This is actually a guest post by former FA author, Scott. I’m still on my news blackout, and will join the conversation in the comments once I promote this on my social media feeds when I return after labor Day. Enjoy! – BB
San Francisco, the State of California, and perhaps a dozen other cities and states want to pay reparations to descendants of American slaves. Multiple commissions and committees around the country have been formed. At these hearings, the amount of money that each descendant of a slave will get varies wildly. I’ve seen people demand-with great fervor and conviction-that each descendant gets a million dollars, $5million dollars, $200 million dollars, even $1 billion dollars. Others have said that reparations should be paid through enhanced programs aimed at helping the African American community, increased school funding, housing assistance, small business loans, and more.
NONE of these Reparations commissions have anyone who doesn’t want reparations. None of them have a member who will say, “Gosh, that $15 trillion might be a bit too much.” None of them have an advocate for the 87% of the population that will be forced to pay the reparations. Finally, no commission has a member who will explain where or how to get the money for reparations-usually estimated by these same commissions to be in the trillions of dollars. They literally do not care about the cost, only the get.
I would bet good money that less than half the people on any reparations commission knew the name and history of the slave who is their ancestor. They don’t care about the actual life and suffering and triumph of their ancestors-only the wealth they can claim as theirs.
Determining the cost comes with a great number of questions that simply cannot be answered. As such, there is no way to determine the correct amount. For example, we know from census data how many slaves there were in each state every ten years, but to determine how many slaves there were in the interim years would be a guess; an estimate or wild ass guess. How can we determine the annual amount of wages that slaves should have gotten in a year if we don’t know how many slaves there were? We don’t know how many working hours there were, for every slave, in every job, in every state, in every year. How do we determine what wages slaves should have had in a year if slaves did innumerable different jobs w different values? How do we determine the value of slave labor in the South (where four crops a year or more could be planted, maintained, and harvested) vs Maine?
Here’s what we know: We can extrapolate the number of slaves in the US by looking at the number of slaves every ten years, calculating the growth in number, and filling in the blanks. It’s not accurate, but it’s close. When it comes to wages, we can say that slaves likely worked twice as hard and are paid twice the daily wage. We can’t determine the due wages for all the different slave working all the different jobs in all the different states, so the best option is to take what the average farm worker’s wage was and apply that to slaves as most were laborers of one sort or another.
There are a few constants and known variables. Many advocates of reparations have come up with different values and ways of applying reparations to the descendants of slaves in America. They all vary wildly because of the lack of accurate information previously described, and because they want to assume a constant annual rate of inflation from 6-15% for every year from 1791-present. They ignore every single economic crisis that the American people faced over the years, and the wildly varying rate of inflation.
Then there are the unanswerable, very awkward questions for the descendants of slaves to answer. They want reparations for slavery, Jim Crow laws, and red lining-not just slavery. They want reparations because there is a wealth gap between African Americans and other races, and they believe that is due to racism; they believe they should be paid for that. Descendants also see an education gap and want more money to pay for African American education. There is also a housing gap, a jobs gap, and an incarceration gap-all, we’re told, because of racism.
Each gap presents questions, however, and the answers determine the amount that should be paid to it. They are uncomfortable questions, and because they are about African Americans, the questions are race ist/about race. More specifically, each “gap” to be repaired by reparations is a balance between how much of that gap comes from racism, and how much comes from the culture, behavior, and choice of the people who have that gap? Most reparations advocates freely and comfortably declare that (for example the wealth gap) is due entirely to racism and has nothing to do with the choices people make.
How much a particular gap is due to racism determines how much reparations money should be spent to repair that damage. If descendants of slaves have a trillion dollars less in savings than the average person of other races, then should a trillion dollars of reparations be paid, OR does some of that wealth gap come from the choices people made:
Not getting married and having a two-income home like the majority of Americans.
Not going to school and then being unable to get a well-paying job due to inability to read.
Different spending habits.
Spending an inordinate amount of money on legal fees from criminal activity.
Loss of time in the workforce due to time in jail; the choice to do criminal activity.
Or is there a wealth gap because of white people; racism?
The economic and social gaps that many descendants of slaves face are related like falling dominoes. Once one tips over, it increases the next and so forth until the pile of bad decisions-or racism-is almost insurmountable.
The discipline gap. 70% of families that have descended from slaves are single parent homes. Usually it’s just the mother. This has been going on for at least 3 generations. Is there a racist law still on the books that forces women to have children out of wedlock, or are there laws that encourage it? Are there white men in hoods forcing men to abandon their children? If a child only has one parent, then that child only gets half the discipline and learning that other people receive, and what effect does that have?
Since the 1960’s most families in the US have had two incomes-except for the descendants of slaves. That means that other families have 3 entire generations of wealth more which is, oddly enough, about the same size as the wealth gap. If both parents worked at McDonald’s they wouldn’t be rich, BUT they’d be close to making the national average, and they’d have some money to pass on.
