All Proposed Reparations Plans Are Based on Simplistic History

All Proposed Reparations Plans Are Based on Simplistic History

Omitting verifiable facts from American history silently, but powerfully abets, contributes to, and supports calls for reparations. For that reason, and given the breadth of reparation proposals, they become nothing more than entitlements based on skin color alone.

Reparations to descendants of slaves is a complex issue and one burdened with pros and cons. Indeed, since slavery ended in 1865, many more cons than pros exist on the reparations ledger. Moreover, a Pew Research Center report finds that three-quarters or more of white adults oppose reparations, as do a majority of Latinos and Asian Americans. Nine Black leaders also oppose reparation payments. Nevertheless, approximately a dozen cities and several states have initiated reparation programs renewing hopes for a national policy of reparations for slavery.

The most irrational reparations plan (so far) is California’s. The California reparations panel just approved a payment of up to $1.2 million per black resident—without requiring proof showing slave ancestors. This is irrationality to the point of madness. California joined the union as a free state in 1850. California’s blacks were not slaves, and Asians, Jews, and Hispanics also experienced fierce discrimination.

California’s not the only “free” state supporting reparations. Pennsylvania Rep. Chris Rabb proposed statewide reparations involving multiple compensation tiers, with the greatest awards going to residents who can prove they descended from generations of black Pennsylvanians. The plan seemingly does not distinguish between actual slave descendants and descendants of free blacks or black slaveowners.

That last point—another con for reparations—reminds us that not all blacks were slaves. Basically, when the subject of reparations arises, it views the issue solely (and falsely) through a racial prism; i.e., blacks were slaves, and only whites were slave owners.

In fact, blacks practiced slave ownership, trading, and bounty hunting for escaped slaves. Thousands of blacks owned slaves, with some becoming very wealthy. Five Native American tribes (Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Seminole) also owned black slaves. These facts are verified and addressed by several black historians and scholars, e.g., John Hope Franklin, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Larry Koger, Glenn Loury, and Carter G. Woodson.

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