Sunday, August 29, 2004


Back in April of 2002, Alan Keyes talked extensively about the proposal of reparations for the descendants of slaves. He was against this idea. He said that it would further tax the public for sins they had not committed. His main point centered around the idea that reparations had already been made…in blood. Keyes said that what most people leave out of the discussion of slavery is how many white lives were sacrificed on behalf of the slaves…and that saying nothing has been paid is leaving the Civil War out of the equation.

Recently, a reporter stated that he knew that Keyes was against reparations. Keyes became a bit indignant and claimed that he had never said that. He said that he was for affirmative action, but strongly against quotas. He said that he was against reparations in the form of monies paid by tax payers to certain African Americans. Keyes stated that an injustice that spanned generations could not be ‘paid for’, but proposed and idea that would absolve all Blacks from paying any federal taxes for one or two generations. This would allow for an opportunity to ‘catch up’…to save, invest and start businesses.

At first I viewed this as a Kerryism…but the more I thought about it, I realized that I agree with most of what he said. I guess being a ‘Yank’ I have always felt that lives lost during the Civil War have been forgotten or discounted. Boys enlisted not only to preserve the Union, but to fight for the freedom of the slaves. I also believe that if reparations were ever to be paid they should be paid by the South –like Keyes said, the North already paid with the blood of their sons. I do believe in equal opportunity employment (or consideration)— that aspect of Affirmative Action. I even believe (like Chris Rock said in ‘Head of State’) that if it comes down to two equally qualified people –it should be given to the African American. I do believe that the affects of slavery still has tangible repercussion in the African American community. I also know that my family came here from Italy and Ireland after the days of slavery –and gained nothing from the ownership of another. I am against quotas with every fiber of my being. Not only does this belittle the beneficiary, but it unjustly disqualifies the more skilled/knowledgeable candidates. It also creates a stigma for the Black employees/students that earned the spot they hold.

I thought about Keyes most recent proposal of the absolution of federal taxes for one or two generations and I think I am OK with that --if we agree to finally make the past the past. No more blame for generational sins and no more quotas. Could this begin to heal the wounds –even up the playing field –or would things remain the same?

This is a hard subject because the problem is more systemic than money. Recently Bill Cosby took a lot of heat for verbalizing what many have been thinking. A culture with ‘50 Cent’ or ‘Ludacris’ as role models can not thrive. A culture where it is no longer a stigma to have multiple children from multiple men can not succeed. A culture with 75% of its male population incarcerated can not overcome. A culture where 87% of children grow up with no father in the house can not rise up.

I get extremely sad when I hear these kinds of statistics. I am glad there are people like Bill Cosby willing to stand up to the NAACP and say the things that need to be said. I am troubled when I hear any successful African American (besides rappers) deemed and ‘Uncle Toms’ by the Black community. I do not know what (if anything) can heal the wounds that run so deep in this country. Reparations may cause further resentment from whites (especially whose families never owned slaves or came to America after the Civil War). Ignoring the problem may cause the statistics above to climb higher, and the divide between Blacks and Whites to grow wider.

I put this out there –not as a dissertation or a statement, but as a thought…as a question –one that many Caucasians are afraid to talk about lest they be called racist. These statistics are part of our country and therefore still our responsibility to consider…


riceburner147 said...

Ala71 re: "I do believe that the affects of slavery still has tangible repercussion in the African American community." Wow, i am proud of you (really) I completely agree, but i am wondering if you can keep your "neo-con" label (sic) while spouting such liberal minded beliefs. Also, i think you have to turn in your NE Phila membership card in order to have such inclusive views. You know, it just goes to show that "labels" are artificial and at best, limiting. As far as Northern soldiers sacrificing their lives to fight against slavery, this probably goes against most of the best research of the motives of Union soldiers. I guess that some fought to "free the slaves" but i believe the overwhelming reason was to keep the union whole. I have read Lincolns own writings and he seems to indicate (though at times he vassilates) that the "Emmancipation Declaration" was a war tactic to foment resistance in the rear of the south.
re: "the South should pay" I agree on principle but with our economy as it is this would not be possible.
re: Bill, he has guts and I applaud him for his courage and foresight. One thing you mentioned was 75% of B/M in jail. This is because (you probably know) our white dominated system has decided to punish b/m's for certain crimes ie: drug possesion (crack). BTW, violent crime should always be punished but possesion is another matter altogether (IMHO). All of my black friends and aquaintences are against reparations, for what that is worth.

this we'll defend said...

Wow, this must be backwards day, but this liberal disagrees with you 1,000%. With respect of course.

I'll ignore your "kerryism" slam. This time. :)

Reparations for slavery? That assumes two things that aren't true.

1) that the pain and suffering of the long-dead can be lessened somehow by payment to their descendents. It can't.

Slavery was evil, a black mark on our history (no pun intended) and the American form of slavery was particulary evil. Much worse than ancient Greece or Rome - at least in those societies the children of slaves were not slaves themselves. American slavery condemned human beings to perpetual bondage. And in Rome slaves were considered enslaved humans, in American slavery humans were considered livestock. Absolute evil and our schools don't teach the truth about it. BUT, that said, you can't take it back. You can't unmurder somebody, untorture somebody, or give them back their stolen life. It won't "even out" ever and justice is impossible because the mistreated are as dead as the mistreaters.

2) It assumes that the descendants of slaves are worse off because of slavery than they would have been otherwise. As Keyes put it, reparations would help them to "catch up" to where they would have been without slavery. What I am about to say might sound radical, but it is true: descendants of slaves are BETTER OFF because their ancestors were slaves. Before you freak out think about it - I can easily prove it. How?

Because if there were no slavery African-Americans would be African, not African-American. Ever been to the west coast of Africa, where American slaves were captured from? I have. Vacation wonderland, let me tell you. Sierra Leone, The Gambia, Guinea, Senegal, lots of places that you wouldn't want to visit, ever. Poor, high disease rates, hungry children, chaos, anarchy. A very low level of development. The ancestors of slaves have a much higher standard of living and much more opportunity than the ancestors of those who weren't enslaved and therefore stayed in Africa. You can't compare African-Americans to White Americans to determine if any "catch-up" is needed. You need to compare Africans to African-Americans because slavery is what caused the difference. Slavery was evil, but no "catch-up" for descendents of those unfairly brutalized by that evil is appropriate. Because there isn't any catching up to do. If your ancestors were African slaves in America that sucks for THEM, but it is a bonus for YOU - otherwise you would be growing up in Togo or Nigeria or someplace like that. No thanks.

Well, what about those who, as you say, benefited from the ownership of another? The south was by far the richest region of our nation up until 1861. By 1865 it was the poorest and has remained so to this day. Most of those benefits were destroyed along with the confederate army. And in addition you say the South should pay, but every confederate state except South Carolina had enough patriots to field at least one Union Regiment, and there were enough volunteers in the North to field many confederate regiments. How would you differentiate among the descendants? And the principle of res judicata suggests that even if you could you don't - those wronged are gone, and those who benefited are dead. The descendants of those who benefited might be better off, but that isn't their doing. We don't visit the sins of the fathers onto the children in our society. And, of course, many people have immigrated here since the Civil War, including black people. Do recent immigrants pay? Do recent black immigrants benefit? In both cases, why or why not?

