The Red Guard Cartel – Democrats, the mainstream media, and leftist academia – has been successful at convincing millions of black Americans that they are victims and deserve reparations for their perceived disadvantages. For the last several years, this has been the goal for woke politicians like Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), who recently held a hearing to advance the idea that today’s generation needs to atone for the misdeeds of 200 years ago. This time, she is not targeting taxpayers in Biloxi, MS. Instead, Waters and her colleagues are pushing banks to “redress past wrongs.”
Maxine Waters Wants Banks to Atone
The House Financial Services Committee, with Maxine Waters at the helm, held a hearing on Dec. 7 called “The Role of Financial Institutions in the Horrors of Slavery and the Need for Atonement.” The objective behind this event was to advance the cause of forcing financial institutions to fund community development in black communities and financially support the education of the next several generations of black students. Overall, the best way for banks to atone for the past is to hand out money to black families, households, businesses, and communities.
One of the witnesses was William Darity, a professor of public policy at Duke University. He purported that the slave trade was a critical component to the growth of the American financial sector, adding that slavery is why today’s black families are behind white families when assessing net worth. In fact, according to Darity, the average white household net worth is $840,000 higher than black families because of slavery.
“The collective amount required to close the disparity for approximately 40 million black American descendants of persons enslaved in the United States will come to at least $14 trillion,” Darity stated in his written testimony. “This is a sum that cannot be met reasonably by private donors or other levels of government.”
Dr. Sarah Federman, an associate professor at the University of San Diego’s Kroc School of Peace Studies, was also a witness at the congressional hearing. She contended that banks have failed to address their role in the slave trade. While Federman and her colleagues are not seeking “criminal justice,” they are looking for “transition justice.”
“Most financial institutions that profited from slavery have not done this work,” she noted. “When legacy corporations continue to profit from their heritage brand and strength due to ill-gotten gains but do not participate reckoning work, they continue their complicity with the prior regime.”
Dania Francis, assistant professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts in Boston, also endorsed the proposal of studying efforts. For example, black farmers lost farmland north of $300 billion. Banks could eliminate wage disparities between black and white employees and determine if it is a worthwhile pursuit for Corporate America, she noted. Lily Roberts, the acting vice president of the Inclusive Economy Center for American Progress, is in favor of eradicating wage disparities between white and black workers as well as establishing other “programs to redress past wrongs.”
“Financial institutions are fully capable of learning their own history and understanding their own roles in past injustice,” she said. “Next, they must work to ensure that they counter contemporary wrongs and avoid the easier instinct to think of historical context as separate from current circumstances – and be held accountable in doing so by the federal government, by shareholders, and by customers.”
This comes days after the California government announced plans to determine how to hand out $223,200 apiece to descendants of slaves.
Does Anyone Need to Atone?
Since this would be the private-sector caving into the demands of Democrats, it would be a far superior option than mandating taxpayers fund these progressive (regressive?) causes. It is comparable to Harvard University announcing a $100 million fund to “redress” the entity’s ties to slavery. But here is the fundamental question: Does anyone need to atone for something that happened two centuries ago?
Indeed, there were many beneficiaries during this brutal period in world history, from landowners to factory owners. Even Africans benefited from what occurred in the United States, whether they were merchants or elite political figures. Unfortunately, enslavement was a common phenomenon in many societies worldwide, and it continues to be prevalent on the planet today. The critical point is that nobody is alive today from that tragic era, be it the bank executives or the slaves themselves. How could anyone justify a taxpayer or a company to atone for something they had no part in, especially if they are a first-generation US citizen?
Have black communities experienced poor outcomes? Of course. But it is vital to blame left-leaning policies that have inflicted tremendous harm on inner cities across the country. Perhaps reparations and atonement are clever mechanisms to mask how disastrous the Democrats and their progressive ideas have been for minorities, be it in Atlanta, Baltimore, or Chicago. Indeed, financial institutions could spend millions or billions of their own money on funding black areas of cities, but if it is based on compensating for moral transgressions of 200 years ago, then there might be other wronged families that would need comparable funding.
Reparations for Whom, and How?
The concept behind reparations is challenging to fathom because of the myriad of logistical and philosophical issues. Blacks owned blacks during the slave era, most people did not own slaves, and it is almost impossible for the government to know if claimants had ancestors who were slaves. The left routinely discusses fairness and equity, so why wouldn’t Democrats urge banks to fund efforts for the Japanese who were tossed in internment camps during the Second World War? Why wouldn’t the left urge financial institutions to support descendants of the Irish who lived and worked in dreadful conditions and were regularly discriminated against? Ultimately, every ethnicity, religion, and society has been the victim of horror and bloodshed. This has been the nature of humanity ever since fire and rock were discovered – and it will continue to be this way for the foreseeable future. Perhaps the best strategy is to ensure these odious practices, whether slavery or redlining, never happen again.
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