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Rob Smith: Dems pander for black votes by exploring reparations for slavery – my vote isn’t for sale

Reparations for the thousands and thousands of descendants of slaves – me amongst them – is a sizzling subject that would come up in Thursday evening’s debate by the 10 main contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination.

I raised the difficulty myself with 9 Democratic presidential hopefuls once they campaigned on the Iowa State Truthful.

Strolling as much as them, I informed them that as a black American I wished to know if they may give me money reparations on the spot for the unquestionable injustice my ancestors suffered as slaves. I helpfully gave them a number of strategies of fee, together with PayPal and bank cards.


I spoke with Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio, Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, creator Marianne Williamson, Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York (who has since dropped out of the race), Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, businessman Andrew Yang, former Housing and City Improvement Secretary Julian Castro and former Rep. John Delaney of Maryland.

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Not surprisingly, no candidate agreed to my request for a right away money fee. Most stated they assist laws in Congress to check the difficulty of reparations for the descendants of slaves. Delaney was a notable exception, saying he doesn’t assist reparations.

A videographer adopted me round and recorded all my temporary encounters with the candidates. The video has been considered greater than 2.5 million occasions on a number of social media platforms. You would possibly name it “Profiles in Hypocrisy.”

The video was a stunt. Satire. It reveals the absurdity of the difficulty of reparations in 2019.

In actuality, I oppose paid reparations for myself and different descendants of African-American slaves. It’s not as a result of I’m a millionaire or billionaire and don’t want the cash. As an alternative, my opposition is sensible, ideological and based mostly on my ideas and sense of justice.

I can definitely see the argument for reparations when the slaves have been freed. Slaves endured years of oppression, household breakups as they have been offered like cattle, backbreaking labor, beatings and rapes. Some have been murdered.

As slaves, they earned no cash and so have been unable to build up any financial savings or property. So upon emancipation, they instantly grew to become homeless, penniless and determined – and nonetheless confronted widespread and authorized racial discrimination.

However nobody who was ever enslaved in america continues to be alive. I consider that paying their grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren shouldn’t be warranted.

Many questions stay unanswered as Democratic candidates lurch from black viewers to black viewers, pandering for votes and supporting a research of reparations as a approach to compensate individuals who appear to be me for America’s authentic sin of slavery.

The difficulty of reparations hardly ever comes up in an viewers outdoors of the black voter bubble. Maybe that’s as a result of an amazing majority of white Individuals are against money reparations. In a Marist ballot in 2016, a whopping 81 p.c of whites opposed reparations.

So if we’ve a problem that’s deeply unpopular amongst a majority of white Individuals and can undoubtedly increase resentment amongst different non-black American communities of coloration, why has the reparations debate change into massive problem in 2019?

In any case, slavery was abolished in 1865, when the South surrendered and the Civil Warfare got here to an finish. So America has had 154 years to pay reparations – but has by no means executed so, even after we had a black president within the White Home.

The difficulty of reparations is gaining traction as we speak as a result of Democrats are desperate to seize the assist of black voters.

The entire reparations problem is a part of the grandiose plans by the Democratic presidential candidates handy out trillions of {dollars} price of “free stuff” to purchase the assist of various teams.

“Free” public faculty tuition, “free” well being care, “free” baby care and extra “free” goodies are trotted out by varied Democratic presidential candidates. Yang even desires to present each American grownup “free” cash – $1,000 a month for all times.

How would the Democrats pay for all these freebies? Huge tax will increase for all of us (not simply the wealthy), large deficits and possibly large cuts in protection spending.

Marianne Williamson is the one Democratic candidate who has stated she endorses reparations thus far – she desires to present away $500 billion to black Individuals. However who is aware of what will likely be stated over the course of the presidential marketing campaign by the opposite candidates?

Aside from Delaney, the opposite candidates solely assist a invoice by Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee, D-Texas, that may use $12 million in taxpayer funds to “create a commission to study the economic impact of cash reparations and how that should be paid.”

It’s a secure wager that such a fee would name for reparations. The one query is how a lot cash the reparations would quantity to, and the way they’d be distributed – to people, to teams, or to some mixture of the 2.

The reality is {that a} one-time money payout to African-Individuals as compensation for slavery is an inexpensive exploitation of white liberal guilt, and in addition stokes stereotypes about black folks for many who site visitors within the white grievance politics that may be discovered amongst some right-leaning Individuals.

Sadly, the Democratic presidential candidates can solely see African-Individuals as perpetual victims. This was definitely true within the days of slavery, and in a few years that adopted as the results of Jim Crow legal guidelines and different legalized discrimination.

However whereas no can declare racism has been eradicated, black Individuals as we speak have extra alternatives than ever within the historical past of the nation. Extra of us than ever are getting faculty educations, getting good jobs and shifting into the ranks of the middle-class and even the rich.

And underneath President Trump, black unemployment has hit the bottom charge on file – 5.5 p.c in August. Trump understands {that a} robust financial system and a enterprise sector unhindered by the extreme regulation and taxation that Democrats favor is sweet for Individuals of each racial and ethnic group.

Unquestionably, there’s a nonetheless a spot dividing black Individuals from different Individuals by way of revenue, schooling and different measures of reaching the American Dream. However we’re closing the hole, due to our personal laborious work and the removing of racist obstacles that discriminated towards us for lots of of years.

None aside from Bayard Rustin, a civil rights icon and private hero of mine, opposed reparations when the idea was being mentioned 50 years in the past.


In a 1969 interview, Rustin referred to as a requirement for $500 million in reparations from the Black Financial Improvement Convention “preposterous” and stated the demand amounted to “hustling, begging.”

And in his essay “Equality Beyond Race,” Rustin wrote: “It is insulting to Negroes to offer them reparations for past generations for suffering, as if the balance of an irreparable past could be set straight with a handout.”

I agree with Rustin. I don’t consider in grievance politics. I don’t consider in a sufferer tradition. And I don’t consider that at this level the U.S. authorities owes African-Individuals any greater than it owes Individuals of all colours.


I say no to reparations. No to phony handouts from the left. No to the concept that my future as a black American is one way or the other much less vivid or beneficial with out money funds that one way or the other atone for the very actual brutality and hardships suffered by my ancestors.

My integrity and my vote aren’t on the market, irrespective of how laborious the Democratic presidential candidates and others on the left pander.


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