Switters’ Blog

Reparations

Posted by dakeeper on July 30, 2007

I often take the time to read the opinions of those I disagree with,  to further strengthen my own opinions, and to a lesser extent to open my mind to other points of view. Recently in Newsday I read Les Paynes’s article about reparations for slavery.  Let me say this about Les Payne- how he is even allowed by publications to spew his racist trash is puzzling.  He uses his command of the English language to cleverly disparage anyone who opposes his agenda.  His primary target are caucasians.  I know he is highly regarded in the media industry, but I do not understand his redeeming value other than stoking hatred and bigotry.  Readers of my opinions may construe that I am a bit ‘slanted’ in speaking of all peoples but I stand by my mantra of ‘calling it like I see it’.  I always ask for a legitimate rebuttal to my views and rarely am I proven wrong.

 In Payne’s case, he is ‘calling it like he sees it’ with regards to reparations for blacks for having been enslaved some 250 years ago or so.  Essentially what he wants is for today’s government to pay black people of today a cash settlement for what he correctly identifies as an injustice perpetrated by the United States and Great Britain long ago.  How is this fair?  Why is this outlandish demand even entertained by anyone?

 I would like someone to explain to me why my tax money would be used as another handout to pay for a practice that occurred generations ago, and had nothing to do with me.  If they were going to pay for reparations then they should of done that in 1865, not 2007.  Sorry Les.  Your people will have to find another way to usurp money from the government, a skill you do all too well.

If reparations for injustices committed long ago are credible, then let’s look at a few groups of people who more than entitled to some cash if Les has his way:

-Egypt should pay for enslaving the Jews back in the day.

-Native American Indians should be payed cash for getting in the way of manifest destiny.

-Irish people should be paid for England’s handling or lack thereof during the potato blight.

-Chinese people should be paid for Japanese atrocities during WWII.  Heck, WWII POW’s should get large cash rewards for being subjected to forced labor under duress.

-European Jews should be entitled to large amounts of cash from Germany for being subjected to genocide.

The point I’m making is that  slavery has not been the only injustice done to a race in the course of history.  Furthermore, as the result of forced migration subsequent African generations were given the opportunity to flourish in the United States.  Slavery ended in 1865, following a war that took the lives of generations of whites and blacks who fought to save the nation, a nation that now owes nothing to any race other than a land to live free and prosper.  No Les, when I speak of prosperity I mean the old-fashioned form of earning a living.  I do not speak of the kind where you wait for the mailman to deliver yet another government check while you reproduce in numbers that you cannot support.

Get over it Les.  Move on.  Why do we never hear from the Asians, the Indians, or the Latinos?  Why are the Correctional Institutions filled predominantly with blacks?  Even the illegal immigrants stand on a corner in any weather to make a few bucks.  These other races haven’t been here that long, yet they prosper.  Strange.

In closing I find it insulting that a race of people in this country would seek to have money paid to them while other races have turned the page of history with an eye forward.  My Grandfather was an immigrant from England.  he came here, learned a skill and worked hard to support himself.  When this nation was plunged into war he answered the call to defend his adopted country and got killed in action doing so.  He did not come here to languish and sit on a stoop.  He embraced the ethic that many of us hold dear, that this nation offers opportunity for all to live happily and free, for the price of a good days work.

So go on, get away from that mailbox Les.  I’m sick and tired of your race bitching and moaning about injustices that occurred 250 years ago.  Every race has had their cross to bear.  Get off that welfare line and stop conjuring up ways to get more handouts.  You’re only doing you and your interests a disservice.

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20 Responses to “Reparations”

  1. switters said

    I agree with you on the basic point that reparations are a stupid idea. I also suspect that most self-respecting African-Americans would probably be offended by the condescension inherent in the concept. But I disagree with how easily you dismiss hundreds of years of forced servitude, generations of legalized discrimination, and more generations of institutional racism.

    Yes it’s true that my ancestors faced bias and violence when they came here as did most immigrant groups, but you’re ignoring history if you try to say that our country’s treatment of blacks is second only to that of Native Americans.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of those bleeding hearts who says that we should forgive violent criminals because of what “society did to them.” My point is that the statistics which show that blacks represent a disproportionate percentage of the criminal population are not the result of inherent differences between the races, but of the the conditions in which they are more likely to live in and of the lack of a consistent thread of family and cultural values being passed down.

