It has been a common thought among the left that reparations are in order to pay for the tragedy the American slave trade caused upon our citizens. It is widely believed by those supporting such movements that citizens whose ancestors were slaves are born with a disadvantage to those without slavery in their lineage because of the dire circumstances those ancestors encountered. And if we could somehow pay living citizens for those circumstances, all would be made right.
While we cannot argue that those who were enslaved and later freed during the American Civil War did not face hardships of many kinds, there is controversy in believing that low-income African-Americans living today, some more than ten generations and 150 years later, should be paid to make up for those hardships.
Many Democratic 2020 presidential candidates have endorsed such ideas and say that if they become our next Commander-in-Chief, all black Americans who have slavery in the ancestry will be given governmental funds or resources.
However, one city in Illinois is already beginning such measures and even taking it one step further.
The city of Evanston, Illinois, found just north of Chicago, recently voted eight to one in favor of beginning a three percent tax on all marijuana sales to fund reparations for its black citizens.
According to The Washington Post, there are two local retailers seeking licenses, and one medical dispensary in the city who are preparing to sell the drug for recreational purposes come January when it officially becomes legal in the state.
It is estimated that the tax agreed upon will bring in between $500,000 and $750,000 a year for the fund. However, private donations are expected to be given, as well. Currently, the plan has a ten-year cap of $10 million.
However, the “plan” isn’t really a plan at all. In fact, the vote in favor of it that took place on November 25, has been the only definitive information given about it. There is no set idea on how the money will be distributed or even who exactly will get it. City lawmakers plan to meet on December 11 to discuss such matters, leaving them little time to implement such ideas before the start of the new year.
City Alderman Robin Rue Simmons has given a brief description of what her ideas are for the money, but there is no guarantee that it will be used in this way. According to her, it could assist low-income black families with housing down payments and rent, or it could be given for training or education to young, black professionals in the city.
Another major flaw of the reparation plan is that citizens who receive such government funding will not even have to prove their ancestry. The only requirement is that they are African-American and can prove Evanston residency.
Now, correct me if I’m wrong here, but I thought the whole idea of reparations for slavery is to help pay for the damages caused by slavery. Therefore, the only people who should be considered for such compensation would be those whose families were directly impacted by the oppression of slaves in America.
Can it really even be called slavery reparations if there were no slaves involved?
According to Simmons, that doesn’t matter. She said, “Our community was damaged due to the war on drugs and marijuana convictions. This is a chance to correct that. Our disadvantage and discrimination has continued beyond outlawing Jim Crow and beyond enslavement.”
But that isn’t what the House of Representatives, who held a hearing on possible reparation legislations, said this past summer. Only a few more months ago, Democrats in the House said that the purpose of reparations was to give Americans whose lives were possibly impeded by the fact that their ancestor was a slave a financial leg up.
And while not everyone agrees with such logic, there is at least some sort of logic there. Slavery was horrendous, and it can be argued that those with a family history of it often find themselves in less than opportunistic situations.
However, Simmons’ idea that it should be given to any black American is quite different.
Furthermore, how does she expect a mere $800 a person, according to the $10 million for funding and the 12,500 blacks living in Evanston, to really make a difference?
Because it won’t.
The only thing it might do is sway a few non-white Americans to vote left.