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Slavery Reparations

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It must have been a tough decision for the editors of the Washington Post last week whether to lead on page one with the return of baseball to the District of Columbia or the story about the demonstration in Annapolis to acknowledge white guilt for slavery.

As it turned out, the editors went with baseball, but the slavery guilt wallow was at least the lead of the Metro section. Nothing quite beats white guilt, I guess, unless it’s baseball.

In fact, the Annapolis guilt wallow beat just about anything most white people could imagine. Calling itself “A Slavery Reconciliation Walk of Penitence and Forgiveness,” the event attracted a whopping 24 participants, 11 of them children, according to the Washington Timesaccount. Actually, all of them were children, but leave that aside. [Slavery roles reversed in walk aimed at healing spirits By Robert Redding Jr., Washington Times]

The wallowers, the white ones anyway, draped themselves in chains and placards acknowledging their guilt for slavery and wore T-shirts with the words “So Sorry” and armbands labeled “penitent.” Black participants wore armbands with the word “forgiver.”

This tells you what sort of “reconciliation” the wallowers had in mind.

If it doesn’t, white wallower Carol Palmer, a 38-year old child in tears over her guilt, made it clear.

“I am a descendant of a slave owner,” she blubbered, “and I thought this would be a way of acknowledging the injustice and for others to see that I am truly sorry for the actions of my forefathers.”

Miss Palmer “was confined in a yoke with three other white persons,” the Times reported.

The guiltfest was sponsored by an organization calling itself the Kunta Kinte-Alex Haley Foundation after the late black writer who cranked out the book Roots back in the 1970s, a work purporting to explore the author’s racial heritage in Africa and early America but which was later shown to have been mostly fabrication, and by Lifeline Expedition, a London-based charity that has organized this commemoration internationally.

The “expedition” that showed up in Annapolis last week “has held similar events in several European cities,” the Times says.

“Today we are here to show that we in Annapolis have the will to take persistent steps toward applying chemotherapy to that cancer, racism,” proclaimed Leonard Blackshear, the group’s president.

Apparently he has nothing better to do than traipse around the world flagellating himself and whoever else will submit to it, and from the sympathy the Post exuded, maybe it’s worth it.

“The march comes during a troubled period for race relations in Anne Arundel County,” the Post fretted. “A series of racially tinged incidents over the past few years has raised concerns among government officials and community leaders.”

Those “concerns” range from white opposition to a new black college in the county to the distribution of alleged “neo-Nazi” flyers at a local high school. Nobody seems to worry about the possibility of “racially tinged” incidents involving black “racism” against whites.

That, you see, is not what “reconciliation” is about. [The Roots of Reconciliation
Washington Post, By Christian Davenport, Sep 29, 2004]

“Reconciliation” recalls the similar initiative peddled by President Bill Clinton some years ago, when he too traipsed around the country (and even to Africa) to wallow in white guilt.

Such wallows have become a regular institution for whites these days, and they always reveal the same underlying pattern of assumptions.

  • Assumption One is that only whites have anything to feel guilty about. The eagerness of black African chiefs to sell their own men, women and children into bondage to whoever could fork up enough beads and bullets is never mentioned.
  • Assumption Two is that only the evil that whites are said to have committed is important. The fact that it was whites who outlawed and suppressed the slave trade is also forgotten, as is the fact that slavery endures in Africa to this day—on a massive scale.
  • And Assumption Three is that slavery was and is totally evil—despite the fact that almost all civilizations have practiced it, that major philosophers and religious figures have defended it and that, in the absence of slavery, most Africans (and indeed many Middle Easterners and Europeans, whose ancestors often experienced slavery under one empire of the past or another) would still be living in savagery.

The guilt wallow was right about one thing. Whites did indeed practice slavery, whether as Greeks, Romans, Americans, Englishmen or other Europeans.

You don’t have to approve of slavery to see that they did so because they shared a deep and unshakeable faith in their own race and civilization, a faith that created and sustained their will to conquer the world.

The real reason we have to put up with the kind of guilt wallow that slopped around in Annapolis last week is that whites today have lost that faith in themselves.

