Not So Fast, UN: The US Owes No 'Reparations' to Blacks

A September 2016 United Nations panel in Geneva decided the U.S. owed blacks reparations for a history of ‘racial terror.’

Ishaan Tharoor of the Washington Post notes:

In particular, the legacy of colonial history, enslavement, racial subordination and segregation, racial terrorism and racial inequality in the United States remains a serious challenge as there has been no real commitment to reparations and to truth and reconciliation for people of African descent.  Contemporary police killings and the trauma that they create are reminiscent of the past racial terror of lynching.

This UN action, of course, was followed by last December’s resolution against Israeli settlements.  Interestingly, in the same December time period, the UN could not bring itself to impose sanctions and an arms embargo on a South Sudan that is plunged into ethnic conflict in which thousands have already been killed.  It seems the newer, anti-colonial, anti-West members suffer from a case of moral schizophrenia.

A thumbnail review of the real history of slavery is in order here.  First, to be clear, there is no doubt many injustices and human tragedies have occurred throughout our history because of slavery; but that is true everywhere slavery has occurred.  For a real accounting, thousands of slavery-related transactions that open the curtains on the history of slaves and the slave trade have been recorded and are available on a CDROM prepared by Harvard University.  Two other worthy sources include Hugh Thomas’ The Slave Trade and Robin Blackburn’s The Making of New World Slavery.

Slavery became a worldwide phenomenon during the Middle Ages.  The modern slave trade began and expanded early in the era, but the practice existed in some form or other from time immemorial.  Under the Roman Empire, it was not a black-only phenomenon, but universal. Nevertheless, before the first millennium A.D., Middle Eastern Muslims were selling goods to African kingdoms.  Those kingdoms were paying for those goods with human capital -- their own people, black people.  Though Christians became involved in the slave trade somewhat later, Arab Muslim traders were probably first to hold blacks as slaves and as they ceded global dominion of the slave trade to Europeans later on. They also are estimated to have enslaved over a million European Christians in the “barbary states” of North Africa.

The 15th to the 18th centuries came and saw the Dutch and the Portuguese trading for and buying slaves from West Africa, notably from the Ashanti kingdom of present day Ghana.  These slaves were the battle booty of the Ashanti to be traded or sold for export to either African colonies or the Americas.  Warehoused in slave castles such as the El Mini Slave Castle (aka St. George’s Castle), among others, on the Ghanaian coast, they spent their last days in these human warehouses before going to who knows where or perhaps dying at sea.  Even in the refurbished El Mini castle, the despair was easily imagined in the shadowed, windowless rooms and coastal humidity as I walked through those dungeons a few years ago.

The Dutch were probably the first to import slaves to North America.  The buying and selling of sub-Saharan slaves and exporting them to the Americas is the source of the African-American slavery stereotype.  But it was not a racial, black-hate thing; it’s that all the people of the sub-Sahara were black people.

If 12,000,000 Africans were sold to the Europeans mostly before 1776, before we were a nation, and 17,000,000 were sold or traded to Arabs, the question might be asked of the even-handed UN panel: Why all this focus on the United States?  Our Founding Fathers grew up in a culture already embedded with slavery with a good many of them becoming slave owners, true; but they were also the leaders in beginning the abolition of the institution.  Of course, presently, it’s politically correct among the left and also very dishonest to blame white Europeans and the U.S. for slavery and racism when it had been a worldwide, multi-peopled phenomenon.  It’s also convenient to omit that it was those same Western nations including our Founders who became repulsed by it and worked to end it.  By the mid-1800s, the European nations had pretty much outlawed slavery and the U.S. was heading toward war over the issue.  What largely ended slavery in Africa was those very African kingdoms becoming colonies of the European countries that had decided to end the practice.  However, upon gaining independence through the 1960s and beyond, slavery often reappeared in these new African nations, some of whose tyrants would make a Western slave owner look like an old, friendly uncle.

A quick and rough overview accurately shows the Arabs to be among the original instigators while the Italians and the Portuguese developed the economics of it along with other Western European nations. All of it was facilitated by many different African kings.

Perhaps it’s not ironic, that with its Third World membership, anti-Western mental climate, labyrinthine bureaucracy, and Arabic instrumentation for actions against Israel, the UN is calling for these reparations to our blacks.  Though our racial history is undeniable, also undeniable is that most racial woes here were caused by the party of history blackout -- the Democrats.  Let’s get that history straight -- a history with few teaching it and fewer knowing it.  Somewhere it’s been said that one is a member of the Democratic Party by either decision, or deceit, meaning ignorance of their modus operandi.  The Democratic Party is irrevocably and inextricably tied to the racial attitudes, policy, organizations, violence and lynching in this nation’s past while those more sympathetic Republicans, and particularly white men, are often referred to by that resurrected, hit-term, racist, the ne plus ultra label of the shrill and vitriolic left.

While the UN resolution is not binding and will probably be ignored, maybe that sinking vortex of tax money -- three billion dollars in 2015, more than 185 other nations combined --  needs to review history, too.  Maybe the UN needs to be a little more generous with passing out the guilt instead of just blaming the U.S., the only nation to go to war with itself over slavery, losing 600,000 souls as a result.  Given that slavery was endemic to Africa and still lingers there, was abolished by and in white nations, maybe we should look at Ghana and the Congo, too.  Or maybe the Arabs.

Or, aside from all of those, maybe the Democratic Party should be responsible for those reparations if anybody should be.  They could account for it by helping to cut the UN’s funding.

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