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Real Reasons Reparations are Wrong...
The drama of
the week consists not in the politics of tax cuts in
Washington but rather in the dynamics of raw racial
power on the nation's college campuses.
Horowitz, a neo-conservative foe of black racism,
has been trying to publish ads
against reparations for slavery in college newspapers.
Some won't publish the ads at all, while
others, when they do publish them, promptly get clobbered
by black mobs for their own "racism" or
for publishing them before the mobs show up at the
editors' dorm rooms.
The crisis has caused many tongues to start
a surprising number of the tongues have wiggled in
Mr. Horowitz' defense.
Columnists in The
Post, the San
Francisco Chronicle and The Wall Street Journal,
among other progressive places, have expressed
support for Mr. Horowitz' deathless right to publish
his ads, the foolishness of newspapers apologizing
for publishing them, the iniquity of mobbing
newspapers, and the legitimacy of being opposed to
definite tip of the hat to such friends of liberty,
as well as to Mr. Horowitz for coming up with the
idea for ads against reparations in the first place. But there is more to be said about the episode than that.
Horowitz' ad is innocuous enough, offering "10
Reasons why reparations for blacks is a bad idea
for blacks--and racist too."
The reasons include such insights as that
"only a tiny minority of white Americans ever
owned slaves, and others gave their lives to free
them," and "America today is a
multi-ethnic nation and most Americans have no
connection (direct or indirect) to slavery."
All that is true, but neither--nor any of
the other eight--really grapples with the central
issue behind reparations.
Moreover, the whole approach of Mr. Horowitz
and his ads is such as to invite precisely the very
denunciations and attacks they received.
The central issue of reparations is not whether reparations are justly due to blacks or justly owed by whites. The central issue is one of racial power--as it is with most other racial conflicts today: over the Confederate flag, affirmative action, racial profiling and indeed the most recent quibble about the right of college newspapers to publish Mr. Horowitz' ads at all. The central issue is that one race (blacks) seeks to assert power over another (whites). In the black view, what is good for black power is good; what thwarts or threatens it--including liberal values like free speech--is bad. Seen in this context, Mr. Horowitz' ad not only misses the point but in one case even gets it wrong.
Reason 7 is that "The reparations claim is one
more attempt to turn African Americans into victims.
It sends a damaging message to the
No, it doesn't, really.
The reparations claim, so far from turning blacks into victims, would turn them into masters. Reparations, if actually enacted into law, would, first, elevate black victimology, the black myth of racial injustice, into the dominant myth of American society. Second, as a practical matter, reparations would effectively redistribute wealth from one race to another in a colossal revolutionary act of racial collectivism. If the black racial myth becomes dominant and white wealth is redistributed to blacks, then it is absurd to say that blacks are being turned into victims. Their "victimhood" is merely white enslavement.
Horowitz' ad nowhere appears to grasp that the
reparations issue is one of simple racial power, and
in claiming that reparations are "a bad idea
for blacks," it is out to sea.
But, as a neo-conservative, Mr. Horowitz is
unable to offer much else in the way of objections. Despite his well-known and authentic disgust at black racism,
he is also a disciple of Martin Luther King racial
he wrote in his recent book "Hating
Whitey," an attack on black bigotry,
his own beliefs "are the same views once
advanced by the civil rights movement [Martin
Luther] King led."
It is precisely those views
that invite the kind of attacks he and his ads have
racial liberal Mr. Horowitz invokes values like
tolerance, freedom of expression, equality and
peaceful discussion in the face of an enemy that has
no more use for those ideas than whistling Dixie.
That enemy is the racial consciousness and
solidarity that the progressive "views once
advanced by the civil rights movement" deny
exists or insist shouldn't exist.
But the brute fact of our new century is that
they do exist, at least among non-whites.
Until the foes of black racism understand
that its hunger for power can be effectively
challenged only by a countervailing racial power,
don't expect Mr. Horowitz' tepid reasons against
reparations to have much real impact.
Samuel Francis is a nationally syndicated columnist.
COPYRIGHT 2001 CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.
March 13, 2001