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On the way to the airport the other day, I heard a radio sermon, given by one of those guys that preaches a mile a minute - the kind where you want to scream, "for goshsakes, take a breath, man!" In his discourse on the errors of the Hebrews - relegated to wander 40 years in the desert for their transgressions, he unwittingly cast light on an aspect of modern race relations. The Hebrews, he reasoned, were scheduled to wander 18 months, that they may cast off their slave mentality, learn to walk by faith rather than sight, and raise up leaders among their men. The Hebrews failed to learn their lessons, and The Lord, in retribution for their lack of faith, denied the Promised Land to the generation that came out of Egypt, instead bequeathing it to the generation to be born in the wilderness. Just as the Hebrews had to cast off their slave mentality - forged over 400+ years in captivity - so must our own former slave population have done the same to be considered good stewards of their newfound freedom.
Have the descendants of our former slaves cast off their slave mentality? To hear that reparations for past injustices demanded suggests that the answer is a resounding no, for to assume the mantle of one wronged by slavery is to assume the mantle of the slave himself, else how can reparations be owed to a freeman? Think of the generation born in the wilderness, and imagine them reversing course to come back to Pharaoh's throne for recompense. In order to be a beneficiary of Pharaoh's herein imagined largess would be to invite the possibility that the answer could be no, and, by de facto submission to Pharaoh's system, may include re-confinement to their former state. Certainly twenty-first century America, corrupt as it is, is in no way capable of reinstituting slavery [in spite of the fact that the 13th Amendment is worded so that it is still technically legal in certain circumstances,] but the parallel of submission to the old system for recognition of the perceived wrongs still stands. Logic demands that for reparations to be paid to slaves, there must be slaves - four or five intervening generations, notwithstanding.
We must then ask ourselves if reparations are a manifestation of justice that must be endured by society. The essence of slavery being the transfer of the fruits of labour from one class of people to another, reparations would consist of the transfer of the fruits of white labour to idle black hands [the reparations being slavery as well, even if only for a one-time event.] Were reparations to have occurred in the late 1860's, the case would have been much stronger in their favour [despite the inevitable discussions over the value of food, clothing, and shelter for the lifetime of each slave.]
In all the discussions of reparations, the effect on white America is often ignored. We only hear one side of the story: blacks are owed. The flip side of it is that reparations are a form of punishment, and in this case, the payers of reparations will be punished for something they did not do. In fact, the original slave owners were well within the laws of the land at the time they owned their slaves. The 13th Amendment had an effective date beyond which it became law, and at that point, even General Grant had to finally let his slaves go.
Reparations to blacks makes no sense when looked at in any logical manner, and will be destructive to blacks as a whole. For a primer on what reparations can do to an ethnic group, pay a visit to most any Indian reservation. On 'Indian Payday' [first of the month] look for the dirt road with discarded beer cans along the side - follow the trail and it'll lead you right there [by the 7th or so, they come back around to pick up the cans to cash in at the recycling center.] Crass description? No...I used to live next to it - it's just an observation. Today's blacks have a decision to make: learn to walk by faith and raise up true leaders during their journey in the wilderness, or continue to wallow in their absurd slave mentality, which can bring only sorrow to their generation, and those yet to come.
Your comments and questions are encouraged. Email Lewis J. Goldberg