As for income tax: an income tax suspension would benefit those who pay taxes, with the largest benefit to those who earn the most - hardly a way to "even" up the difference by giving rich black people a break at the expense of poor and middle-class people of every other color. In short, why does Keyes deserve a tax break and not me? Because of what his great-great-great grandfather went through? No way I say.

As for affirmative action, race-based affirmative action is similarly flawed. I agree that racism (not slavery) has done much harm that is still with us today, and racism is real and more prevalent than many white people believe. Affirmative action based on race does not help solve that at all.

Take affirmative action in college admissions, for example, which the Supreme Court has upheld - who benefits? The normal story supporting affirmative action is that poor inner-city schools and a history of oppression has resulted in lower SAT scores and less educational opportunity for african-americans. That is, actually, quite true. The solution of race-based affirmative action does nothing to solve this. It tries to fix at the back end of the educational process what was broken starting at preschool. And it doesn't benefit those it claims to help - the poor, inner-city kids who go to crappy schools. Wouldn't it be better to fix those schools instead of benefiting a chosen few?

And who is that few? Instead of helping the poor affirmative action benefits middle-class and rich minorities over everybody - including poor minorities. An example of the points I've made so far is that many (most?) of the blacks at elite schools are not descendants of African slaves. They or their families arrived since the Civil War, but they benefit. The descendents of slaves who are stuck in failed schools don't benefit. And neither do the children who aren't the descendents of slaves who are stuck in failing schools.

Imagine you work at University's admission's office. Your affirmative action program says that you can use race as a + factor for 20% of your slots, in effect reserving them for minorities without an actual quota. Everything else, of course, is the same - high test scores are better than low test scores, etc. So you get candidate X, Y, and Z.

X is a non-minority with a 1300 SAT.
Y is a minority candidate with a 1280 SAT.
Z is a minority with an 1260 SAT.
Who do you take?

You take Y, the minority candidate with a 1280.

Who is candidate Y likely to be? A middle class or rich black kid who went to good schools.

Who are X and Z?

X might be rich but he might be dirt poor. The % of blacks who are poor is higher than that of whites, but there are LOTS more poor white people. And X might be Asian, or any other category not eligible.

And if you make other races eligible what does that do to the Slavery and racism premise? Your ancestors faced the same problems as other immigrants. Why do some get a break now and not others?

Finally, and most importantly, there is Z. He is a poor black kid, and he just lost even with Affirmative Action because a kid from a good school stands a better chance of doing well than a kid from a crappy school, and affirmative action puts all the favored minorities into one pool and draws out those with the top scores. Who has the top scores? Kids who are richer than you I'll bet, including minority kids.

I went to law school with kids who have yet to hold their first job and drove BMWs and Mercedes, who lived in huge apartments, who didn't sweat tuition, who went to Europe on holiday. And who were Black. They went to great public schools or exclusive private schools. Did they deserve a break over me, who grew up on welfare and food stamps, went to a high school where half the kids couldn't read at the adult level upon graduation, and who served in the infantry for over a decade? Well, they got it. And they got it whether I was black or white. How is that justice for the slaves?

Affirmative action based on poverty, quality of schools, etc. makes more sense. Children should have an equal opportunity to excel regardless of the size of their parent's paychecks and regardless of their race. We don't have that and I wish we did. But using race as a factor won't help us get there.

And what of mixed-race children? Imagine stepbrothers, one with a black father and one without. They grow up in the same house with the same Mom, and then affirmative action will help one of them because of the poor schools that many minorities have to attend? They go to the same school.

And then there is the problem in both reparations and affirmative action that our society will be moving further away from Martin Luther King's dream, not closer. It will divide us further.

Soldiers who deployed to Bosnia or Kosovo will tell you that dealing with the locals was an exercise in insanity. "Why are you shooting at those people?" "well, they attacked us and massacred part of our village!" "When?" "1478." And they say it as if it were yesterday because they have been taught to feel angry about it their whole lives, and that is what they will teach their children. We don't need the same insanity here. It never evens out.

Our government should not consider race. If help is needed to even the playing field (and I say it is) then the only color that should count is green - if you have a lot you are better off than those who don't, regardless of your color. And affirmative action based on race won't help those who need it the most, while punishing the innocent.

ALa said...

This was great TWD... I am still trying to find a place in my head that I am comfortable with. I haven't worked it out yet and I thought it would be great to see what others think about the 'forbidden subject'. The only thing that I am 100% sure of is that quotas are detrimental to everyone.

Bigandmean said...

Reparations will never happen, for many of the reasons TWD mentioned along with some others.

Every benefit received has to be paid for by someone. If black Americans are excused from paying taxes, then I and others will have to pay more to make up for the loss of revenue. There are millions of people in the deep south, myself not being one, who absolutely would not acquiesce to paying someone else's tax burden as punishment for something they didn't do. Total anarchy would be the rule in the south.

Many in the south fought only because their communities were being invaded by armies from the north. The great civil war battlegrounds, with the exception of Gettysburg, were in the south. No northern cities suffered the destruction and loss of life of places like Atlanta and Vicksburg. Most of those who suffered and died never owned a slave and their descendants still call the civil was the "War of Northern Aggression". They have passed down from one generation to the next, stories of unending suffering on the part of their ancestors and many consider them to be the real victims of the war.

If we did certify a class of persons as descendants of slaves so they could receive special treatment would we de-certify them if they were also descendants of slave owners? Many don't realize that our black population is more accurately one of mixed race rather than black. It was most always slave owners and their male relatives who had access to and used black female slaves as their own private concubines. As a result, hundreds of thousands of mixed race babies were born. There is a very real chance that the ancestors of black Americans owned more slaves than the ancestors of white ones. Should a white person whose ancestors owned no slaves pay reparations to a mixed race person whose ancestors were both slaves and slave owners?

Slavery was a travesty, a wrong of incredible proportion. Segregation resulted in the development of two separate and very different cultures, not entirely of our making. Black children had almost no chance to succeed and were denied an equal opportuity at success. But things have changed and it's time that white America got over the shame of American slavery and it's time that black America stopped using it as a crutch.

We have to rid America of the influence of the Jesse Jackson's of the world and have more brave men like Bill Cosby speak up. Politicians on the left must allow black Americans to escape their poor schools and neighborhoods and encourage black business ownership, even at the risk of losing the 90% black vote they now receive. We must condemn social attitudes that encourage black males to drop out of school rather than stay in school and "act white". We absolutely must stop the cycle of black chilren being born out of wedlock and insist that black males accept the responsibility of raising the chilren they bring into this world. There is some heavy lifting to do and it won't be popular to be the one who demands that it begin now.

