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There are better things to consider than reparations

There are better things to consider than reparations

Every few years – when the one-sided dialogue on race bubbles to the surface – we hear yet again about reparations being paid by Uncle Sam to the descendants of slaves.  It is such a bad and unwarranted idea that it is amazing that anyone would waste time discussing the issue.

The only reason it is raised is that Democrats see it as yet another opportunity to maintain the voting loyalty of the Black community by using taxpayer money as a sort of bribe.

Now do not get me wrong.  If people are offered free (to them) money, the vast majority of folks would take it – need it or not.  While – as a conservative –I worry about our annual Budget Deficit and the  National Debt – I accepted the $1200 stimulus money the IRS deposited in my bank account even though I an not at all sure it was a smart thing for Uncle Sam to do.  I really did not need the money, so I socked it away in my savings account.

I can understand the desire of a lot of Black people to like the idea – especially the segregated and impoverished people in our inner cities.  If my one percent Nigerian DNA (yes, I had the test) would qualify me for such a gift from Uncle Sam, I would probably accept it, too.

The first problem I have with reparations is that they are to be given by people who had nothing to do with the evil institution of slavery – and that includes not only White Americans, but Hispanics, Asians, Native Americans and anyone else who pays taxes.  And what about the few Whites, Asians and Native Americans who were also enslaved during the era of slavery.  And speaking of Native Americans, what about reparations for the land the early settlers took?  I guess they just do not count.

The vast majority of Americans living today do not have ancestors who were slave owners – and were not even in America during those days.  My own ancestors came to America in the late 1800s – long after slavery ended.   And they settled in the north, so they were not complicit in the Democrat era of segregation and Black oppression in the south.  And even a lot of people with ancestors going back to the slave era were abolitionists – folks who fought and died to end slavery.

If we are to apply the legal principle of holding those folks accountable, perhaps compensation should be paid by the Democratic Party.  They have the only clear record of institutionally defending slavery and governing over unconstitutional segregation and oppression of Black citizens for 100 years.  If any parties might feel the pangs of historic guilt, they are found in the leadership of the Democratic Party.

On the other side of the coin-of-the-realm, who should receive reparations?  Do we eliminate those whose ancestors found their way to America AFTER the end of slavery?  Many of those known as “island Blacks” were enslaved in places like Cuba and Haiti – never setting foot in America.   Should they seek reparations from Cuba or Haiti?  By the time many of their ancestors immigrated to America, slavery had ended.

The point is simple.  Are we expected to have people not responsible or involved in slavery pay reparations to a lot of people whose ancestors never suffered because of American slavery?

It is further arguable that no one in America today suffers from the institution of slavery.  That ended more than 150 years ago.  An argument could be made, however, that the century and a half of Black oppression and de facto racism in the south and big cities has denied Blacks access to America’s opportunity society.  That is a reasonable argument – but again it is important to hold those most responsible for the oppression to be most accountable.  That is not hard to determine, it is the Democrat leaders in the segregated south and the Democrat political machines in the major cities that confined Blacks to segregated and impoverished communities – and socially and physically blocked from equal opportunity and benefits of quality education and career-level jobs.

But even if you broaden the burden of responsibility for Black oppression over the entire American populace, there is also an argument that reparations have already been made – at least to some extent.  Most significant were the Affirmative Action programs of the Republican Nixon administration that gave Blacks special advantages in obtaining college admission, jobs and economic business opportunities.

Even in the early 1900s – when the policies of the national Democratic Party under the leadership of racist presidents such as Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt were being influenced by powerful southern congressional chairmen and the big city bosses – Republican presidents, such as Calvin Coolidge, were investing taxpayer money in the form of grants to all-Black colleges.

If ever there was a time for reparations, it was immediately following the Civil War.  Though not enough, the spirit of reparations was behind the “40 acres and a mule” offered to freed slaves as a result of negotiations between General Sherman, Radical Republicans Senator Charles Sumner and Representative Thaddeus Stevens.  Former slaves could own land upon which they had been forced to labor without compensation.  The policy was terminated by southern Democrat Vice President Andrew Johnson when he assumed the presidency upon the assassination of President Lincoln.

A more appropriate approach is to develop and enact policies that will free those Black Americans who currently are trapped in the ghettoes of our major cities under de facto racist policies of the one-party political machines.  There is no reason to compensate for the past – but every reason to address the manifest inequality of the present.

So, there ‘tis.

About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry Horist Larry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.


  1. Dan Tyree

    Reparations? I owe no one an apology for slavery or any money. I didn’t do it. I promise that if I were black I wouldn’t accept any payments. No body alive today had anything to do with slavery. It’s not our fault that blacks were enslaved by their own. The idea is totally stupid.


    the blacks came to this land from the africian continent that largely uncivilized. the tribes fought for the land to live on and killed the men and enslaved the women and children of an opposing tribe. the tribes would then sell their captives (began to save the men when they became valuable) to pirates from europe and the caribbean (most of them were black men). these were then brought to our land and south america and sold to farmers (cotton/sugar cane, etc.). they were the most valuable assets on the farm and 99% of the time were treated that way (like an expensive machine/like a prized animal/like a teacher) they were provided food, shelter, protection and jobs. when they were freed 85% of them refused to leave the farm(many were forced to because the farm was burned to the ground and the union soldiers raped and pillaged them. (roots was 75% made up to sell books and the movie). they then sent the carpet baggers down to create hate between the north/south, white/black & have/havenots. the worst thing that we created in the black people was dependency and victimization and along came the kkk, nazism, islam, democrats & communism and found a large group of people ready to riot . the blacks came to our country better than any other group ie: 1. irish came here and were way worse than slaves the women were maids and prostitutes the men were literally shit haulers (no sewerage, poop on porch in container for haul off)
    2. pilgrims lot of them starved to death, killed by natives 3. pols many became slaves to miners and etc..4. chinese came as slaves, lived in tents, worked to death on railroad construction. all the other immigrants were at best second class and exploited by those already here and through their sacrifice were able to use the new immigrants. so to sum up—we took in uncivilized captives from africa who were doomed to death or slavery in their country we gave them sustenance, shelter, protection, and a job ——–AND WE OWE THEM REPARATIONS !!! !!!!! DUH