  2. dakeeper said

    Ok Switters, but his call for reparations is not due to the post-slavery history, but for just having been enslaved period. Yes, slavery was a historical blight, that is not in question.

    As for the treatment of blacks and the statistical representation of them in custody, I can only suspect that as a race they have much more of an opportunity here in this nation than Nigeria, Ghana, The Congo, etc. Yes, they were forced here in chains long ago, but how is that our problem?

    I’m most likely not the best source of reason when it comes to this issue, not with my daily experiences. I do pride myself on having a good grasp on historical perspective, and in this case I’m having a hard time seeing how a monetary reward is justified.

    Yes, the blacks have been the subject of bias and discrimination since their freedom, then again so has every immigrant group that has arrived here, like you said. Should I feel sorry for them because of their numbers? I recall the nation of Liberia was created for former slaves to be repatriated with their native lands. I don’t recall that working out so well.

    As for your comment on blacks being incarcerated relative to the conditions they live in, I’m sorry bro, I’m not the best source to share wisdom on how these people live. Indulge me. What is so f-ing hard about taking care of the place you live in if you don’t have much money? I didn’t have alot of money when I was a kid, at one point we got food stamps, but we kept a clean home and threw out shit we didn’t need. Go find a job. Crime is too easy for them. It’s a fallback. Plus they reproduce in reckless numbers and I know for a FACT that MANY of African-American men I have dealt with could care less about how many kids they have with multiple women, and in fact brag about it like they’re collecting baseball cards…..but I digress.

    In my opinion it’s a cultural matter, not to say that the entire culture is predisposed to a life of crime and reckless reproduction. I know this sounds shallow but like I said I’m dealing with the worst segment of that culture on a daily basis and I’m shot. I should add that whites and latinos are not exempt from living wasted lives and reckless reproduction.

    The bottom line is that it’s time to stop waiting for the government to hand out checks and for people like Les Payne to get over it.

  3. switters said

    Just to start off with what we agree on: People need to do everything possible for themselves before expecting handouts from the government; reparations are a stupid idea; Les Payne is a jackass and is just as much of a racist as anyone he points his finger at.

    As far as the societal conditions for blacks in this country, let’s start off with a thought experiment: Imagine that not only is there life on Mars, but they are very advanced and start coming here and enslaving humans to work their underground farms (everything is underground – that’s why we haven’t found them yet). Anyway, ignoring the fact that you’d be killed in the first week trying to pull a John McClane escape/rescue, it’s safe to say that you’d pretty much hate Martians. It’s also safe to say that if generations of Earthlings were enslaved, they wouldn’t be too quick to just forgive and forget once they were freed. Especially if they were pretty much stuck on Mars, unable to go back to Earth because they were completely unaccustomed to Earth life, knew nobody there, and had no knowledge of how to start their own community. In the movie version they’d rise up and kill all the Martians (Yippie-Kay-O, Mo-Fo). In reality they’d do their best to fit in but no doubt would have a very hard time trusting Martians and have deeply entrenched hatred toward them. Especially when they see that they are technically free but are still pretty much treated as being inferior to Martians, denied the opportunity to get a quality education, get certain jobs, live in certain places. They would also have had the traditional family structure disrupted. Because human families are not respected and individual members are sold and/or moved around without regard, the notion of a nuclear family will be alien to them. (Side note: I’m talking out my butt here with no real evidence – but I believe that the whole thing about African-American men father kids and leaving them is a direct result of slavery – generations of slaves fathered kids and never saw them. Things like this become ingrained as normal).

    Anyway, so here are all these humans, now “free” on Mars. The strongest and toughest will fight for equality and to better their situation, but many will eventually give in to despair and accept their fate. That defeatism will be passed down to generations who will then be faced with the challenge of overcoming THAT as well as the anti-Earthling mentality that still exists.

    OK, I’m at the part of this writing where I feel like deleting the whole thing because it’s not working the way I want it to, but I think I’ll leave it instead and just change course.

