Pres. Biden comes out in favor of studying reparations for slavery

The idea of reparations for slavery was back in the news this week with a recent government hearing on the idea.

According to Breitbart, the White House has indicated that President Joe Biden does support a study of slavery reparations.  

“He’s supported a study of reparations,” Psaki told reporters on Wednesday. “I believe that’s what’s being discussed and studying the continued impacts of slavery, which is being discussed in this hearing on H.R. 40, and he continues to demonstrate his commitment to take comprehensive action to address this systemic racism that persists today. Having that study is a part of that.”

Psaki continued: “He’s signed an executive order on his first day which would begin to deliver on his commitment to having an across-government approach to addressing racial inequality and making sure equity is a part of his entire policy agenda. He would certainly support a study of reparations. He understands that we don’t need a study to take action right now on systemic racism, so he wants to take actions in his own government in the meantime.”

Background

As Psaki indicated, her comments came as the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties on Wednesday was holding a hearing to debate legislation for slavery reparations.

The legislation up for debate was H.R. 40, a measure first introduced in 1989 by former Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) and reintroduced this year by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX).

“We believe in determination, and we believe in overcoming the many bad balls that we have been thrown; we’ve caught them, and we’ve kept on going. That is not the point of H.R. 40,” Jackson Lee said while introducing the bill. “Now more than ever, the facts and circumstances facing our nation demonstrate the importance of H.R. 40 and the necessity of placing our nation on the path to reparative justice.”

Jackson Lee went on to argue that “the issue of slavery is one that did not end with a stroke of Abraham Lincoln’s pen and the Emancipation Proclamation.” Instead, she insisted that “as we look at the disparities in data” the “residuals” of slavery “are still very much with us.”

Opposing arguments

One of the most forceful arguments against the idea of reparations for slavery was made by Rep. Burgess Owens (R-UT), the former NFL star and black conservative.

“Reparations is not the way to right our country’s wrongs,” Owens said. “It is impractical and a non-starter for the United States government to pay reparations. It is also unfair and heartless to give black Americans the hope that this is a reality.”

Subsequently, on Twitter, Owens wrote: “Reparations are not about helping the black community, it’s about getting votes. Want to help the black community(& everyone else)? Let us get back to work, let our kids go back to school, let our parents decide which school, and get planned parenthood out of our inner cities!”

Larry Elder has noted that “Only about five percent of white Americans have any sort of generational connection to slavery, which ended 156 years ago. When we paid reparations to people in the past, as when the Japanese received reparations for being put in relocation camps, the money was paid to them — victims themselves — or their legal heirs. Slavery ended 156 years ago; it is just too long ago.”

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