We are a great country and we owe our gratitude to all our citizens, black and white for making us what we are. I believe that a national day of reconciliation would be appropriate. I think we need to officially apologize, as a nation to our black citizens for the pain they and their ancestors suffered because of slavery and segregation. We should also publicly thank them for their contributions and sacrifices that have done so much to make us what we are as a nation. Then, we need to demand that people be judged by the quality of their character and declare that the time for victimhood and recriminations is past. I don't think there's anyone on the political scene at the moment who has both the power to stand the heat and is brave enough to take the risk.

this we'll defend said...

well, I think it is easy to blame "Black America" for out of wedlock babies, etc, but in fact poor urban whites suffer the same rates of out of wedlock babies, etc. The problem is an American one, not a "black" one. But it is a problem and pretending it doesn't exist won't change anything.

I don't know any black people (and I know a lot of black people) that use slavery as a "crutch," but I know a lot of white people who will tell you slavery "wasn't as bad as people say." Well, it wasn't. It was so much worse. It was our holocaust, but unlike Germany we don't educate our youth about it like the Germans do their kids about Hitler. We usually just try and pretend it never happened.

I was at first against a national apology. I felt 'we' shouldn't apologize to Black Americans - nobody alive today was an American slave. And no slaveowners are alive either. Who is the "we" and whom do "we" apologize to?

I still think we shouldn't apologize TO anybody, such as Black Americans. They aren't stand-ins for slaves and I refuse to be a stand-in for a slaveowner. I don't buy it when a Black American says 'They' or 'you' did this to 'us.' That is divisive and not what an apology is all about. I don't like the "we deserve an apology" or "we deserve reparations for what you did to us" talk. They weren't slaves, and I wasn't a slaveowner. I don't like the idea that White America has to apologize to Black America. I want only one America.

And that is why I was against a national apology.

Then I read Germany's apology for the Holocaust and I changed my mind.

We should apologize both to history and to the future, stating publicly that this was a wrong that was legal in our nation and should never have been.

We as a nation can and should apologize FOR slavery. Not TO anybody - not to the descendents of slaves, for they weren't slaves. But we as a nation - all of us, of all colors - have a government, our government, that legalized human bondage. And we, all of us, should acknowledge that wrong.

Some would say we already have - hundreds of thousands of dead Union soldiers were quite a statement. And I agree. But the evil was so pervasive, and the government officially never said slavery was evil and never should have happened. We the People at first legalized slavery, and later made it illegal through a Constitutional amendment, but the government never declared that it should have always been illegal and that it was wrong for slavery to legally exist from 1789 to 1865. Note that I didn't include the hundreds of years of slavery prior to 1789 - because our government didn't exist in the form it does now. That is why this wouldn't be a White America apologizing to Black America. It would be a government, our government, acknowledging that it was wrong to permit it to exist. An acknowledgement that We the People erred. I think we should do it as long as it is not a "white apology to black america" thing. I think our government could manage that.

Claims for "unpaid wages" - sure, go for it. But not from the government - the government was wrong to permit slavery but it didn't own slaves, individuals did. None of the individuals are alive today, so no case. And if the government were to pay then I would be paying people compensation for a crime that didn't happen to them and that I didn't do or benefit from either. It doesn't make sense.

Companies are a different story. It is possible to trace some companies around today to companies that benefited from slavery then, and if a descendent can trace a claim to a specific individual slave and show that a specific company benefited from that slave, there is a case. It isn't "reparations" it is a debt owed. And that is the difference. No race owes a debt to another in our nation. I didn't sign a "white guy" contract that obligated me for the sins of people long dead who I have nothing in common with but skin color. But companies pay debts all the time, and should if they owe them.

this we'll defend said...

oh, and I LOVE Alan Keyes. He makes Democrats look so good and wise and sensible in comparison. :)

redleg said...


I hate it when you make me agree with you. Your argument is well though out and incisive. The world is turning on it's head :) I saw Keyes on Fox News and he had to explain his programs out for me to get what he was aiming at. His plan makes sense if you believe some sort of reparations are in order.

Your argument blows his out of the water, and he better watch out because the DNC can spin a simplistic view of his program that is tough to explain away.

Obama is keeping quiet in Illinois, thinking Keyes will sink himself. 40 points behind in the race so far, he probably doesn't have much to worry about anyway.

leftyjones said...

Hmmmm....this really must be backwards day as TWD said, but I too am very against Keyes idea of reparations through tax exemptions to individuals.
While I have not gone into detail at any point about the work that I do for a living.....I'll simply say for brevity's sake that I work in affordable housing for low income families and the communities in which I work are 100% African-American.
It is from this experience that I agree whole-heartedly with TWD that these exemptions would not help the struggling members of Black America because the federal taxes paid in these communities are so minute that an exemption would be a barely felt bonus check, not the kind of funding that could help implement real change or even provide much needed financial training or education. Meanwhile, successful Black Americans who are not struggling in their situations would receive enormous breaks; breaks that don't necessarily translate to helping a community but rather individuals who aren't in NEED of assistance.
All kidding aside, this is one of the points of contention that I have always had with the Bush Tax cut plan. I could at least appreciate the honesty of a tax cut plan that said, "we have no idea if any good to society will come from this plan but we feel it's governments job to give the people back some of the surplus money". But I think to sell the plan on the idea that benefits will flow or even trickle down to society on the whole is scientifically nothing more than wishful thinking.
I will not argue that even small refunds are appreciated, I will simply say that they provide a slight bonus and they are not a foundation block for gaining wealth. I also don't believe that it has ever been proven that enormous tax refunds to people who have the largest tax bills has ever translated into real world benefits for the community around them.
Simply put, that tax refund money is at least as likely to sit in a stock account or pay for another international vacation as it is to provide any type of meaningful residual benefit to the community on the whole.
It is with this in mind that I believe that the tax exemption plan for black Americans would provide no meaningful assistance to the community at large.

Outside of that argument, I also believe it is patently unfair and wrong to get into the business of fixing the wrongs of history with a cash payment.

One last thought.....One of the things that I learned early on in my line of work was that money management training is crucial to any success but particularly in the low income sector. Countless times I have seen people come into a small settlement or a small inheritance and it is gone in a heartbeat on instant gratification desires. I am not going to sit in judgement of how people spend their money but I will say that without an understanding of how to manage your money you do not stand much of a chance of seeing any longterm benefit from receiving a settlement payment whether it comes as a tax exemption or as a payout check.
I suppose I could start listing all the other reasons I am against any form of reparation payments but I suppose for now, these are enough to chew on.

Cigarette Smoking Man from the X-Files said...

To my own shock and almost consternation, I find myself agreeing with most of what TWD has said.

Among my black friends who are more in favor of "some form of reparations", this is very nearly always based on a claimed promise of "40 acres and a mule" as mentioned by Al Sharpton in his DNC speech. this here is an in-depth study of the basis for that claim.

Apparently there was a decision by what was called the Freedmen’s Bureau Act in 1866, to reassign ABANDONED lands of the Confederate states, to not only freed slaves, but also to war refugees, apportioning these lands out in plots "not greater than 40 acres". (There is no MULE mentioned in that Act.)

It seems the "mule" portion of the "40 acres and a mule" claim was not from legislation, but from a practice by General Sherman to distribute to the freedmen some surplus Army mules along with the 40 acre tracts, as a part of implementing the Freedmen’s Bureau Act.