    Think of it this way. You do a lot for your children. Part of it is because you just want to and part of it because you know that there are things you need to do to help insure their future success.

    Now imagine a black child born in [insert name own choice of town/area here]. He faces a strike right off the bat because no matter what his family’s socio-economic status and attitude toward /skill at child rearing, there are still a large number of people who will never give him an opportunity because of his skin color. But he’s not born into a family like yours – he’s one of 8 children from 3 different fathers (none of whom are around) who lives in a poorly maintained house with not enough to eat, no books, nobody to help with school work, few good role models and lots of bad ones. Right away you may point to the parents for being so irresponsible in bringing into the world another child they can’t support. And I agree with you.

    But it’s not about the parents anymore, it’s about that child and his chances for becoming a productive member of society. The deck is stacked against this kid from the moment he takes his first breath. Yes, he has the theoretical opportunity to escapce the cycle, but most of the things that we do for our kids to get/keep them on the right track don’t exist for him.

    Think about it – we want these kids to deny ghetto culture even as we glorify it and little white wannabees from Sayville try to emulate it and, as you well know, McDonald’s and others reinforce it with their advertising.

    Ok, I don’t know if I made my point or not, but I’m out of steam. Just one more thing: Gregg is an ass.

  4. dakeeper said

    Yes, he is….bigtime.

    Tough analogy there- I’m not buying it though! They’re alot better off here than Nigeria or Sudan.

  5. switters said

    Too bad you disagree with me. I guess this is the point where I get defensive and can’t “play nice.”

    But seriously, I don’t buy the whole “they’re better off now” argument. It’s kind of like a rapist saying “but look, you got a wonderful child out of the deal!”

    Not to change the subject, but since this one’s about done (at least until someone stumbles across this thread and tells us both how uninformed we are about the “real world”), but I can’t tell what your avatar is. Do you have a larger version of it you can upload?

  6. dakeeper said

    lol guy- I’m not easily offended unless it’s someone like Foxfan who I don’t care for. Besides, it would be boring if everyone agreed all the time.

    My avatar is Monty Python’s parrot clip.

  7. vt_photo said

    Hey, this has little to do with anything here, but you know what I hate? The term “African American.” Aren’t we all African-Americans? Unless you’re Gregg and believe that humans were created from dust six thousand years ago, then you know that we’re all decended from a central African female who lived about 150,000 years ago. Calling anyone in the western hemisphere African American is about as specific as calling them human.

    Anyway, I wish we’d follow the words of the great philosopher Rodney King and “…all just get along.”

  8. hibbityjibbity said

    If I am not mistaken I think I read something like that once in a book by Kurt V, switters.

    Reparations are an incredibly ignorant way to handle this type of thing. Education, and creating economic opportunities are they way out. I work with a woman who grew up in compton, yeah the one in LA she is a black woman, she worked her way out of it, has a nice job and a nice place to live etc etc. The problem is a base set of healthy family values that can be passed down as well as stability, I mean if you think about it there are still many many people in this country that remember a time all to well that they could not even vote, and I am not just talking about blacks.

    Education and fostering and nurturing a community and providing a place where they (meaning anyone) can grow and explore and become a part of the american dream is what we need. Although I have met a great many people that are whatever you want to call them black/asian/hispanic, I sadly am colorblind in real life and was raised to believe this an asshole is an asshole, otherwise we are all people and that is what I see.

    I watch 1st hand as people out here get out of the “ghetto” which I find so hilarious that we use that term due to it’s origins as jewish enclaves in NY, but I digress, I have met people that are wealthy and have climbed out of compton, and have gone back to build centers and help update schools, and the community does not support it, and lets crime and gangs take over.

    Some people say they can not fight against that stuff, but I was part of a take back your block initiative in Buffalo NY, and over the course of 2 years we took back 8 city blocks, made them safe neighborhoods simply by showing them that government cared, that businesses cared, and most of all let them all meet each other and show them that they all cared and helped them to care about each other. Before I moved to LA it was safe to walk down those streets at night, and the kids were doing better in school, and the businesses in that area where thriving, all because they worked together, with the help of bigger businesses giving back, as well as local government. I know it is a bit idealistic, but the battle of slavery and injustice went on for too long and nothing will be fixed by a lump sum payment, I mean who can even put a price on that, I certainly can not, I bet some of my economist friends have a formula though.