Wallowing in guilt and phony “reconciliation” that barely masks an anti-white agenda is a good way to make sure they never recover it again.

• Category: Race/Ethnicity • Tags: Slavery Reparations 
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Ever since September 11, 2001, the burning issue of reparations for slavery has flickered rather dimly. Now, thanks to black neoconservative Senate candidate Alan Keyes, it may flare again.

All by himself Mr. Keyes has added gas to the reparations flames in his race for the U.S. Senate in Illinois.

Mr. Keyes is probably not going to win his race because his opponent,liberal Democrat (and also black) Barack Obama, is heavily favored, and indeed the only reason Mr. Keyes is in the contest at all is that Illinois Republicans, unable to locate a suitable candidate after their first one got caught in a sex scandal, literally imported Mr. Keyes from Maryland.

No doubt they figure that running Mr. Keyes will help them slice into Mr. Obama’s black support.

No sooner had Mr. Keyes, something of a professional candidate who has run for both the Senate and the presidency several times, entered the contest than he came up with a transparent if inept scheme to do just that. In a news conference in Chicago, he proposed that “for a generation or two, African-Americans of slave heritage should be exempted from federal taxes—federal because slavery ‘was an egregious failure on the part of the federal establishment,’”as the Chicago Tribune reported. [Keyes has plan for reparations Aug 17, 2004].

The next day he refused to back off his plan and actually started to get mad that the conservative Republicans who had picked him were not in a swoon of joy about it.

Speaking to a reasonably tame audience at Chicago’s City Club, Mr. Keyes began to heat up when someone asked him the obvious question if such well-heeled blacks as Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan and Oprah Winfrey would also be exempted from paying taxes.

“His voice rising to a yell,” the Sun Times reported, he said he would “not budge” from his brainstorm. [Keyes won't back down on reparations August 19, 2004 By Scott Fornek]

“Do you know how many Oprah Winfreys there might have been running around in the 1930s or in the 1920s or in the 19-teens that got nowhere because the doors were shut in their face?” he demanded. “If you think that because I wear a conservative label, I have forgotten that history and am not mindful of that injustice—then I will tell you now that you are wrong.”

Then he brought up his parents, who had “hearts and spirit and faith and strength.” “Why didn’t they get to a point where they could stand on this platform?” Keyes asked.

Probably because the Republican Party back then had better sense than to nominate them.

It’s interesting that Mr. Keyes, often trotted out to prove that blacks can be conservatives, is actually a neoconservative. His campaign manager for one of the Senate races in Maryland was Bill Kristol, now editor of the Weekly Standard, who also happened to be his college roommate.

It therefore makes sense that Mr. Keyes would kick off his most recent crusade to put himself on the public payroll by endorsing a distinctly non-conservative idea.

Nevertheless, compared to some Republicans masquerading as conservatives, Mr. Keyes is a pillar of iron.

Take, for example, George W. Bush on the same issue of reparations for slavery.

Some weeks ago, the NAACP sent a questionnaire to both major presidential candidates about their respective positions on various issues of interest to the organization. Not too surprisingly, both Mr. Kerry and Mr. Bush agreed on several of them. Both condemned “racial profiling” and “hate crimes” and both endorsed “affirmative action.” But then the questionnaire got around to reparations.

“Do you support or oppose reparations (for slavery) legislation, H.R. 40, as introduced in the House of Representatives by Congressman John Conyers (D-MI)?” the NAACP asked.

Mr. Kerry said yes, he supported that legislation.

Astoundingly, Mr. Bush refused to answer—a response that ought to tell us all we need to know about him.

Like Mr. Keyes himself, the idea of reparations for slavery probably will not go anywhere, regardless of who endorses it, at least for now.

But it’s not a minor issue. It speaks to the core of the whole controversy about race in this country—are blacks responsible for their problems, or is everything that’s wrong with them and for them due to whites?

What you think about reparations reflects your answer to that question, and how you answer it also tells us what we need to know.

By explicitly endorsing reparations and refusing even to offer a position, both Mr. Keyes and President Bush have given their answers, and what they have said and refused to say have helped make it more difficult for real conservatives to give different ones.

