Well, what is the latest bright idea in California and the entire United States? REPARATIONS.
That’s right. Reparations to people who were never slaves paid by people who never owned slaves and in fact may have just arrived in the United States a few years ago. The entire reparations boondoggle survives because so many people have no knowledge of historical facts. Time for a history lesson compiled from the writings of Thomas Sowell.
Because history is not being taught many people do not know that slavery has always existed in the world. Unless you were a slave, most people did not think there was anything wrong with slavery. People were slaves because they were available. People of every race have been slaves. White people are still being bought and sold today, decades after black Americans in the United States were freed.
Slavery and its moral issue only became an issue in the 18th century. However, it was only an issue in Western civilization. The leaders of the American Revolution were very concerned about the moral issues regarding slavery as evidenced in their private correspondence. However, they did not have a solution as to what to do with millions of people of another race and from another part of the world. Freeing slaves, beyond losing the cost of their purchase, was not letting slaves free who could then go down the street to the local Home Depot and get a job. Unfortunately, the issue of freedom for slaves was solved by a brutal Civil War. There were 620,000 casualties in the Civil War. There was one life lost for every six people freed. 3.9 million people were freed.
While slavery was abolished in the western world in the 19th century it is estimated that there are 50 million people living in slavery today. Modern slavery is made up of 27.6 million people in forced labor and 22 million in forced marriages.
Women and children accounted for more than half of all those living in modern slavery in 2021.
Migrant workers are more than three times more likely to be in forced labor than non-migrant workers.
Countries with the highest prevalence of modern slavery are North Korea, Eritrea, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Tajikistan, the United Arab Emirates, Russia, Afghanistan and Kuwait.
These countries share some political, social and economic characteristics including limited protections for civil liberties and human rights.
Historian Daniel J. Boorstin pointed out the following regarding the mass transportation of Africans in bondage to the Western Hemisphere. “Now for the first time in Western history, the status of slave coincided with a difference of race.”
For centuries, Europeans had enslaved other Europeans, Asians had enslaved other Asians and Africans had enslaved other Africans. Only in modern times has there been the wealth and technology to organize and then transport thousands of people, either as slaves or immigrants across an ocean. Let us also remember that the American slave ships could never have captured the number of Africans that they did unless they had the assistance of other Africans who could go to the interior of Africa and capture the numbers of people who were then transported to other countries as slaves. One of those countries was Brazil which imported more slaves than the United States.
Slavery may have been accepted throughout the world, but it was never going to get universal acceptance in the United States which was founded on the principle of freedom. A number of Northern states banned slavery in the years immediately after independence. It is interesting that tens of thousands of slaves were voluntarily set free after America won the battle over freedom from England.
Many Southern slave holders did not want to give up their slaves and needed a defense for the institution of slavery. Racism became a justification for slavery.
The meaning of racism is a belief that race is a fundamental determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race. Racism is also the process by which systems and policies, actions and attitudes create inequitable opportunities and outcomes for people based on race. Unfortunately, racist beliefs still exist.
The current push by some politicians and some community leaders for reparations indicates that the history of slavery is not understood. Of course, if you are trying to get a lot of money from other people, the last thing you are interested in is accurate history.
Let’s look at the concept of reparations. Approximately 400,000 black people were brought to the United States as slaves. It is incorrect to assume that these people would have stayed in Africa. The intra-African slave trade exceeded the North American market by a great deal. The slaves who came to America would have been sold in the Caribbean, Latin America and the Middle East. Black American descendants of slaves are better off in the United States. The largest number of black people landed in Brazil that had a staggering high death rate. In the Middle East the men were castrated and babies born to black slaves were killed at birth. This explains the very small number of black people in the Middle East although more slaves were imported than in the Americas.
Determining who would get reparations easily raises a multitude of issues regarding who would get the reparations, who would pay them, how much and where the money would come from. The issue of reparations is just another way for politicians to pander to certain groups of the population and to get their support.
Finally, it is important to reiterate for those who forgot and for those who never knew, that the Republican Party was founded in 1858 for the specific purpose of abolishing slavery in the United States. It was Abraham Lincoln, the first Republican President, who led the country to win the Civil War so that all slaves in the United States were freed.