To the surprise of no one, Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA), Sens. Kamala Harris (D-CA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), ex-Rep. Robert Francis O’Rourke (D-TX), and ex-HUD Secretary Julián Castro have all called for reparation, possibly opening the door to the biggest financial payout in the history of mankind.
But here’s a few of points to consider; if and when the US federal government should approve reparations only to the American citizens descendants of African slaves;
What of the Africa kings and tribal chiefs who kidnapped or took as prisoners of war their own people? After all, the British, Dutch, French, Spanish and Portuguese didn’t send massive armies to Equatorial West Africa with the express directive of capturing slaves for export.
After all, African slavery had been around just as long as European slavery. The only thing different to the African sellers and the European buyers was the skin color of their opposite party.
As cited by Canadian history professor Paul E. Lovejoy’s Transformations in Slavery;
Between 1650 and 1900, 10.24 million enslaved Africans arrived in the Americas from the following regions in the following proportions:
- Senegambia (Senegal and the Gambia): 4.8%
- Upper Guinea (Guinea-Bissau, Guinea and Sierra Leone): 4.1%
- Windward Coast (Liberia and Ivory Coast): 1.8%
- Gold Coast (Ghana and east of Ivory Coast): 10.4%
- Bight of Benin (Togo, Benin and Nigeria west of the Niger Delta): 20.2%
- Bight of Biafra (Nigeria east of the Niger Delta, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon): 14.6%
- West Central Africa (Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo and Angola): 39.4%
- Southeastern Africa (Mozambique and Madagascar): 4.7%
Keep in mind that the 10.24 million cited by Lovejoy reflects the total number of African slaves sent to North America, South America and the Caribbean Basin.
The number of those sent to the 13 original colonies, and eventually to become the United States, was 400,000. When the Thirteen Amendment was ratified, the total number of US slaves of Sub-Saharan African lineage was 3.9 million.
But what of the Africans and Europeans who were complicit in the slave trade? If American citizens of non-Sub-Saharan African lineage are forced to pay reparations to anyone who can trace even the slimmest of their lineage to an African slave, then doesn’t common sense demand that we freeze US assets of the likes of the Nigerians and the Dutch to also pay for the sins of persons who died couple of centuries ago?
Now we come to the question of when and were does the reparations spigot get turned off?
Does reparations end with this generation of US citizens of Sub-Saharan African lineage? Will every single black child ever born in the United States be cut a check at the moment of birth? Do we keep this going for the next 5 years, 10, 20, 50, 100 years?
Earlier mentioned was the Thirteen Amendment. While many correctly cite the thirteenth as ending slavery, they are actually only partially correct;
Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
Anyone else notice the words “involuntary servitude”?
Sometimes referred to as “bond slaves”, the first slaves in British North America were in reality, destitute Irishmen, Englishmen, Scotsmen and Welshmen seeking passage to the New World.
It also wasn’t all that rare for indentured servants to include in their ranks kidnapped street orphans, prostitutes and petty thieves.
On its face, indentured servitude doesn’t really seem like all that bad of a deal. Usually with a promise 3 to 7 years of your labor for a ticket to America and sometimes the opportunity to apprentice at a valuable middle class trade was quite a selling point to more than a few of those not exactly welcome in Great Britain and Ireland.
Many who bonded themselves to farm work were also given the promise of free land. If I were a starving Dubliner or Glaswegian, I may have jumped all over this type of agreement.
The only problem is this… not a whole helluva lot of bond slaves actually lived long enough to fulfill their end of the bargain.
Case in point, as reported by The American Thinker; (Emphasis mine)
Interestingly, no American market existed for African slaves until late in the 17th century. Until then, black slave traders typically took their cargo to Bermuda. England’s poor were the colonies’ preferred source of slave labor, even though Europeans were more likely than Africans to die an early death in the fields. Slave owners had a greater interest in keeping African slaves alive because they represented a more significant investment. Black slaves received better treatment than Europeans on plantations, as they were viewed as valuable, lifelong property rather than indentured servants with a specific term of service.
These [17th century] indentured servants represented the next wave of laborers. They were promised land after a period of servitude, but most worked unpaid for up to15 years with few ever owning any land. Mortality rates were high. Of the 1,200 who arrived in 1619, more than two thirds perished in the first year from disease, working to death, or Indian raid killings. In Maryland, out of 5,000 indentured servants who entered the colony between 1670 and 1680, 1,250 died in bondage, 1,300 gained their right to freedom, and only 241 ever became landowners.
Another sad statistic regarding the children shipped off to the Colonies, “50% of them were dead within a year after being sold to farmers to work the fields.”
So why bring up indentured servitude in regards to reparations? Simple. Where and when does reparations finally come to an end?
There really is no reason why the reparations gravy train has to stop with black Africans. After all, Germans were sold and died while bond slaves. So were Slovaks, Italians, Swedes, Poles, the list goes on.
Things were little better for Orientals. Those from Japan, China and Korea were little better than chattel when they started arriving in the 19th century. Much like the African slaves before them, East Asians were overwhelmingly sold by their own people.
I have a novel idea; it may be a more fruitful solution for everyone concerned if we simply stopped all this idiotic reparations talk, and instead focused on a better future instead of living our lives as perpetual victims.