The BIG problem entered in when the lands which HAD initially be distributed to freed slaves, were taken back from them and returned to the white plantation owners after some complaints and legal battles (mainly based on precedent from the amnesty given to other Rebels in other States).

So there was a point in our history where "40 acres and a mule" WERE given to certain freed slaves, not as a promise to each freed slave, but as a matter of how to deal with abandoned and/or confiscated Southern plantation lands. It was not in the spirit of "reparations" but rather, in a spirit of "who should get this land we just took from the Rebels?"

In analyzing the history of these acts, I can understand how they came to be considered "slave reparations" by the freed slaves temporarily gaining those lands, and I can also understand the anger and feeling of betrayal that they must have felt when that land was taken back from them, and given back to the original owners of the property.

From what I see of both sides of the "reparations" issue (which is really a hereditary land dispute when you get down to it), I think this is in order: that quantity and quality of the lands which HAD been distributed to freed slave families under the Freedmen’s Bureau Act (not by Lincoln, but by the U.S. Congress), be acquired by the U.S. Federal government, or allocated out of lands already held by the government, such that the initial apportionment of said lands be returned to the particular descendants of the particular families which had originally been given the seized plantation lands under that Act; and that the revenues (less expenses) which would have been generated by such family farms, from that time to present, also be allotted to those families, which should be on some historical archives somewhere to identify under what inherited ownership they would have been, had they not been taken back away from them.

Concurrent with that settlement of the land dispute, a public education effort should be taken to clarify that "40 acres and a mule" were not a promise to all freed slaves, but rather were alotted to some of them as a matter of what to do with certain tracts of land that had been seized, and that that original alottment will have been restored.

When it comes to a tax amnesty for African Americans, I think that would be just and reasonable under the narrower scope of requiring the amnesty-granted individuals to be able to prove descent from slaves. Some African Americans were free northerners at the time of the Civil War (and some of them, quite well-off financially). And some migrated here from Africa after the Emancipation. I would set the time span of the tax amnesty from the present day to the day current 16 year-olds turn 55, or, a 39 year time span from the day it's implemented. Rather than a punitive reparation which would accuse current-day whites of a crime they haven't committed, it would be in the spirit of "catch up" for a demographic which obviously did not start its history here on a very level playing field.

To TWD, while I agree that the condition of blacks in America today is superior to that of blacks in Continental Africa, I would submit that such condition could have been considerably better had African labor been imported to America on a wage-paying basis, and had blacks not been seen as second-class citizens in America for so long. That's a part of our history from which there is no hiding, even though the very founders of our Constitution tried to duck away from such issues.

~Jen~ said...

Never been a fan of Keyes. I have a feeling he's going to get trounced.

Great discussion today.

I never would have guessed that this would be the topic we would all pretty much agree on. Wow.

this we'll defend said...

Lefty, you say: "I'll simply say for brevity's sake that I work in affordable housing for low income families and the communities in which I work are 100% African-American."

Are you a slumlord? :)

leftyjones said...

even worse......I work for a non-profit.
Can't be much more of a stereotype lib than that, huh?

Don't worry though my capitalist friends, instead of hugging trees at the end of my workday, I engage in entrepeneurial ventures in order to become rich, rich , rich.
I'm determined to get a bigger piece of that tax cut.

Bigandmean said...

I'm not trying to place blame on black Americans or anyone else for the rate of out of wedlock births. The truth is, in my part of the country at least, it is a much bigger problem in the black community and denying the obvious is not condusive to solving the problem. The number one impediment to staying in school for black females in the Houston area is pregnancy. The drop out rate for white females is so low that there are no statistics as to the primary cause. Whether it is caused by race, color, culture, economics, education or location is immaterial - blacks are disproportionally effected by out of wedlock pregnancy. The longer we continue to deny the obvious the more of a problem it becomes.

What if the rate of out of wedlock births among people of all races whose last name is Johnson is the same? Does that somehow lessen the impact of the problem on the black community?

Playing "the race card" is what I was referring to in regard to the use of a crutch. I believe it's in the best interest of our black citizens to avoid that.

A friend of mine, a black lawyer, recently told me about his son having his feelings hurt because he was asked to turn the sound on his boom box down while inside a McDoanld's. He'd told his dad that if he'd been white, no one would have said anything to him. His dad told him that the reason he was told to turn it down had everything to do with it being too loud and nothing to do with the fact that he is black. His dad, in effect, told him to get over it. My friend told me that maybe his son was being picked on because of his race but he wanted him to get over it and never rely on race as an excuse. If he allowed his son to do that, he believes it would give him a built-in crutch for failure. He wants his son to have the attitude that failure is not an option. I agree completely.

Tom said...

I wish I had been the one to coin this, but alas, it was someone else, a very sharp witted New Yorker:

Let's add up what's been spent since Johnson's War on Poverty began, plus everything African Americans looted throughout the 1960s and early 70s, throw in the cost of the LA riot in response to the King verdict in 1991, and call it even.

Tom said...

Now for the more serious response (because the previous one was only half-joking):

The doctrine of sovereign immunity pretty much insulates the US government from legally having to pay reparations to the descendants of slaves - even if it were possible to ascertain just who among Black America is directly descended from those slaves. There's certainly no moral imperative to pay those reparations since the US government spent a lot in lives and treasury freeing the slaves and ending the institution of slavery in this country.

Absent any legal legal or moral justification, the reparations "movement" is just another scam orchestrated by Black shakedown artists (like Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and the like) who rest assured will appoint themselves the executors of the "reparations trust fund" responsible for its distribution - to their own pockets.

this we'll defend said...

Tom, you are still TYAAPA, and the fact that you are only 'half-joking' doesn't make it any better. Even "full" joking would have been racist and in incredibly poor taste. Are you so blind that you can't tell the difference between rioters in LA in '91 (many of whom were Latino, BTW) and good, decent, working-class folks who struggle to make ends meet, who keep their yards neat and clean, and who try to keep their kids from falling prey to gang warfare in the same neighborhoods where the rioters were burning and looting?

And Johnson's war on poverty wasn't based on race, but on poverty. I grew up on food stamps and welfare and govt housing. Guess I'm a bum, huh, because I didn't earn my own way when I was six years old? Of course I spent over a decade in the infantry, and have paid more in taxes than was ever spent on me, and just graduated from law school. One of the best in the nation (I feel THE best). Where I kicked ass grades-wise. But perhaps you would prefer it if I, and those like me, were urchins begging for food, unable to read, unable to contribute to society, like in parts of South America where there is no social safety net and investment in people? Well move there then. I'd be glad to see the back of you.

I served with black people from neighborhoods where buildings were destroyed in those riots and they were better men than you Tom. Your 'sharp-witted New Yorker' is a low-grade moron, and that you quote him speaks for itself.

And your legal expertise is sorely lacking. You note that the doctrine of soveriegn immunity insulates the government. Duh. We are talking about whether we should WAIVE that immunity, which Congress can do just by passing a law. We weren't debating whether the immunity exists. Maybe they didn't teach that at your law school. My guess is that they did, and you missed it.

Your quote that there is "certainly no moral imperative to pay those reparations since the US government spent a lot in lives and treasury freeing the slaves and ending the institution of slavery in this country." Ending a crime doesn't mean you don't pay for the crime. If the slaves were alive today I would totally support reparations for them because they were not only kept in bondage by their masters but also by our government. Our government made slavery and kept slavery legal. It was ILLEGAL under our law for slaves to escape. US Marshals would return them to their owners. Read up on the Fugitive Slave Act. That we amended the Constitution later to make slavery illegal doesn't mean slaves aren't owed for the time they were enslaved. It just means they aren't slaves ANY MORE.

Hell, read up on ANYTHING. I wouldn't be so harsh on you without your first post, but that was so, well, you. TYAAPA.

Enjoy your flight to Venezuela.

ALa said...

Ok...I know that technically reparations (or the tax relief proposal) wouldn't accomplish much (with all the variables and facts that have been brought up in the comments above) BUT what about the 'show' of it...the 'gesture'. If the Black population only makes up 14% of the population --the tax absolution wouldn't really hurt that would it be worth the show...I don't know...I just want the excuses to end and people finally take charge of their own lives--and I can't help but wonder if this could be the catalyst (even if it's a superficial one)...

this we'll defend said...

It doesn't matter the cost, it is the principle.

As far as 'the excuses to end,' that assumes a lot of black people make excuses for their own failures. They don't. And when they do most people, incuding most BLACK people, don't buy it. The idea that Black people are seeking excuses, won't take personal responsibility, or that those calling for reparations represent the majority view of African Americans, well, its a myth.

And it wouldn't deter those who seek excuses for one solitary second.

The black people I know don't support reparations. They want an equal playing field TODAY, not a payment for yesterday.

And unwed pregnancies, poverty, etc. - they aren't a "Black" problem. They are an American one. Poor whites have many of the same issues. Ever watch Jerry Springer? And the concentration of poor blacks in urban areas makes the problem worse. Before desegregation the inner cities had rich, middle-class, and poor blacks. Now there are just poor, with the rich and middle-class Blacks moving to the suburbs (and not having the problems of unwed pregnancies, poverty, etc.) That makes it tougher on those left behind - an underclass that is engaged in a vicious cycle downward.

Take crime. We all know about the 'hood. The Bloods, the Crips, etc. So black people have a problem with violence and crime.

Except that the rural, white South has the highest murder rate. Higher than the inner cities. You are more likely to be murdered if you live in rural Alabama or Tennessee than if you live in Culver City, California. Or LA. Even South-Central LA. But it isn't concentrated and it doesn't make the news. They don't make movies about it. Going on statistics alone we need to figure out why poor white people keep murdering each other. Why won't those white people learn? The white community needs to get its act together and stop making excuses. They need to take some responsibility for their own lives and own white community. Sound silly? Imagine how black people feel when they read your last post, or many of the posts above.

So why do more black people go to jail than white people even though many studies have shown the same rate of criminal propensity? Racism.

Take racial profiling, which many law-enforcement people claim is effective. Well, it is. And it's wrong. Why? Assume 5% of every car on the road has somebody with drugs. Evenly distributed based on race, though, with 5% of blacks and 5% of whites having drugs in the car, only you don't know that. You stop 100 cars, 80 blacks and 20 whites based on a racial profiling system. Odds are you will make 4 black arrests and 1 white arrest. Even you will conclude that more blacks have drugs in their cars - you won't do the math and figure out the rate is the same. And you will tell any "lefty libbies" that you are a cop and Dammit, profiling works. What would work just as well, though, would be stopping 80 whites and 20 blacks, and you would have the same arrest rate. Which has been done in some experiments, the ones that show the same propensity to commit crime.

Black people don't want reparations, they want fairness. And they don't have it, and they aren't making excuses when they say that. And reparations would give justification to those making excuses, and that wouldn't help them either. How about we fix inner city schools first?

91ghost said...

Reparations is perhaps the single worst, most pernicious, most truly divisive and absolutely most absurd idea being bantered around. First of all, blacks have been getting reparations for some time in many, many a form. When you can get into a competitive university on lesser scores and grades all because you have a certain skin color--that's not oppression, that's royalty status. When the federal government literally doles out billions and billions of dollars in federal contracts each year to black owned small businesses and literally shuts out white owned small businesses from competing for those contracts--that's not oppression, that's royalty status. When the Department of Housing and Urban Development cordones off funds exclusively for minorities for first time home purchases--that's not oppression, that's royalty status. When blacks have free roam and reign to say what they will about whites in the media or in the classroom with no repercussions, yet if a white dare says something that is "perceived" as racist the white is basically fucking excommunicated from society--that's not oppression, it's royalty status. When a crime against a black by a white is a "hate" crime but when blacks assault whites it is just a simple crime not worthy of the word "hate"--that's not oppression, that's royalty status. And what of these crimes? Why is it that the media goes to such astonishing pains not to report the many true "hate" crimes that abound by blacks vs. whites? Why when in Wichita Kansas about 2 years when 2 black men burst into a family's home with automatic weapons, tied everyone up, raped the women, shot dead the men execution style, and then drove the women out to a frozen field after raping them and shot them dead execution style, why, why, why was that not worthy of Dan Rather's time?? Why when in New Haven CT last winter when a 27 year old white woman was driving home from Grad school one evening, gets abducted at a stoplight at gun point by 4 black men, dragged into the woods, gang-raped and left to die laying naked in 10 degree frozen snow, and the state refused to prosecute that as a hate crime--even though the victim testified how they kept saying "we gonna get us a white bitch tonight?" Why? Why is it that according to FBI crime stats a black is 200 times as likely to assault a white, but for whatever reason all we hear about, all the public school systems churns out is how whites need to be more "tolerant"?? Fuck that. No tolerance here. If reparations ever sees the light of day that's when this nation ceases to be America to me anymore. That's when I go to the hills and dig in. I think Blacks need to grow the fuck up in general and quit expecting to be placed on some godamned preferential podium just because they are black. The only, and I mean the only way, we are ever going to achieve anything resembling a "colorblind" society is if all these categorizations and preferences and quotas and special programs are absolutel abolished and every last swinging dick is held to the same standards. And for all you lilly white Ivy league save the world fuckers out there: Fuck you because your ass never had to hump it through the projects going to school and hope that today would be a good day--meaning that the daily swarm of "African Americans" wouldn't be jumping you today because of your white skin...

cheeky monkey said...

For once, I am unable to add anything constructive. Ala, thank you for beginning this conversation. I think there are a lot of great remarks here, and you all have done a lovely job of highlighting some of the many issues facing the black community, both in terms of reparations, affirmative action and more.

Ahhh, thoughtful and respectful blogland. Doubt it will last but this was nice to read.

this we'll defend said...

91ghost, you sure have a lot of anger. I guess that comes from your "gun-bunny" days. :)

I don't know why, but the FA units I saw always had a lot more minorities than any infantry unit I served in. You could tell the FA barracks from the infantry barracks by sound. In artillery-land there would be rap playing and in the infantry there would be country or rock. Why is that? Did you notice that too? Was it just because you guys all can't hear too well and the thumping bass made it easier? :)

I agree that "hate crimes" is a silly idea, that racial preferences are wrong, and that reparations are divisive and unjust.

