Thursday, October 11, 2018

A black conservative journalist responds to David Horowitz's article, "Ten Reasons Why Reparations for Slavery is a Bad Idea and Racist Too".

In 2001, the Baltimore Times and former Sun columnist Gregory Kane offered a fair and generous critique of David Horowitz's article, "Ten Reasons Why Reparations for Slavery is a Bad Idea and Racist Too". While conceding that Horowitz had some points, he nevertheless challenges some of his core claims.

Below are his responses to a few of those claims.

Gregory Phillip Kane (c. 1951 – February 18, 2014) was a black conservative American journalist, professor and political and social commentator. In 1997, Kane was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in Explanatory Journalism for a three-part series about slavery in Sudan.

Claim - (1) Reparations to African-Americans have been paid. Since the passage of the Civil Rights Acts and the advent of the Great Society in 1965, trillions of dollars in transfer payments have been made to African-Americans in the form of welfare benefits and racial preferences (in contracts, job placements and educational admissions) - all under the rationale of redressing historical racial grievances.
It is here that Horowitz left himself open to the charge that his ad was racist. He's guilty of muddling a bit of history as well. Welfare payments didn't start with the Great Society in 1965. They started during the administration of President Franklin Roosevelt as the Aid to Families with Dependent Children program. And it isn't only blacks who receive welfare payments. Plenty of whites do. To call them "reparations" for blacks is just downright silly, and preferential jobs and admissions for blacks are no more reparations than similar preferences given to veterans.

Claim - (2)
What about the debt blacks owe to America? Slavery existed for thousands of years before the Atlantic slave trade, and in all societies. But in the thousand years of slavery's existence, there was never an anti-slavery movement until white Anglo-Saxon Christians created one.
More muddled history from Horowitz. The American anti-slavery movement started on these shores when the first African started the first slave revolt, and the first Maroon bolted and hit the bushes rather than be held in bondage. Horowitz goes on to say in this passage that Abraham Lincoln "gave his life to sign the Emancipation Proclamation." That's a strong argument that he should have left his ninth point off the list completely.

Claim - (3) The reparations claim is a separatist idea that sets African-Americans against the nation that gave them freedom.

Horowitz needs to read Lincoln in his Sept. 12, 1864, letter to Isaac Schermerhorn of New York. Lincoln wrote that without the help of the blacks who served the Union as soldiers, sailors, laborers, spies and scouts - close to 200,000 people in all - the North would never have won the war. Blacks won their freedom from a reluctant nation and president. It sure as hell wasn't given to us. You should expect such lapses from Horowitz. It's the former leftist in him. But he does have a right to state his views. What is not a right is breaking into a campus news office and stealing copies of papers with Horowitz's ad in it, as students did at Brown University. I'll take Horowitz and his ad, faults and all, over that group any day.