When a black writer for the online magazine Quillette told a House subcommittee yesterday that blacks did not deserve reparations for slavery, his audience booed him.
But such is what one would expect given how far the radical Left has pushed not only Democrat Party faithful but also Democrat presidential candidates toward uncharted radical territory.
The party of homosexuality, abortion, and “trans” ideology is now also the party of slavery reparations.
“Victims without their consent”
The unfortunate target of the disrespect was Coleman Hughes, an Ivy-League educated leftist, who said slavery reparations are stupid and unjust and conscript blacks to serve victim ideology.
Testifying before the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties, the Daily Caller reported, Hughes spoke against a bill to establish a commission to study reparations.
Whatever the country’s history with slavery or racial injustice, Hughes testified, “black people don’t need another apology. We need safer neighborhoods and better schools. We need a less punitive criminal justice system. We need affordable health care. And none of these things can be achieved through reparations for slavery.”
As well, he said, reparations would divide the country, “making it harder to build the political coalitions required to solve the problems facing black people today.”
Hughes said reparations would “insult” blacks by “putting a price” on their ancestors’ suffering, and as well “turn the relationship between black Americans and white Americans from a coalition into a transaction, from a union between citizens, into a lawsuit between plaintiffs and defendants.”
People who are owed for slavery are no longer here. And we’re not entitled to collect on their debts. Reparations, by definition, are only given to victims. So the moment you give me reparations, you’ve made me into a victim without my consent. Not just that, you’ve made one-third of black Americans who poll against reparations into victims without their consent.
And black Americans have fought too long for the right to define themselves to be spoken for in such a condescending manner. The question is not what America owes me by virtue of my ancestry, the question is what all Americans owe each other by virtue of being citizens of the same nation.
And the obligation of citizenship is not transactional. It’s not contingent on ancestry. It never expires, and it can’t be paid off.
Hughes “was presumptive,” Cohen said, “but he still has a right to speak.”
How Would They Work?
The bill that Hughes testified against came from leftist Representative Sheila Jackson Lee, the crackpot from Texas, who wants a commission to study the matter. Senator Cory Booker, of New Jersey, introduced a companion in the Senate that will go nowhere.
Of course, the object of the commission will not be a genuine study, but instead arriving at the foreordained conclusion that blacks should get free money, as Booker’s new release shows.
Given that a number of the Democratic presidential candidates favor reparations, black economist Walter Williams wrote about the issue two months ago. True justice, Williams averred, demands that slave owners pay the slaves. But all are dead; justice is beyond reach.
Which white Americans owe which black Americans how much? Reparations advocates don’t want that question asked.... Are the millions of European, Asian and Latin Americans who immigrated to the U.S. in the 20th century responsible for slavery? What about descendants of Northern whites who fought and died in the War of 1861 in the name of freeing slaves? Should they cough up money for black Americans? What about non-slave-owning Southern whites, who were a majority of Southern whites — should their descendants be made to pay reparations?
On black people’s side of the ledger, thorny questions arise. Some blacks purchased other blacks as a means to free family members. But other blacks owned slaves for the same reason whites owned slaves — to work farms or plantations. Would descendants of these blacks be eligible for reparations?
Williams also addressed the issue a few years ago when Ta-Nahesi Coates advocated reparations in The Atlantic. Again, Williams asked about recent white immigrants: “In 1956, thousands of Hungarians fled the brutality of the USSR to settle in the U.S. What do Hungarians owe blacks for slavery?”
And given that Arabs and black tribal chieftains sold the slaves, “would reparations advocates demand that citizens of Ghana, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Kenya and several Muslim states tax themselves to make reparation payments to progeny of people whom their ancestors helped to enslave?”
Do blacks who came to the United States in the 20th century get reparations? If so, why?
Coleman Hughes has the answer.
Image: screenshot from YouTube video