But I disagree with your characterizations of black people. Calm down and re-read your post. I've seen you be much better than this. I am surprise because you don't seem a racist. I think you were ranting and got carried away. I hope.

I grew up in a minority neighborhood and was a target sometimes. I don't hate black people - I hate bullies. Had they not picked on me for being a white kid they would have picked on somebody else. And I had a lot of friends as well. And after I was on the wrestling team I used to look forward to the dumbass who thought that white = weak and that he could get a rep by picking on me. It was always pretty funny when they were in a headlock and had to beg to be let go in front of everybody. Whenever they called me "white-boy" I wouldn't let them go until they called me "Massa." Ahh, good times.

If the government has biased programs, why do you blame the Black people? Wouldn't it make more sense to blame the government and work to change it? You can't blame black people - look at Congress. Looks pretty damn white to me.

And I don't know where your statistics came from, but the statistics I've seen are that most black murder victims are killed by blacks, and most white murder victims are killed by whites.

And despite the affirmative action programs you cite I wouldn't consider the status of blacks as "royalty status." They make up 14% of the population but have a MUCH smaller share of the national income, they are much less likely to attend college, they are more likely to attend failing schools, be poor, die young, and be in jail. Some deal, huh?

"They" (blacks) are Americans too. I want opportunity for all Americans, so "They" and "we" should be only "we." Your rant doesn't help us get there. E pluribus unum.

Bigandmean said...

You're much too fast and loose with the racist accusations. I wondered how long this subject could be the focus of discussion before someone flung it out there and played the dreaded "you're a racist" card and who would be the first to do it. You won.

I respect your opinion and your ability to express yourself. You make some good, valid points and I enjoy reading your prospective. It's certainly your choice, of course, but I would love to see you develope the ability to resist the urge to go negative, even though you may have been provoked.

You asked, "have you ever watched Jerry Springer"? No, I haven't.

this we'll defend said...

Bigandmean, you are much too quick to conclude I made racist accusations.

I quote myself (I love doing that): "But I disagree with your characterizations of black people. Calm down and re-read your post. I've seen you be much better than this. I am surprised because you don't seem a racist. I think you were ranting and got carried away. I hope."

The reason I said that was because of 91ghost saying this:
"I think Blacks need to grow the fuck up in general and quit expecting to be placed on some godamned preferential podium just because they are black."

So thanks for accusing me of being the PC police when I clearly was not. I didn't say 91ghost was racist. Don't think you know what I am going to say because I'm a "liberal." Read what I actually say instead. I didn't go negative at all on this sensitive subject.

We can and should be able to debate "touchy" hot-button issues like race without walking on eggshells or worrying about using "black" or "African-American" or "people of color" or crap like that. But we do need to respect each other, and 91ghost was ranting and, in my opinion, got a little carried away. I was just telling him my opinion because I respect what he has had to say in the past and I wouldn't want him to lose credibility here, and I also wouldn't want this site to degenerate (like so many other blogs have) into an uncivil shouting match.

As for respecting each other - good for you for not watching Jerry Springer. Don't. It is atrocious. In fact, not watching it is a way to keep one's self-respect. :)

91ghost said...

This We'll Defend: I agree with most of your points, and yes, I was definitely ranting away. The idea of reparations disgusts me to the point of frothing at the mouth. I didn't mean to characterize a whole people per se in a mean-spirited vein, but it was intended as a remark on the dominant mainstream culture that prevails in black America that Ala71 wrote about in a more sober manner than me. After growing up in one of the worst school systems in the state, in a climate where violence ruled the day and where the local NAACP time and time again intervened on behalf of known violent perpatrators simply because they were black and the police happened to be white, my threshold for even hearing out an argument in favor of something like reparations is quite low. The funny thing is, I don't see myself as racist at all. I spent my entire youth from kindergarten through highschool in a black dominated environment and got on quite fine (with the exception of getting jumped a few times by people I did not know), and yes, my very best lifetime friend is black too (not that this would necessarily prevent one from being racist). And yes, my battery was about 75% black, and I got on rather famously with just about everyone. This whole post seems to be confirming one of my main points though: any real open and honest talk regarding reparations or race-relations in general is almost impossible because the moment one says anything negative sounding about the minority then one is instantly castigated and branded as "racist." What is truly racist at the core are these policies that really do treat blacks as a different kind of people and treats them with kid gloves and a squeamish media and public that seems to accept and condone a mainstream culture that indeed raises such fools as 50 cent to role model status. I think these affirmative action policies are totally antiquated and are only detrimental in the long run. I certainly don't deny the very real social problems facing black America, but I fervently believe that ultimately the only thing that will wholly resolve these problems is a sea-change in the culture, real schools that emphasize a real canon of knowledge and impose real discipline rather than the joke of a public school system currently in place, and the end of people, to include blacks, somehow viewing blacks as different and in need of different policies and programs than the rest of us. And again, in all honesty, the way I really and honestly see it, is that black racism toward whites is much more prevalent today than vice-versa, and that this condition is present simply because the media and thus, the mainstream public accepts it. Let me close on another example: Last year in Cleveland, 18 black youth ranging in ages from 13-18 declared it "Beat up a White Day." All 18 youth jumped a 13 year old girl and beat her senseless. As best as I can recall, not much happened to any of the perpatrators of this heinous and barbaric crime--in fact, some of the assailants were not even suspended from school. Let me ask, what do you think the reaction would have been in America if it was reversed and it was "Beat up a Black Day"? It absolutely positively would have been national front-line news. MTV would have a candlight vigil, marches would have been staged, and on and on...

Tom said...


"... you are still TYAAPA ..."

Refresh my memory. What does that stand for again?

"Are you so blind that you can't tell the difference between rioters in LA in '91 (many of whom were Latino, BTW) ..."

95% of whom were Black, by the way, but who ever expects you to rely on facts?

"...and decent, working-class folks who struggle to make ends meet, who keep their yards neat and clean, and who try to keep their kids from falling prey to gang warfare in the same neighborhoods where the rioters were burning and looting?"

Of course I can. The latter don't whine for reparations. The former do, egged on by the race hustlers.

"And Johnson's war on poverty wasn't based on race, but on poverty."

Yeah, like affirmative action.

"I grew up on food stamps and welfare and govt housing."

You grew up short on logic as well as cash. Because poor whites received government 'assistance' along with poor Blacks doesn't negate the fact that poor Blacks received the assistance, on a higher per capita basis than poor whites, thus my witty NY acquaintence's observation has not been contradicted, if that's in fact what you were attempting to do in your usual incompetent manner. In other words, the argument can and has been made that this was a form 'reparations' for any vestiges of slavery real or imagined that were paid to those Black Americans who would like to argue that their poverty is a result of 'slavery', a causal relationship that istenuous at best. Perhaps you would like to take a stab at it. That should be good for a laugh if nothing else.

"Guess I'm a bum, huh, because I didn't earn my own way when I was six years old?"

No. That really wasn't an issue. Sore spot?

"Of course I spent over a decade in the infantry, and have paid more in taxes than was ever spent on me, and just graduated from law school. One of the best in the nation (I feel THE best). Where I kicked ass grades-wise."