    I do my part, I speak in schools and am involved in lots of volunteer efforts to support “under privledged youth, the only way I can think to break the cycle is through education and support, but not jut fiscal support.

    We are all part of the human race, not very different at all from each other, sometimes I think we like to make up differences just to argue.

  9. switters said

    Hey HJ, nice to have you on board. Good post – you make a lot of sense.

    BTW, I’m a big Vonnegut fan, but I’m not sure what you’re referring to you when you say “I think I read something like that once in a book by Kurt V.” I mean, I wrote a lot of stuff up there.

  10. dakeeper said

    Yes, those initiatives are good, and would go much further than another freebie from Uncle Sam.

    The main point of my rant was I am sick of shit-stirrers like Les Payne who refuse to move forward.

  11. hibbityjibbity said

    The people of mars enslaving man part, I wish my head could remember which peice it was, but I have read so much in my short life, that things mix together sometimes so I would have to go back and look. If I recall correctly though they enslave humans, and then make them go back and fight earth. Or I could be totally wrong and it was by another author, I think the main character had a brother or something , they went to venus and were in caverns, I remember something about the barracks on mars, his wife and son that he was made to forget, but remembered.

    I have not read Les Payne as I live in LA and hell, I do not even read the LA times, I would not even wipe my ass with it. I depend on NPR and BBC for the news.

  12. switters said

    I totally know what you mean about getting stories mixed together – I do it all the time. Vonnegut’s novel “Sirens of Titan” includes a war with Mars, but I don’t think (I read it a while ago so I can’t be sure) that its the story you’re thinking of. Sounds like you’ve got a little Ray Bradbury mixed in with some cheesy sci-fi comic books there. 🙂

  13. dakeeper said

    The standard for Mars storytelling has to be ‘Total Recall’. Bar none guys. Please.

    I also want to say that I feel liberated now that I have come out of the closet and am posting with full frontal nudity on sayville.com.

  14. dakeeper said

    ‘Total Recall’ is the definitive source of reference on Mars. Bar none.

    I also want to say how liberated I feel now that I have come out of the closet and am posting with full frontal nudity on sayville.com.

  15. dakeeper said

    Guys please, look at today’s Les Payne article. The guy is f’ing crazy. It just shows how bigoted and irrational this guy is. Bi-racial peoples do not qualify for a cash award for slavery and blacks like Tiger Woods, Clarene thomas, etc are ‘overachievers’. Now that folks, sums up this guys point of view, which is that a memeber of his own race advances himself and prospers, he has ‘overachieved’. Unreal.

    Slavery a crime? What about every other aforementioned injustice done by man towards his fellow man? STFU already you nappy headed dickhead!!!!

    Please someone tell me I’m not alone in my views towards this militant with a key board.

  16. vt_photo said

    It is crazy nonsense, but I have to tell you that from a publishing perspective, the guy is gold. Newspapers, magazines, radio stations and TV networks love guys like him who stir the pot and aren’t afraid to take a stance on a controversial issue. As a hardcore first amendment proponent myself, I see value in what Oliver Wendell Holmes called the marketplace of free ideas. It’s important to hear out all voices on any given issue, even if it is as repugnant as calling successful blacks “overachievers.”

  17. dakeeper said

    Ok, VT, that’s fine, but then what about Don Imus? He had been doing that stuff for years and then gets crucified for one comment that he apologized for. Meanwhile this guy Payne can carefully word his bigotry and it’s ‘gold’? I’m sorry, but I’m sick and tired of these double standards.

    You’re right, I want to hear ALL the voices, not just the ones the black activists want us to hear.

  18. vtphoto said

    Yeah, the Imus thing is CBS getting cold feet. I can guarantee that if some people got together and got Macy’s, PC Richards and few other key advertisers to threaten a boycott over Payne, you’d never hear from him again.

    Oh, and here’s a cool video for you: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTyw6cq86kY

  19. dakeeper said

    Good one…..

  20. online free

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