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Who said, "We don't need reparations. We need restraint"?

Back in 2003 the idea of Black reparations was considered so ridiculous that Chappelle lampooned the idea on his show. Hilarious. Apparently, the Politcos in Calif and NY don't see the humor in it today.

Fortunately, I have a sense of humor.

Reparations for Slavery? California’s Bad Idea Catches On

New York lawmakers vote to study the idea, which can only harm blacks and worsen race relations.

Jason L. Riley, WSJ

June 13, 2023 7:22 pm ET

Sean Patrick Thomas, Eve, Ice Cube, and Cedric The Entertainer in a publicity portrait for the film 'Barbershop,' in 2002.

“We don’t need reparations. We need restraint. Don’t go out and buy a Range Rover when you livin’ with your momma. And pay your momma some rent.”

Those lines come from Ricky, a character in the hit 2002 comedy “Barbershop.” The movie has a nearly all-black cast and is set mostly in a clip joint on the South Side of Chicago, where Ricky and his fellow barbers engage in free-wheeling nonstop banter with customers. Ricky was responding to a small-time crook who had said that ancestral slavery “ruined my whole life” and to another customer who suggested that black people demand reparations from the government.

Another barber, an old-timer named Eddie, sides with Ricky. “We’ve had welfare and affirmative action. Is that not reparations?” When another customer says that he thinks each black American is entitled to at least $100,000, Eddie responds, “What do you think that’s gonna do? That ain’t gonna do nothing but make Cadillac the No. 1 dealership in the country.”

Twenty-one years ago, as I watched the movie in a Brooklyn theater full of other black people, these exchanges brought howls of laughter from the audience. What also struck me was that a couple of minutes of film dialogue had produced a more honest conversation about racial preferences than book-length treatments of the subject from some of the nation’s most celebrated black intellectuals.

More than 20 years later, we’re still debating the topic. Last week New York voted to follow California down the slavery-reparations rabbit hole. Nutty ideas that originate in the Golden State often spread to other parts of the country over time, so the development isn’t too surprising, and more states are sure to follow. But it is another indication that the progressive left isn’t interested in getting past race, and that social justice in practice amounts to little more than a power grab.

New York state lawmakers concluded the legislative session on Thursday by creating a commission to study the lingering effects of slavery. California set up a reparations task force in 2020, and last month the state Legislature voted to make direct cash payments to black descendants of slaves that could amount to $1.2 million per person. Neither Kathy Hochul nor Gavin Newsom, the Democratic governors of New York and California, respectively, has committed to signing off on this nonsense, yet it’s notable that proponents have moved the ball this far.

California was never a slave state, and New York outlawed slavery in 1827, but the absurdities of these proposals don’t end there. Slavery was an atrocity, but all the slaves and all the slaveholders are long gone. Furthermore, the vast majority of whites living in the antebellum period, even in the South, never owned slaves. Most white Americans alive today are descendants of people who came to the U.S. after the Civil War. Proponents of reparations want people who aren’t even descendants of slaveowners in the U.S. to compensate black people who were never slaves.

Progressives insist that there is a direct link between the past mistreatment of blacks and black outcomes today, but that claim is undermined by the experience of other groups. Chinese- and Japanese-Americans were also mistreated in the U.S. They were lynched, placed in internment camps, forced to attend segregated schools and denied property rights. Yet today both Asian groups outperform white Americans academically and economically and have done so for decades. Conversely, according to the most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics report, median black weekly earnings are slightly higher than those of Hispanics, yet no one would argue that Hispanics have experienced more discrimination in the U.S. than blacks.

Those who want to blame the legacy of slavery for outcomes today are overlooking the legacy of the welfare state, which grew dramatically beginning in the late 1960s. The Great Society programs implemented under President Lyndon B. Johnson subsidized counterproductive behavior that took a huge toll on the black family. Subsequently, many of the positive trends among blacks in the first two-thirds of the 20th century—from declining crime rates to educational and economic gains that were narrowing the gap with whites—either stalled or reversed course.

Reparations can’t solve these problems, as Ricky and Eddie pointed out, because they are mainly cultural deficiencies. Another government-imposed wealth-redistribution scheme won’t do the trick, but it will almost certainly make race relations worse and encourage blacks to continue seeing themselves primarily as victims who have no control over their lives.

Compensating blacks today for the suffering of their ancestors wouldn’t be just. It would be corrupt. “When you trade on the past victimization of your own people, you trade honor for dollars,” Shelby Steele writes. “And this trading is only uglier when you are a mere descendant of those who suffered but nevertheless prevailed.”

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