Talk is cheap on the net. Besides, this really has nothing to do with the discussion, unless you believe you are entitled to reparations from the US government, which I don't believe is responsible for your silliness.

"But perhaps you would prefer it if I, and those like me, were urchins begging for food, unable to read, unable to contribute to society, like in parts of South America where there is no social safety net and investment in people? Well move there then. I'd be glad to see the back of you."

I'm sorry, I must have missed it, but are you Black?

"I served with black people ..."

Ooops, I guess not.

"...from neighborhoods where buildings were destroyed in those riots and they were better men than you Tom. Your 'sharp-witted New Yorker' is a low-grade moron, and that you quote him speaks for itself."

We're still waiting for a logical argument justifying reparations, to which you evidently believe Black Americans are entitled, else you wouldn't be frothing at the mouth and spouting non sequitors.

"Ending a crime doesn't mean you don't pay for the crime."

Oh, contemporary non-Black Americans are criminals? Because that's the issue isn't it, since whatever the US government shells out in the 21st century is the people's money? So, please, clue us in on the guilt of 21st Century non-Black Americans for a 'crime' committed centuries ago.

"If the slaves were alive today..."

They'd be a couple a hundred years old, and if they were still slaves this discussion would be moot. Unless you meant if the "freed" slaves were alive today, but whenever you lapse into your hysterical pedantic liberal personality, you say nonsensical imprecise things that beg the question: What does a government that ended the institution of slavery at great cost to human life owe to persons who were not slaves and could never prove under any theory of law that they have suffered or currently suffer any injury from slavery?

Didn't by any chance study tort law when you took that legal correspondence course, did you?

this we'll defend said...

TYAAPA: you say "We're still waiting for a logical argument justifying reparations, to which you evidently believe Black Americans are entitled" - yeah, sure, that's why I said it was a bad idea and gave a long comment against it. Which once again shows what TYAAPA stands for: Tom You Are A Partisan ASS." Maybe I should add "WCR" for "Who Can't Read." Let's try it: TYAAPAWCR. Nah, I'll stick with TYAAPA. I'd go on with the rest of your mistakes, but I've too much stuff to do.

Aside from Der Obersturmfuhrer Tom:

91ghost: good post. I think a lot of black people feel the same way. 50-cent as a role model, etc. Bill Cosby would certainly agree. And no I don't think you are a racist. And the problems you list are real. Which is why when somebody in high school (similar to yours apparently) whenever I was called a "white-boy" I held the kid in a headlock until he called me "massa."

Twice I was punished by the administration of the school for "racist comments" while the assholes who called me "white-boy" and picked the fight were not - blatant outright racism if you ask me, and against whites not blacks. It was just a knee-jerk reaction, and you are right to be angry about such things. I was.

Black student uses racist epithet against white guy: no problem. White student, who didn't start it, responds with racist epithet: punishment, and a long insane counseling session with a white school pyschologist who wanted to tell me what it was like to be "a minority" so I would get over my "hatred." Despite the fact that in my school of about 1,000 I was one of less than 50 white guys. Gee lady, tell me about being a "minority."

When I asked her why the student who called me "white-boy" wasn't recieving the same talk she told me, I swear to God, "well, you are a white boy. What is the problem?" CLUELESS. So I said "So I can call him a black boy next time I see him?" "Oh no, you shouldn't do that. Have you been listening to me? Racial slurs are no way to deal with your anger. You should try and understand black people. Never use the word 'boy,' it is offensive." AAARRGGHHHH!

Racial slurs, huh? I gave up then and told her I was really sorry and that I saw black people in a whole new light. That satisfied her and I was free to go - and I immediately went looking for the other kid and beat his ass. He was too afraid to tell on me that time. Since some of my wrestling team buddies (black) told him that they would come looking for him even if I were suspended. His nickname was "Boyo" from then on, which came from "black boy."

I bet if I went to that same school now, which is rife with gangs but surprisingly wasn't then, I would have ended up dead because I'm white and stood up for myself. And no, you are right, it wouldn't be treated as a hate crime. But I don't think black people are to blame for that. I think stupid people are, and they come in all colors.

ALa said...

Ghost is right...this conversation is basically impossible to have because of the ingrained sensitivities that prevent one from stating the truth without being deemed a racist. That is why I was so happy to see Cosby say the things that 'white America' would be lambasted for saying. Yes, TWD, there are 'unwed mother' statistics in all communities --but highest in the Black communities, there is crime in every community --but highest in the Black community. There needs to be a fundamental cultural shift -more than one person saying "Don't buy giant medallions with the welfare checks...get food and clothes for your kid"
A friend of mine teaches first grade in inner-city Philadelphia. She is a very far-left hippie Dead Head (God help our children)...and she has all but thrown her hands up. Her kids come in with no book bags, no coats when it's snowing --but Moms got Bling and a $500 Louis Vuitton bag. She taught fourth grade last year and more than half the kids in her class couldn't read --fourth grade! She was also told on a daily basis..."My mom says I don't have to listen to the White Devil..."
So where does all this leave us?
I asked a good black friend once why all the babies -why Black women put up with so much shit. Her answer, "ALa...we are the lowest on the totem pole. Our men want a white woman first, then Puerto Rican and then an Asian. They will take a nasty white girl before a beautiful black girl...where does that leave us any choice -why do you think we hate to see mixed couples so much?!"
This is why I say that we, as a society, can't fix the root problem -that is up to the Black community.
I don't say this being facetious, but I think as more and more Blacks join the Republican Party and self-actualize and start spreading the word about the power of the may begin a shift. I wish there were more role models like Colin Powell and JC Watts and less like "Fiddy-cent" and Ludacris....

Tom said...


Thanks for clearing up that TYAAPA business.

It's not that I don't read your posts; I ignore them for the most part. Your vociferous assault on my acquaintenance's reason to deny reparations, which wasn't in response to anything you wrote, gave me the impression that you were in favor of reparations, particularly that thing about ending a crime (slavery) doesn't mean you're absolved from paying for that crime.

I'll go back and find the post where you allegedly call reparations for slavery a "bad idea". I'm sure it's as confused as the rest of what you write.

Cigarette Smoking Man from the X-Files said...

I think even rappers, when they reach success, will have a tendancy to eventually coming around to the idea of not wanting all of civilization to go to hell. They may rap like "gangsters" on the music video, but when they hear something go bump in the night, they'll be dialing 911 like anyone else. They may be calling women "hos" in the videos, but if they're still in their social status when their daughters are grown, they won't tolerate any of that treatment for them. The use of their "gats" will tend to transform from liquor store robbery as glorified in their videos, to home protection. And perhaps most importantly, when the Democrats come to take away their "bling" in taxes, that will tend to be a wake-up call as to who the REAL "white devil" has been all those years.

The progress of elevation from the conditions of slavery, to the conditions of an impoverished second-class citizenry, to the conditions of emerging success, may appear to be glacier-slow, but there is definitely movement in the right direction, even in some of the least likely of social circles.

Tom said...

