Reparations Don't Buy Justice, Dignity or Freedom
The issue of reparations to Black Americans as payment for damage done as a result of years of legal slavery and subsequent discrimination is back on the table.
The House Judiciary Committee just held hearings on H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to look into ways in which African Americans could be compensated, including possible payments of trillions of dollars to individuals.
The commission would examine the role of government in supporting the institution of slavery, "discrimination in the public and private sectors against freed African slaves and their descendants" and "lingering negative effects of the institution of slavery ... on living African Americans and on society."
My ancestors were slaves. And my life as a young woman was a mess.
Was my life a mess because my ancestors were slaves? I don't think so.
My life was a mess because I lived a wanton, irresponsible existence, defined by promiscuity, petty crimes and scamming the nation's well-meaning but totally confused welfare system to the greatest extent of my ability.
Did I need reparations to turn things around for me? Certainly not. I needed a wake-up call, which, to my great gratitude, I got, from a few church-going black Christians who told me the way I was living was unacceptable.
I went to church, took back responsibility for my life and turned my circumstances around.
The problem with the idea of reparations is it redirects attention away from exactly where attention is needed: on individuals' personal responsibility for their own unique lives.
And it redirects attention in such a way to encourage individuals to believe that some abstract, collective entity from the past is the cause of all their individual problems in the present.