The education gap. Most inner-city schools get more money per student than rural schools (suburbs tend to have the same or more than inner city schools). Those same inner-city schools often suffer from 45-65% truancy rates. By every measure and standard, students who are the descendants of slaves have substandard educations. They have the highest school dropout rate, and the lowest test scores at graduation. In some inner-city school districts not a single student can read or write at the high school graduation level-yet they still graduate. Are these students the victims of a racist system that all races except their seem to handle and even master, OR do students who barely show up for school, then drop out or barely finish school, have less education because they chose not to got to school, chose not to try hard, and sought only graduation at best, not the best out of their education?
The housing gap. We’re often reminded that descendants of slaves were forced to live in neighborhoods with each other rather than mix with other races. Oddly enough, we have China towns, and Slavic villages, and German towns, and Little Italy’s in most major cities, and this would indicate to some that for centuries people preferred to live with other people who have shared experiences. Did red lining happen? Probably, but it happened to Asians and Hispanics as well, and when white people tried to get a loan from a black bank, for years that didn’t happen. Banks see customers as green, and if they don’t, they fail. When the standards to get a home loan are lowered, we have a housing crisis like in 2008, a crisis.
Does a single income home, with just the mother who can barely read have as solid a financial base for a loan as another family with two incomes? No, but that’s 70% of the reason for disproportionate loans among the descendants of slaves. How about credit scores which are a direct result of the spending choices we make-are those racist or mathematical? So, how much of the housing gap is the result red lining/racism, and how much is do to choices? Remember, we need exact dollar and cents amounts to determine how much reparations money is needed to repair damage.
The incarceration gap. If only one parent exists to teach discipline, then there is a higher likelihood of that child going to jail-especially if they chose not to attend school and thus have a substandard education and can’t get a good-paying job. Most people in American jails are descendants of slaves, people with single-parent homes, but more specifically people who chose criminal activity. Racism can be claimed, but it’s not men in white sheets telling a mob of people to break into an Apple Store and mob rob it. It’s not racist rednecks filling up the Chicago morgue every Monday morning.
All these facts are not to say that racism doesn’t exist. It most definitely does. There are white people who don’t like descendants of slaves, and there are people of color who hate white people. That’s understandable. Many whites can’t figure out why the descendants of slaves make such patterns of bad choices, and conversely, the media is filled with ethnic entrepreneurs who blame every possible tragedy and inconvenience on white people and racism.
I saw on MSNBC a few weeks ago that there is a disproportionate number of African Americans who are obese and have diabetes. The host and her guest both blamed it on racism. It’s not a spoon, a lack of control, bad dietary choices, or anything like that. ‘These people who are African American and overweight and have diabetes are victims of systemic racism.’ They really said that, and making matters worse, people really believe that.
The point remains: in exact numbers, how much of each gap is the result of racism, and how much is the result of bad choices? We need that exact amount to determine the amount of reparations, but, let’s face it, no one who wants a reparations check is going to say, “Yeah, I guess I should have married the girl I knocked up, spent more time in school, and I’ll have to get a job so I can afford a house.” No. People who want a reparations check are just going to say, “It’s the white people’s fault-not the choices I made, now show me the money!”
And the 87% who are supposed to pay the reparations are not going to be convinced to pay for what they will see as poorer choices than they themselves had to make.
The real tragedy in all of this, the real victims, are the descendants of slaves who do things right. They go to school, study hard, and are smart enough to go to college. They get married, and they have kids, and have a two-income home. They teach their kids that they can do or be anything they want instead of teaching them that they’re victims, oppressed by a race of people, and that there’s nothing they can do in a white supremacist world. And they teach their kids responsibility and how to fit in to a society where almost 9 out of 10 people do not look like them. They teach those kids to go to school and earn money rather than choosing a criminal path. These are the people who are the victims-not of racism or even systemic racism, but of the stereotypes that 45-70% of other slavery descendants create by living with bad decisions. These are people who are not oppressed by white plastic spoons.
I know posting on the internet usually gets just trolls who usually don’t read the article-sometimes not even the title, but I would like to know from a reparations advocate, a descendant of a slave, the name of their ancestor, and maybe a bit about them.
Gavin Newsom owes Nordstroms reparations pic.twitter.com/GYECQMSbON
— jason anderson (@PennsyltuckyJCA) August 13, 2023
Gavin Newsom owes Nordstroms reparations pic.twitter.com/GYECQMSbON
— jason anderson (@PennsyltuckyJCA) August 13, 2023
Brother Bob is no longer on Facebook (although you can see his archives there), and is back on Twitter again, but is ramping up on Minds and Gab, as well as Parler and GETTR, and has his biggest presence on MeWe.
Cross posted from Brother Bob’s Blog