Saturday, August 2, 2008

Obama Opposed Reperations, Irks Old-Style Black Leaders

In another move that seperates him from traditional black activists and politicians likw Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, Barak Obama has reaffirmed his position against reparations for the descendants of slaves:

"The man with a serious chance to become the nation's first black president argues that government should instead combat the legacy of slavery by improving schools, health care and the economy for all.

'I have said in the past — and I'll repeat again — that the best reparations we can provide are good schools in the inner city and jobs for people who are unemployed,' the Illinois Democrat said recently."

Of course the two dozen members of Congress co-sponsoring legislation to create a commission that would study reparations, dismisses out of hand the notion that Obama could have reached this conclusion via reason, and instead attributes it to pragmatic politics:

"Let's not be naive. Sen. Obama is running for president of the United States, and so he is in a constant battle to save his political life," said Kibibi Tyehimba, co-chair of the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America. "In light of the demographics of this country, I don't think it's realistic to expect him to do anything other than what he's done.

"People say he can't run and get elected if he says those kinds of things," Vernellia Randall, a law professor at the University of Dayton said. "I'm like, well does that mean we're really not ready for a black president?"

Nice going folks. Once again we see the duplicitous nature of these advocates, and why they've never been able to make any headway outside of their loyal followers. Out of one side of their mouth they (rightly) rail against racist notions of "typical blacks" as completely homogeneous people. But the moment someone disagrees with their position, then that person isn't really black, and didn't reach their conclusion via reason. Of course, the fact that Obama has held this position since 2004 doesn't sway them one bit. Facts don't matter to them, they never did. Obama on the other hand, shows through as a refreshing voice of reason on the issue:

In a 2004 questionnaire, he told the NAACP, "I fear that reparations would be an excuse for some to say, 'We've paid our debt,' and to avoid the much harder work."

Pressed for his position on apologizing to blacks or offering reparations, Obama said he was more interested in taking action to help people struggling to get by. Because many of them are minorities, he said, that would help the same people who would stand to benefit from reparations.

"If we have a program, for example, of universal health care, that will disproportionately affect people of color, because they're disproportionately uninsured," Obama said. "If we've got an agenda that says every child in America should get — should be able to go to college, regardless of income, that will disproportionately affect people of color, because it's oftentimes our children who can't afford to go to college."

Hear hear. If we are to have a government program to alleviate suffering, and to level the playing field for those who need a hand up, we should not discriminate based on how or why said person is suffering or at a disadvantage. That would only further exacerbate racial tensions by giving poor blacks and poor whites something to fight over. Suffering is suffering, and disadvantages are disadvantages. There are certainly whites who benefit from the results of slavery, but it isn't the ones living in the trailer park who can't afford to send their kid to chess club meetings, much less college. Those people need assistance every bit as much as do the descendants of slaves.

This is what excites so many of us about an Obama presidency. Compared to him, the so-called "professional blacks" like Sharpton and Jackson, and those like Tyehimba and Randall who follow their lead, look like dinosaurs, relics of a past age. The country needs black leaders who are able to digest the fact that it has been 40 years since 1968, and while there is still work to be done, we have come a long way.

1 comment:

Peter L. Winkler said...

While I have ethical and practical prblems with various forms of reparations, I agree with Kibibi Tyehimba. Obama's opposition to reparations is tactical. Obama is becoming the black John Kerry, and if he keeps refusing to take an unpopular position on a hot button issue, will lose by becoming indistinguishable from McCain. He's about to change his position on offshore oil drilling.

Truman said, "When Democrars try to be imitation Republicans, the American people will choose the real thing every time."