WALTERS: Reparations Are Un-American And Unnecessary For Black People To Succeed Again In America

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Rasheed Walters Contributor
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Reparations discussions dominate African-American dinner tables, barbershops, beauty salons, TV and radio programs, policy think tanks, and public spaces today. However, despite decades of discussion, the issue is just a political catchphrase for appealing to black voters. Who is qualified? How much money and land should be given? Who will handle this massive payoff – and how? The U.S. Government will never provide reparations to African-Americans because of these complexities. No amount of research can determine or decide eligibility, but this doesn’t stop grifters from obtaining government funds to research this unanswerable question.

Furthermore, reparations are thoroughly un-American. Between 1775 and 1783, our forefathers waged a bloody war against Great Britain for liberty. 6,800 brave patriots – black and white – died fighting and another 20,000 perished from disease or as prisoners of war. These men gave their lives for a country they never lived to see, leaving behind widows and orphans. Veterans were permanently disfigured, and many lost their livelihoods.

After the Revolution, America received a rough hand – not a silver spoon. Yet, our Founding Fathers did not waste decades organizing conferences and assemblies demanding reparations from Britain and King George III. Instead, they established a nation based on the idea that people have inalienable rights that the government cannot violate. This nation that emerged from the Revolution developed into the greatest nation in human history.

Our forebears instilled in us the idea that American culture is not one of handouts from those who have wronged us. It’s about making the most of adversity for the triumph of a freer, brighter future. Freed slaves in the Reconstruction-era South (1867–1877) understood this better than almost anyone else. Despite slavery’s cruelty and degradation, newly-freed blacks and whites formed the Union League to build churches and schools, organize labor strikes and rallies, educate and prepare black political leaders, form armed militias to protect black neighborhoods, and motivate blacks to run for political office. As a result, over 2,000 blacks served in public office at all levels of government.

When Reconstruction ended, these freed slaves and their descendants built a network of grocery stores, farms, restaurants, banks, medical and legal services, and hotels in response to Jim Crow segregation. In Tulsa, Oklahoma, the “Black Wall Street” was born.

Yet, numerous African-Americans today use the racist destruction of Black Wall Street to argue that black people cannot achieve success in the United States today. This is not the American way. After all, when the British invaded the United States in 1812 and burned Washington, D.C., American citizens rebuilt and made sure such an event would never happen again. Blacks can do the same.

The beating of the dead reparations horse has eradicated the tenacity that once filled the hearts and souls of black people. In 2022, African-Americans have more options and freedom to determine their destinies than at any other period in U.S. history. How are we utilizing this opportunity and our time? African-Americans make up only 13% of the U.S. population, but account for the highest rates of poverty, unemployment, incarceration, homicide, and murder victims.

Despite these disturbing numbers and the sad reality of these communities, many black activists, legislators and clergy continue to advocate for reparations as the solution to the black community’s problems. If that were true, the COVID relief checks should have made us all better people and corrected some of our ills. Sadly, they didn’t, and never will.

Instead of focusing on reparations, let’s focus on black people’s past success, achieved under far tougher circumstances, and see how we can repeat it.

Rasheed Walters is an entrepreneur, political commentator and historian. He is a member of Project 21, and resides in Boston. Follow him on Twitter @rasheednwalters

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller.