Of course, we all know that committees to study something aren’t set up in order to study something. Even so, this seems more than a little blatant:
Briefly, what’s in HR 40, the House’s bill to study reparations
If passed, HR 40 would establish a “Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans,” composed of 13 members, with three to be chosen by the president, three by the speaker of the House, one by the president pro tempore of the Senate, and another six by “major” civil rights groups “that have historically championed the cause of reparatory justice.”
Shouldn’t that be some number known, already, to support the idea and some other, similar, number known to oppose the idea?
For insisting that 6 out of 13 already support the idea that reparations should and must be paid is rather pre-judging the issue, no?
There is a point to be made here as well, one against the very idea of slavery reparations. Which is the obvious observation that the descendants of slaves in North America – I’ll grant this might not be true in Haiti – are better off than the descendants of those not-enslaved in West Africa.
No, this is not a revival of the Church and then Confederate claim that slaves were better off baptised and working on the plantations than they were remaining free and oppressed in Africa. Nor is it a claim that slavery wasn’t so bad.
It is though an insistence that the average African American – now – is massively richer than the average West African. Therefore reparations cannot be justified – how can we compensate someone for having made them better off?
That the average African American is not as well off as others in the society around him is true, but that’s relative to the current society around him. He’s hugely better off than a society in which the Atlantic slave trade did not take place. So, how can we compensate him for that?
This is also not to say that American society is just fine and dandy. Sure it can be improved. We might even think it sensible to go do that. But that’s not the same as an insistence that the people who didn’t do it pay over lots of money.