I watched the hearing of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on The Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, and to say I was disappointed at the lack of civility of the Democrats and the audience is an understatement. This hearing is a glaring example of what is wrong in this country.
We don’t have to agree with someone’s opinion, but we should respect their right to express it. I have been thinking about the issue of reparations from the moment it was raised by the junior senator and former mayor of Newark, New Jersey: Cory Booker. I have some real issues, as do others about the legality of reparation payments themselves by the federal government. The only practical way to get such money for reparation payments is through tax revenue. If such an issue arose, I don’t believe that the government could only tax white people and use this money to only pay descendants of American slaves.
If the Congress, at some point in time should pass a reparation bill that a future president might sign, then most likely some white people would file a suit. This would eventually go to the Supreme Court to be decided as to whether it is constitutional to tax one race and not the other.
Unless the make up of the court were radically to change, I find it hard to believe that the court would decide in favor of such a tax.
If the government were going to pay reparations for descendants of black slaves (for the purposes of this commentary, to save words I will use the term black rather than African-American), then how could it prove that the funds would only go to true bloodline descendants of slaves. How do black people today prove they really are descendants of slaves? The International Society of Genetic Genealogy projects that a generation is between 28 and 30 years, as that is the time it takes one generation to be born, grow, and develop into the next generation.
As one generation marries, it may not carry the race tradition. There is no doubt that white slave holders and their children raped or otherwise had sexual relations with black women; the result a dilution of the purity of both black and white offspring. Over the 154 years since the end of the American Civil War, there have been about five generations to dilute, but my guess is the dilution goes back much further than 1865.
Senator Elizabeth Warren proclaimed that she identified as a Native American and she went on to prove my point. She believed that her purported ancestry of Native American had been diluted to a level of 1/1024% over 10 to 13 generations. Let us use the Society formula of 28 to 30 years for a generation. That would mean that her pure Native America ancestry occurred between 1629 and 1739.
Slavery in America started in 1619 when a Dutch ship brought 20 African slaves ashore to the British settlement at Jamestown, Virginia. Thus, slavery started 400 years ago, and more than 13 generations have passed since that time. However, from 1619 to 1865, that is a little more than 8 generations. If Elizabeth Warren dropped her Native American percentage from 100% to 1/1024%, how diluted has the bloodline of the original black slave become? If a free black that was never a slave marries a black slave woman, has the slave bloodline been diluted?
As black men and women marry people of other races, does that further dilute the black slave in them? As blacks in modern times come to America and marry, does that further dilute the bloodline? Pew Research reports that black immigrants to the United States have increased 5 fold since 1980, and as of 2016, 4.8 million blacks have entered the United States who were not slaves in earlier times.
The government will have to determine who should qualify for a reparation payment, if one
comes, and here is a Perkins Twist: is it possible, regardless of race, that people that have no known slave ancestry can identify with being a black slave and qualify for compensation?
One last thought on this issue: during the Civil War, there were over 600,000 Northern casualties who died for the cause of freedom. Should the descendants of those who died be compensated? If the country is not divided enough on this issue, would such a claim divide us further? Perhaps that is what the Democrats want.