If theirs is the kind of “leadership” that today defines “conservatism,” then most Americans who regard themselves as conservatives need to find another name—and other leaders.

• Category: Race/Ethnicity • Tags: Slavery Reparations 
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Six months of putting aside partisanism and petty bickering to stand up against the country’s enemies is quite enough, it seems. In the last week of March, the first lawsuit claiming reparations for slavery was launched in court, and it’s entirely clear that the acrid taste for racial revenge (and racial booty) has now dispelled any lingering flavor of patriotic unity that might have wafted onto the national palate.

The lawsuit is directed against three major companies–Aetna the insurance colossus, Fleet Bank, and CSX Railroad–for their supposed role, well over 140 years ago, in profiting from slavery in one way or another. The suit is supposed to have been launched on behalf of an estimated 8 million slaves who have long since passed on to the great plantation in the sky, and the damages the suit mentions consist of the modest sum of $1.4 trillion. [Read the whole complaint in PDF, 321 KB.]

What Aetna, for example, is supposed to have done to merit paying out its share of this guilt money is to have issued, at some time in the distant past when slavery was perfectly legal in the United States, 16 short-term life insurance policies for 16 black slaves. CSX, or its corporate predecessors, seems to have actually owned slaves. The Fleet Bank is descended from a Providence, Rhode Island, bank owned by someone named John Brown (not the terrorist) who owned slave trading ships.

These three are merely the first to be targeted by the lawsuit, which plans to expand the list to hundreds of other companies and to swell the plaintiffs to millions of blacks descended from the slaves.

There are, however, a few problems in the grand plan.

Problem Number One is that the “wrongs” committed took place well more than a century ago, and damage claims that old simply have little legal meaning. Problem Number Two is that the “wrongs” were in fact perfectly legal at the time. Regardless of the ethical value of owning, buying, selling, or commanding slaves or of living in a society that practices slavery (which happen to be most societies in human history), the legality of slavery at the time the alleged “wrongs” took place renders the claims for reparations meaningless. Problem Number Three is that no one now living suffered any wrong anyway.

In short, the first reparations lawsuit is legally and even ethically meaningless. That however does not mean that the defendants in the suit do not have good reasons to worry that the suit will ruin them. Given the blatant injustices, procedural irregularities, politicized court rooms, racial blackmail, and transparently unconstitutional substance of what goes on in American courts today, it’s anyone’s bet who will eventually win. In a serious legal system the suit would be pitched out the first day and the lawyers who brought it would be warned not to waste the court’s time with frivolities again. That’s probably not what the courts today will do.

The lawsuit brought last month is only the first of several that will probably be filed soon. Writing in the New York Times this week, Charles Ogletree of Harvard Law School and something calling itself the Reparations Coordinating Committee calmly announces that his committee plans to “file wide-ranging reparations lawsuits this summer” against other targets. He also lets an important cat out of his bag, at least for those who did not already know the cat was there.

The purpose of reparations is not simply to rake in an almost uncountable amount of swag from corporate and government coffers, let alone to exorcise the racial furies that still haunt most American blacks and many whites. The purpose, Mr. Ogletree tells us, is “to bring American society to a new reckoning with how our past affects the current conditions of African-Americans.”

What that means is that the purpose of reparations is to bludgeon white Americans into further guilt over slavery and racial segregation and thereby soften them up for a continuing river of financial swag far into the future. Like Martin Luther King Day, Black History Month, the war on Confederate iconography and the crusade against major heroes and symbols of American history and culture, the reparations boondoggle is simply one more part of the continuing political race war that blacks are determined to wage against whites.

The legalistic flaws and ethical fallacies of the reparations lawsuit are therefore not really the point.

The point is the struggle for what can only be called racial power that the whole reparations issue spearheads.

What is happening with reparations is not a silly argument that won’t stand up in court but a racial power play that may well eventually win simply because most whites have neither the will nor the brains to see what it means or why it’s happening, let alone understand how to resist it.