Oh, you meant the one where you stated that reparations are based on two false assumptions, 1) that the pain and suffering of the long-dead can be lessened somehow by payment to their descendents (you say it can't); and
2) It assumes that the descendants of slaves are worse off because of slavery than they would have been otherwise.

Well, not exactly. Reparations are based on the false assumptions that 1.) All African (i.e., Black) Americans are alleged "cultural descendants" of slaves who do as a class suffer from slavery in the form of the "racism" that is its vestige; 2.) that the United States government is responsible for that continuing injustice; but for the institution of slavery, Blacks wouldn't be "victims" of racism; 3.) White Americans from the earliest days of the Republic on through to the present directly benefit from the racism that is the vestige of slavery or indirectly from slavery itself in the form of those companies that have an historical link, no matter how tenuous, to parent companies that made money off the institution of slavery.

You can't even get the assumptions right, but at least you and I agree that there is no basis for reparations.

What you objected to was my acquaintenace's observation that "reparations" is a moot point since African Americans have either received them in form if not in name and whatever else they feel they were owed that weren't covered under the welfare system they looted.

You then took issue with my comment that there is no moral impervative for the US government (i.e., the American people of the 21st century) to pay reparations to present-day descendants of slaves even if they could be identified because that very same government ended the institution of slavery and redressed whatever it had to with regard to those who were the actual victims. You made the comment that because you end a "crime" you're not absolved from paying for it. The point is, the US Government did 'pay' in blood and treasury to end the instition.

Besides, in your own argument in the post I initially ignored, you seem confused about what exactly slaves lost other than their freedom (were they deprived of material wealth when they were enslaved?). All the United States was obligated to restore was that which was taken from them - their freedom - and it did just that.

this we'll defend said...

TYAAPA, don't you see that everybody that read my first post knows you are full of crap?

You attacked me for agreeing with reparations - something I never did.

Instead of admitted you were WAY OFF and WRONG about your ASSUMPTION that I supported reparations you then attack my argument AGAINST reparations - and not very well I might add. But at least you know now that I don't agree with reparations, something that was clear to everybody else the first time.

You say you don't read my stuff, but you attacked me for it. That is you, TYAAPA - find out what party somebody belongs to and you automatically know what they will say (or what they said) and you will attack them for it. But you were, as usual, quite wrong. as you would be with the vast majority of democrats (and black people) who don't agree with the idea of reparations for slavery.

I didn't say my argument was an exhaustive list and that there were no other reasons against it. So boo hoo for you.

If you don't read what I write then please don't respond to it. I disagree with ALa71 but I read her stuff. I respond to what she wrote. Talking over each other won't teach anybody anything about anything. It is listening and thinking that does. But you aren't concerned because you have found ALL the answers and know your side is right about EVERYTHING. As I've said before, you don't think the left has ever done anything good and has nothing to offer, and you don't think the right has ever done anything bad and is always correct. Which is why you are a TYAAPA.

Ala71: "Don't buy giant medallions with the welfare checks...get food and clothes for your kid" - of course I agree with that. We can have conversations about that. I'm not being the PC police.

I know many decent and brave and noble black people who hate "bling" too, and it isn't just black people that do such foolishness, which is the point I was trying to make. It is just that the people that do crap like that are concentrated in inner cities when black, and dispersed in rural areas when white. So the underclass in inner cities is festering and must be fixed. Beware of the myth of the "welfare queen" who has more kids just for a little more money. Such stereotypes lead to anger and condemnation of others and people "throwing their hands up" at the "black" problem when it is a problem for all of us when children of any race are neglected, or when a culture (such as hip-hop culture) denigrates women and glamorizes criminal behavior. Eminem is as much of an ass as 50 cent. And white kids buy both their CDs.

I just don't like the "black people need to fix their house up and get a damn job" style of addressing the problem. Lazy and shiftless people need to fix themselves, regardless of color. It isn't a "black" problem, it is an American one. The problem is more prevalent among blacks because poverty and inner-city living is more prevalent among blacks.

Now back to the debate. And a rant from TWD:

Our culture has kids dressing in baggy pants and "gangsta" clothes - all kids, not just black kids. Where the hell are those parents? What the F are they thinking? Watch the latest JC Penney commercial in which a cartoon "gangsta" with baggy clothes and a hat covering his eyes dances with the "cool kids." See the white boys? I don't. I see black guys being "cool," lots of white girls, and once briefly in the background a white boy in a crowd. JC Penney doesn't cater to Black America. What's up with that? It is just one example. "Gangsta" culture has become "cool." This might be dismissed as the normal reaction of the middle-aged to youth music (cue old man saying "those pesky kids with their "rock & roll" - what ever happened to Benny Goodman?" or "that disco is the devil's music"). Except that 50 Cent really is a criminal, Death Row records really is run by criminals, Tupac really was gunned down in a gang dispute, and I can't recall an Elvis record that said it was cool to shoot cops. I don't like much rap but I can admire the creativity and talent. I even liked Chronic by Dr Dre, a lot. But he blasted gang violence, not extolled it. He wrote in "It was a Good Day" (you know the line - "I didn't have to use my AK" - he ended it with "It was a good day. Nobody I know died in South Central Los Angeles today." Hardly glamorizing gang violence.

I hope "gangsta" rap is a passing fad. But it appears that it is being replaced by "bling" - all about "I'm rich, I don't do shit, look at my rides and hos and my crib, yo. I'm better than you because I have cash" Materialistic culture where everything is judged by how much stuff you have (or appear to have). And that might explain the hungry kids who can't read with a mom owning the Luis Vuitton bag. The $50,000 car parked in front of the $550 a month apartment. The expensive shoes and pants and $$$ gold jewelry on the guy riding the bus. Music does have an impact, a negative one. And so does public outcry - I say, God Bless Bill Cosby. It isn't a black problem, it is a culture problem. It's ok to condemn the silly, the outrageous, the harmful, and the evil we see. In fact, it is our duty to do so.

91ghost said...

Ala71: Actually, this was quite an awesome really encouraged some rip-roaring honest debate--a rarity these days.

TWD: Your public school experience bears an uncanny resemblence to mine. I loved the headlock thing. And yes, I do agree that this all comes down to stupid people, not black people.

this we'll defend said...

Yes, kudos to ALa71 for not only starting a debate others shy away from, but for attracting and keeping the kind of people that respect other opinions. That says a lot about her, all to the good.

liberalweiner said...

This Will Defend:
Did the law school you went to award extra credit based on the number of words used to make your point? Is that why you "kicked ass"? Just wondering.

Bigandmean said...

I'd have sworn you used a one word explanation for a higher incarceration rate for blacks: racism. Maybe I misread you post.

this we'll defend said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
this we'll defend said...

Geez, I just reread this and realized Bigandmean was supporting me.

ok, I'm a dumbass. Tom has a point about verbosity. :)

In short - 'doh!

this we'll defend said...

Thank you bigandmean.

for everybody else, my deleted post was a five million word essay on racism and the criminal justice system, because I totally missed Bigandmean's gracious support and thought he was criticizing me.

I guess I need to be more "sensitive," but please don't let Mr. Cheney know. :)

Bigandmean said...

No big deal. Keep on keepin' on.