondly, the irony of all this is that millionaire black American lawyers are the driving force behind all this nonsense.

Spurred on by legal and financial success against the tobacco industry, black lawyers are running to the courts in order to claim reparation. If these lawyers win their case it will lead to an avalanche of even bigger and stranger cases in the near future.

Britain should take note of these cases, because if they succeed, Britain can expect decendents of Chinese opium dealers banging on the doors of British courts demanding tonnes of cash for compensation. Followed by South African Boer farmers, and why not the Boston tea merchants? The list goes on and on.

In reality it will take more than the wealth of the entire economy of America to 'heal' it's divisions. Besides, multi-million dollar payouts to blacks will not heal America - it can only succeed in incensing a whole generation of white Americans who can rightfully argue that 'it's not fair'.

Picture: African Merchant Selling Slaves to a European, no date


At 2:59 PM, Blogger Matt M said...

I'm all for compensation to victims of injustice - but to their descendents?

I'm hardly an expert on what it's like to face social prejudice (well... at school I like Star Trek and now I have a beard) but if it were me I'd be far more concerned about current problems than those of the past.

At 2:07 AM, Blogger Roland Dodds said...

Another great post. I agree with what I feel is your basic assessment of the situation: one has to look towards the future and not the past to right previous wrongs. Regardless of your feelings on modern race relations in the states, financial reparations are not going to solve anything.

Your entire post has hit it right on the head.

At 4:15 PM, Anonymous Incitatus said...

Seriously, that's a really great piece. However, I'm just not inclined to let Norway and Denmark off the hook for all that extortion during the Dark Ages, not to mention the fact that they kept making off with all our nice totty over a period of a 1000 yrs. I've worked it out, and I put a conservative estimate on them owing The Crown about 700 trillion quid in stolen wealth and unpaid child maintenance, at least half a million of their finest blondes, and free skiing lessons for all UK citizens.

At 5:31 PM, Blogger Daniel said...

Actualy the Dutch did pay out. Check Grosvinger;s account on Dutch slavery in Surinam and the ABC Caribbean. They still webt on to colonize Indonesia afterwords though

At 11:40 PM, Blogger Scott H said...

Incensed white americans? How about Asians, Hispanics, Arabians, Pacific Islanders, Native Americans? Do they have to pay reparations too? Or should we also consider reparations to them?


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