Reparations would worsen race relations
The Wall Street Journal
Democratic presidential candidates are “testing the idea of making reparations for slavery an active issue in the 2020 presidential campaign,” said Lance Morrow. That’s a terrible idea, both politically and practically. “Compensation for slavery is an inviting idea in principle,” but it raises so many complex and divisive issues that it would “make race relations in America a good deal worse.” Tens of millions of white Americans would insist that their immigrant forebears arrived in the country after slavery ended, and “therefore cannot be held responsible for its crimes or its legacy.” Indeed, most people who lived in the U.S. in 1860 did not own slaves. And who would get the reparations? Everyone with any African-American ancestors, even if they were 98 percent white? Should wealthy black people—like Oprah Winfrey or Barack Obama (whose father grew up in Africa)—get reparations, too? As Americans argued over these issues, it “would throw open a trapdoor out of which all manner of bigotries and bitterness, all the black bats of American history, would fly.” Unfortunately, the only realistic answer to America’s ugly racial legacy is continued slow progress. No program of reparations can undo the past or heal its wounds.