• Category: Race/Ethnicity • Tags: Slavery Reparations 
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By the most curious of coincidences, just as the United Nations’ pompously titled “World Conference on Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance” was about to leap from the earth in Durban, South Africa, the issue of “reparations for slavery” enjoyed a renaissance in the United States. First, Newsweek devoted a large portion of its Aug. 27 issue to an amazingly lop-sided discussion of reparations and then the Sunday New York Times allowed historian David Brion Davis to maunder all over its “Week in Review” section in support of reparations.

The Newsweek articles are not especially noteworthy, except for the revelation, probably inadvertent, of at least one of the political agendas that lurks behind the racial guilt and tear-jerkery in any and every discussion of reparations. This particular agenda was disclosed by Manning Marable (to e-mail him, click here), head of “African-American Studies” at Columbia University.

“The fundamental problem of American democracy in the 21st century,” Professor Marable spouted, “is the problem of ‘structural racism’: the deep patterns of socio-economic inequality and accumulated disadvantage that are coded by race, and constantly justified in public discourse by both racist stereotypes and white indifference.” Mr. Marable fails to adduce a single morsel of evidence for his generalization, but that sort of thing never stops specialists in “African-American Studies” anyway.

What the prof’s remarks do reveal, however, is that the agenda behind reparations is in part racial collectivism, and he urges the establishment of a “reparations trust fund” with “the goal of closing the socioeconomic gap between blacks and whites.” White guilt over slavery therefore is useful to undermine any white resistance to divvying up the national swag with their black brethren. Lenin and Mao had to rely on revolutionary violence and state terror to grab other people’s money, but the racial revolution that hides behind reparations is starting off by manipulating guilt.

Guilt is exactly what David Brion Davis, a distinguished historian of slavery, was selling in his New York Times installment. “The United States,” he tells us, “is only now beginning to recover from the Confederacy’s ideological victory following the Civil War.” You might think that means that Confederate ideological beliefs like states’ rights and agrarianism won, but no, all it means is that the rest of the nation failed to sign on with the radical determination to make all white Americans wallow in guilt for slavery. The reason they didn’t was that no one except for a handful of radicals in the North had any interest in slavery. From Lincoln on down, most on the Union side were interested in keeping the nation together. Abolishing slavery was mainly an after-thought. Nor were most Americans interested in revolutionizing the South or the rest of the country for the sake of blacks. Maybe this was an “ideological victory” for the Confederacy, but maybe also it was just a common sense reaction to a bloody and disastrous civil war.

But. Professor Davis’ point is that the reaction was intended to hide the real role of slavery in American society, and most of his article details the very large role slavery did in fact play. He mentions, among others, “European investors in the slave trade,” major philosophers like John Locke and Voltaire; “wealthy Virginian and Brazilian middlemen,” “New Englanders,” and even the mere “European and American consumers of slave-produced goods.” His point is to make sure we know that we’re all guilty of slavery—Europeans and Americans, Northerners and Southerners, slave traders and consumers, businessmen and intellectuals, even Brazilians—and therefore we all owe for reparations. Of course, Professor Davis conveniently downplays the role of Africans themselves in the slave trade.

His purpose also is to discredit the whole body of Western and American civilization by insisting that racial slavery was an integral and major part of it (though of course one could also argue that he legitimizes racial slavery by showing how important it was in Western history). That’s also what Professor Marable tries to do with his “deep patterns” of “structural racism.” Here we reach the real core of the reparations issue and the real reason it keeps popping up—the delegitimization of the old, white, European, and Eurocentric America and the legitimization of a new, non-white, non-European, and even anti-white and anti-European America. The money for reparations is largely just a teaser; the real pay-off is the racial power that reparations and the acknowledgement of white guilt and white illegitimacy would bring.

The reparations issue may go back underground for a while after the ill-advised Durban conference is over, but don’t imagine it will go for good. What’s behind reparations is not just a fad or a foolish conceit of a few eggheads, but a concerted grab for power by one race against another.

• Category: Race/Ethnicity • Tags: Slavery Reparations 
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When South Carolina lawmakers voted last year to remove the Confederate Battle Flag over the state capitol in what then was termed a “compromise,” there may have been some who really believed it would help pacify the racial-cultural revolution the attack on the flag represented. If that’s what they thought, they were wrong, because Phase Two of the revolution in South Carolina is now about to kick off.

