WHY DOES THE MERE THOUGHT of paying reparations to blacks feel like sinking one’s teeth into dry ice? It hurts right down to the bone.
Maybe it’s because, after decades of welfare, affirmative action, frivolous race-discrimination suits and Jesse-Jackson-style corporate blackmail schemes, a lot of Americans are beginning to grasp that “reparations” -- in all their various forms - are nothing but an elaborate con game.
The more we give, the more they want. It’s as simple as that.
At the February 1-4 First National Reparations Convention in Chicago, a certain Brother Howshua proposed that black people should be given a choice. Those who remain in America should get, “free education, free medical, free legal and free financial aid for 50 years with no taxes levied.”
Those electing to leave the country should get, “a million dollars or more, backed by gold.”
That’s right. A million dollars. In gold.
The Associated Press reported that Brother Howshua’s proposal was met by “approving nods around the table.”
Chicago Alderman Dorothy Tillman, who organized the event, seems optimistic that white Americans will eventually come around to embracing reparations.
“It is a movement," she declares. "It is all over this country and… it is not just a black movement. It's a movement that's much greater... “
One has to admire her positive spirit. But one also has to wonder what planet she’s been living on.
A July 2000 Portrait of America survey asked Americans whether they thought the U.S. Congress should offer a formal apology for slavery.
Just an apology, mind you. No money.
A whopping 67 percent said no apology, no way.
Not surprisingly, 58 percent of black Americans opined that an apology was in order. But only 19 percent of white Americans agreed with them.
Moreover, 58 percent of non-black, non-white Americans flatly rejected the idea of an apology.
In short, a clear majority of non-black Americans - white, red, yellow and brown - don’t believe we owe anything to blacks. Not even an, “I’m sorry.”
That’s a long way from a million dollars in gold.
Money is not really the issue. Americans are a generous people. Ask us for charity and we’ll gladly give it.
But reparations are not charity. Reparations are an act of vengeance, a punishment imposed on a defeated enemy when he is too weak to say no.
After World War I, the victorious Allies wanted Germany to suffer. So they broke the country’s back with reparations, plunging Germany into depression and civil war. Hatred and vengeance burned in every German heart. World War II was the result.
Some of the Allies wised up after that experience. We treated Germany more leniently after World War II. We gave them billions in foreign aid, through the Marshall Plan, to rebuild their country. We transformed an enemy into a friend.
The Russians took a different approach. In their half of Germany, Russian soldiers raped German women at will. They stripped Germany’s factories bare and shipped the machinery back to Russia. They squeezed the economy for all it was worth.
The result? The Russians had to build a wall, bristling with machine guns, to keep their Germans from running away. The first chance East Germany got to jump ship and join the other side, it did.
The moral of the story is that demanding reparations from someone is not a good way to heal wounds and make friends. It’s a great way to start a war, though.
“If Jews… who were wronged can get money, why not us?” asked Linda, a self-described black college student posting on the FrontPageMagazine.com message board.
Her argument has been echoed by many promoters of black reparations.
Funny, though. My Jewish father never received any reparations, nor did anyone in his family that we know about. Why? Because they were not personally victims of the Nazi Holocaust.
Just as today’s African-Americans were not personally victims of slavery.
Some of my ancestors - including my grandmother - were victims of a different Holocaust, the anti-Jewish pogroms of the Tsar and of the White Russian armies during the Russian Civil War of 1918-1922.
None of my relatives received reparations for those atrocities either.
Even if I had a chance to collect for these ancestral wrongs, I would decline. Why? Because I have self-respect.
The victims and villains are all dead. To demand money from people who never harmed me for suffering that I never experienced would be stealing. It would be nothing but a con.
And my parents didn’t raise a con man.