Juneteenth and the Deceptive Hustle

June 19, 1865 was the day that slavery came to an end in Texas and generally marks the end of the abominable practice in the Confederate States. While President Lincoln may have emancipated the slaves on January 1, 1863, a bloody civil war would have to be fought for another two and a half years for black people to gain their freedom.

The black slaves had their lives, property, work product and dignity stolen from them, and their descendants came to the U.S. Congress on June 19, 2019 to ask for reparations from the United States. It is a claim that is appropriate and just. History is clear about the crime and consideration must be given.

Actor Danny Glover, right, and author Ta-Nehisi Coates, left, testify about reparation for the descendants of slaves during a hearing before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, June 19, 2019. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Various speakers on different platforms argued that the period of injustice continued well past 1865, as laws remained which kept black people from obtaining citizenship, the right to vote, to receive a proper education and ability to work freely, and as such, the reparations must cover this time frame as well. There is some truth to these arguments although not as clear cut as the situation regarding slavery. Should every child who ever received a bad education (or their descendants) be allowed to sue the government? Are all descendants of women who also didn’t have the right to vote entitled to compensation?

The recitations of wrongdoings kept coming, and the arguments became even more tenuous.

Talking heads with lofty titles argued that slavery exists today in the form of the mass incarceration and home foreclosures among black people, as well as the income gap and wealth gap between black people and white people. They argue that these modern day forms of slavery and injustice which must also be addressed through similar mechanisms of reparations.

This is a dangerous and slippery slope of blending real and perceived rights.

Prison reform is an important issue worth reviewing. Whether the government should forgive and wipe clean the arrest records for minor crimes must be discussed, and there is seemingly no question that such matter has impacted the black community disproportionately. But the laws were made for all Americans to benefit all Americans. There was no malice targeting the entire black community.

Home foreclosures was a matter of individuals, of all backgrounds, not paying their mortgages to financial institutions. These were transactions between homeowners and banks, not governmental laws prejudicing a segment of society. U.S. taxpayers should not provide any compensation to any single segment of the population because of personal financial matters. To fold this unfortunate situation into the discussion of slavery is absurd.

Lastly, the inequality of outcomes regarding income and wealth are byproducts of thousands of variables, including education, location, vocation and marital status. An equality of outcome is not a right, regardless of how many times the alt-left demands. If there are issues regarding the causes of income or wealth inequality based on race, then those are the only items which should be reviewed, and such consideration in no way means that there must be cash compensation offered to the black community. For example, imagine the black community sues the U.S. government in the future because of the disproportionate number of abortions which black women have, thereby reducing the black population and proportionate power. That’s an outcome which results from the choices made by black people, not one mandated by the government.

Reparations for the U.S. government’s crime of slavery is a worthwhile point to consider but it has become entangled in the current commentary about income and wealth inequality. It is a deceptive hustle to broaden the discussion and fatten the greenback pie, but ultimately undermines the legitimacy of the Juneteenth discussions.


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