Reparations: Fool’s Gold
I have never supported reparations for slavery. While I believe African Americans were historically discriminated against, some of us have made peace and moved on. While there was a wrong committed, the problem is the people advocating for reparations are mostly Black professionals that are doing better economically than most whites. While black poverty is America’s albatross, reparations suggest Black people are incapable of bettering their circumstances without the help of whites.
When it comes to injustice and discrimination, I have always believed that had African Americans followed the lead of Jackie Robinson, maybe race relations would be different in America. When Jackie Robinson became the first Black ballplayer in Major League Baseball, he didn’t ask for special treatment — he decided to let his performance speak for him.
When Robinson first came to the Brooklyn Dodgers, white people didn’t want him playing on his team. Fans booed and heckled him and opposing coaches such as Philadelphia Phillies manager Ben Chapman threw black cats on the field to intimidate him. Pretty soon the fans learned Robinson was playing a brand of baseball never seen before — he was stealing home plate, making acrobatic catches and winning games. Soon the same people that said they didn’t want to be his teammate saw a man of color help them take on their biggest rival, the New York Yankees, when the Dodgers won the pennant in 1955.
This attitude of not wanting preferential treatment in favor of knowing where one stands extends beyond baseball. African Americans in the entertainment industry were historically discriminated against but instead of complaining about racism, they took what opportunities were available. An argument could be made the African Americans who played the roles of Mammy, Bojangles and Stepin Fetchit opened the door for Sammy Davis Jr, who opened the door to Nat King Cole, who paved the way for Sidney Poitier and Denzel Washington.
Throughout history there has been a segment of Black elites handpicked by the white establishment to be spokespeople for the Black race. I don’t know where this compensatory mindset comes from and who appointed people such as Kamala Harris and Cory Booker to speak for me. I don’t want their reparations. Freedom is our god given birthright — it is not negotiable. I have no interested in being cared for or ruled under any price.
Racism didn’t stop blacks from being Tuskegee Airmen or from becoming doctors, lawyers, business owners and professionals. When African Americans ran into unscrupulous white owners that robbed and exploited them, Berry Gordy came up with Motown. There was Stax records, and James Brown formed his own production company while Don Cornelius came up with Soul Train. Where did this mindset come from that Blacks are incapable of doing things for themselves?
Reparations would not not help. It would confirm that the worst stereotypes about African Americans — that we as a race are inferior and unable to survive unless we are helped.