Phase Two consists of the construction of at least one and probably two museums centering on slavery and wallowing in the factoid that Charleston was the main port of entry for African slaves imported into North America. As Joseph Riley, Jr., the mayor of Charleston and the main brain behind the museum project, describes them, it’s clear the museums are not for teaching real history but for dethroning the past of one people and enthroning the myth s of another.

Museum Number One will be a renovated “Slave Mart” in Charleston, where tourists, children and those dumb enough to fall for it will be drilled in the racial myth the project will preach. But it’s Museum Number Two that’s the Sherman Tank of the new assault.

Museum Number Two will be a $30 million palace of racial guilt and racial reconstruction, “a story museum that would talk about this tragic human practice” and “go beyond emancipation to about 1900, covering the period of Jim Crow in the South,” says the mayor. The Rev. Joseph Darby, a black pastor who’s also pushing the project, is even more blunt about what it’s supposed to accomplish.

“This is South Carolina,” the reverend growls. “We have people here who think Appomattox was a cease-fire, that the Civil War wasn’t fought about slavery and that good treatment of slaves was the rule rather than the exception.” The point of the museum, in the reverend’s mind, is to brainwash its visitors and hammer home all the mythologies and outright historical whoppers demonizing the white South that he and the mayor and their cronies can concoct.

One such whopper apparently concerns the slave revolt planned in 1822 by ex-slave Denmark Vesey, whom the New York Times in reporting the museum story says “was allegedly plotting a mass murder of whites. Some doubt that Vesey’s plan was as bloody as it was then portrayed, among them Mayor Riley.” The story also sports a caption on a picture of Vesey that tells us he was “hanged for supposedly plotting a slave revolt.”

Charleston can have its museum of slavery if it wants, but it really ought not to let the mayor (or the New York Times) have anything to do with planning its contents. The most recent work on Vesey, by historian David Robertson, published by Knopf in 1999, makes perfectly clear what Vesey was plotting—to murder every white man, woman and child in the city of Charleston. The plot was betrayed to authorities by a black slave, and Vesey and 34 other conspirators were hanged. Mayor Riley really ought to give Mr. Robertson’s book, which is mainly sympathetic to Vesey, a read before he gets his hands on the museum.

But if the mayor and the preacher aren’t enough to wipe out the real history of the city, there’s also the hired consultant from New York, Richard Rabinowitz, who is helping Charleston officials plan the museum. We’re never told what Mr. Rabinowitz’s expertise in history is, but then it ought to be clear by now that knowing anything about the real past is not a qualification for the job. Mr. Rabinowitz assures the Times that the museum will “tell an untold story that has to be brought to the surface. It’s a fundamental fact we have to come to grips with.” We’re never told who “we” is either, let alone why “we” must “come to grips” with anything.

What the mayor, the reverend, the New York consultant and a small army of others are planning is simply a monument that will retell the history of Charleston in terms of the new racial myth being imposed on the state, the region and the nation—that the white South was a kind of pre-industrial concentration camp where blacks were raped, tortured, and murdered routinely. The new myth undermines and discredits any effort by whites, Southerners or not, to retain pride in their own past and identity and smothers any political resistance to the new racial assault on them before it can draw breath.

What the museum project tells us also is that the “compromise” that removed the Battle Flag from the state capitol was really no compromise at all but merely the signal for the renewal of war. Now that those waging the war have revealed their real goals, maybe those who fell for the “compromise” line will tumble to the truth.

• Category: Race/Ethnicity • Tags: Slavery Reparations 
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With Amnesty International having just issued a report that calls the practice of torture in African countries “routine” and with probably hundreds of thousands of Africans living in the most grotesque slavery, African nations are cranking up a demand that Western states should apologize and pay up for all the wickedness they perpetrated on their continent in the past. But for once, it seems that Western states are not going to cave in to efforts to manipulate obsessive white guilt–though not necessarily for the right reasons.

Demands for “reparations” are coming not only from American blacks eager to get their hands on the modern-day analogue to 40 acres and a mule, but also from the 53 African states that call themselves the “African Group” taking part in a forthcoming United Nations gala in Durban, South Africa, the “World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance.” The conference will be yet one more U.N. blabber-fest preaching global do-good while trying to separate Western nations from as much of their cash as possible.

What the African Group wants specifically is for the wealthier and more powerful (dare one say more civilized?) Western nations to fork up the cash in the form of reparations for the European and American slave trade of yore and also to recognize slavery as a “crime against humanity.” The latter proposal also enjoys the support of that paragon of humanitarianism, Fidel Castro. Mary Robinson, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, essentially agrees. She pronounces that “To deal with the future, you have to close on the past.”

She does not, of course, explain why the past–the European slave trade ended about two centuries ago–is not already closed, nor indeed why Africa’s quite gruesome present does not also need to be closed. In 1993, the U.S. State Department estimated that in North Africa alone, there were some 90,000 black slaves, and the Johannesburg Daily Mail and Guardian not long ago offered a chilling account of what present-day slavery in Africa is really like:

“The slave raiders prefer women and boys,” the South African paper explained. “In order to catch them, they kill the men and burn down their villages. When the women and children run into the bush, they are chased and captured. They are made to carry the ‘spoils’ of the raid, usually sacks of grain, to the north. They are then sold to wealthy Arab families.

“Arab families with large farms and plantations in the Arab areas immediately to the north of Southern Sudan may buy between 50 and 100 slaves. Families buy women to be used as ‘concubines’ who perform farm and household tasks in addition to providing sexual services. If the women are young enough, they are genitally mutilated as soon as they reach puberty, so as to make them acceptable to their Arab masters.”

Since the countries of the African Group are so disturbed by the historic evil of European slavery, it might behoove them to do something about the slavery that exists on their own continent today–and which their own governments often tolerate, practice and even participate in. In the case of Sudan, government troops are known to have taken part in the kidnapping and selling of slaves.

The Western states don’t like the idea of calling slavery a “crime against humanity” (the last time they used that term, in Nuremberg, they actually had to hang the Nazi leaders convicted of such crimes, despite the inconvenient legalism that the “crimes” had never been formally outlawed), and they certainly don’t much care for the idea of having to dredge up real financial reparations for what their ancestors did hundreds of years ago. Of course, they lack the candor to say so, and therefore what they do say is that they’d rather use the Durban conference to promote what a British official calls “something forward-looking and practical, something that will reinvigorate existing international mechanisms and promote tolerance.”

What that means, probably, is that the Western nations would like to set up transnational institutions that will effectively outlaw and penalize “racism,” “xenophobia,” and “related intolerance,” much as it has already outlawed the crime of “genocide.” Doing so would involve adapting the internal laws of sovereign states to the U.N. code, so that such quaint usages as the First Amendment would be compromised and troublesome dissidents who grouse about immigration, hate crime laws and multiculturalism could be muzzled.

The African Group’s hypocrisy about Western sins against Africa in the past and its brutish indifference to its own crimes against its own people today is repellent enough. But for once, what the Africans are demanding from the West might be less harmful than the “forward-looking and practical” repression that Western elites want to create for their own peoples.

• Category: Race/Ethnicity • Tags: Slavery Reparations 
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The drama of the week consists not in the politics of tax cuts in Washington but rather in the dynamics of raw racial power on the nation’s college campuses. David Horowitz, a neo-conservative foe of black racism, has been trying to publish ads against reparations for slavery in college newspapers. Some won’t publish the ads at all, while others, when they do publish them, promptly get clobbered by black mobs for their own “racism” or quickly apologize for publishing them before the mobs show up at the editors’ dorm rooms. The crisis has caused many tongues to start wiggling.

Thus far, a surprising number of the tongues have wiggled in Mr. Horowitz’ defense. Columnists in The Washington Post, the San Francisco Chronicle and The Wall Street Journal, among other progressive places, have expressed support for Mr. Horowitz’ deathless right to publish his ads, the foolishness of newspapers apologizing for publishing them, the iniquity of mobbing newspapers, and the legitimacy of being opposed to reparations. A definite tip of the hat to such friends of liberty, as well as to Mr. Horowitz for coming up with the idea for ads against reparations in the first place. But there is more to be said about the episode than that.

Mr. Horowitz’ ad is innocuous enough, offering “10 Reasons why reparations for blacks is a bad idea for blacks–and racist too.” The reasons include such insights as that “only a tiny minority of white Americans ever owned slaves, and others gave their lives to free them,” and “America today is a multi-ethnic nation and most Americans have no connection (direct or indirect) to slavery.” All that is true, but neither–nor any of the other eight–really grapples with the central issue behind reparations. Moreover, the whole approach of Mr. Horowitz and his ads is such as to invite precisely the very denunciations and attacks they received.

The central issue of reparations is not whether reparations are justly due to blacks or justly owed by whites. The central issue is one of racial power–as it is with most other racial conflicts today: over the Confederate flag, affirmative action, racial profiling and indeed the most recent quibble about the right of college newspapers to publish Mr. Horowitz’ ads at all. The central issue is that one race (blacks) seeks to assert power over another (whites). In the black view, what is good for black power is good; what thwarts or threatens it–including liberal values like free speech–is bad. Seen in this context, Mr. Horowitz’ ad not only misses the point but in one case even gets it wrong.

The ad’s Reason 7 is that “The reparations claim is one more attempt to turn African Americans into victims. It sends a damaging message to the African-American community.” No, it doesn’t, really.

The reparations claim, so far from turning blacks into victims, would turn them into masters. Reparations, if actually enacted into law, would, first, elevate black victimology, the black myth of racial injustice, into the dominant myth of American society. Second, as a practical matter, reparations would effectively redistribute wealth from one race to another in a colossal revolutionary act of racial collectivism. If the black racial myth becomes dominant and white wealth is redistributed to blacks, then it is absurd to say that blacks are being turned into victims. Their “victimhood” is merely white enslavement.

Mr. Horowitz’ ad nowhere appears to grasp that the reparations issue is one of simple racial power, and in claiming that reparations are “a bad idea for blacks,” it is out to sea. But, as a neo-conservative, Mr. Horowitz is unable to offer much else in the way of objections. Despite his well-known and authentic disgust at black racism, he is also a disciple of Martin Luther King racial liberalism. As he wrote in his recent book “Hating Whitey,” an attack on black bigotry, his own beliefs “are the same views once advanced by the civil rights movement [Martin Luther] King led.” It is precisely those views that invite the kind of attacks he and his ads have endured.

As a racial liberal Mr. Horowitz invokes values like tolerance, freedom of expression, equality and peaceful discussion in the face of an enemy that has no more use for those ideas than whistling Dixie. That enemy is the racial consciousness and solidarity that the progressive “views once advanced by the civil rights movement” deny exists or insist shouldn’t exist. But the brute fact of our new century is that they do exist, at least among non-whites. Until the foes of black racism understand that its hunger for power can be effectively challenged only by a countervailing racial power, don’t expect Mr. Horowitz’ tepid reasons against reparations to have much real impact.

• Category: Race/Ethnicity • Tags: Blacks, Slavery Reparations 
Sam Francis
About Sam Francis

Dr. Samuel T. Francis (1947-2005) was a leading paleoconservative columnist and intellectual theorist, serving as an adviser to the presidential campaigns of Patrick Buchanan and as an editorial writer, columnist, and editor at The Washington Times. He received the Distinguished Writing Award for Editorial Writing of the American Society of Newspaper Editors (ASNE) in both 1989 and 1990, while being a finalist for the National Journalism Award (Walker Stone Prize) for Editorial Writing of the Scripps Howard Foundation those same years. His undergraduate education was at Johns Hopkins and he later earned his Ph.D. in modern history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

His books include The Soviet Strategy of Terror(1981, rev.1985), Power and History: The Political Thought of James Burnham (1984); Beautiful Losers: Essays on the Failure of American Conservatism (1993); Revolution from the Middle: Essays and Articles from Chronicles, 1989–1996 (1997); and Thinkers of Our Time: James Burnham (1999). His published articles or reviews appeared in The New York Times, USA Today, National Review, The Spectator (London), The New American, The Occidental Quarterly, and Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture, of which he was political editor and for which he wrote a monthly column, “Principalities and Powers.”