President Joe Biden has expressed support for establishing a 13-member commission to “study and consider a national apology and proposal for reparations for the institution of slavery,” and nearly 180 Democrats are behind the proposal as well.
The Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans Act, H.R. 40, first introduced by the late Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) back in 1989, was reintroduced in the latest session of Congress. The bill has 162 co-sponsors in the House and 17 co-sponsors in the Senate—all Democrats.
H.R. 40 seeks to address “the fundamental injustice, cruelty, brutality, and inhumanity of slavery in the United States and the 13 American colonies between 1619 and 1865 and to establish a commission to study and consider a national apology and proposal for reparations for the institution of slavery, its subsequent de jure and de facto racial and economic discrimination against African Americans, and the impact of these forces on living African Americans, to make recommendations to the Congress on appropriate remedies, and for other purposes.”
The legislations claims that even after the abolition of slavery, all levels of American government, from the local to the federal level, “continued to perpetuate, condone and often profit from practices that continued to brutalize and disadvantage African Americans” and as a result of this continued discrimination, “African Americans continue to suffer debilitating economic, educational, and health hardships,” including, it says, higher incarceration rates, unemployment, and less wealth than white families. The legislation claims this disparity “has worsened, not improved over time.”
No one alive in the U.S. today has been involved in legal race-based chattel slavery, and black Americans have managed to serve at the highest levels of government, including getting elected the president of the United States.
“Reparations are not the way to right our country’s wrong,” says Rep. Burgess Owens (R-Utah). “It is impractical and a nonstarter 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. The reality is that black American history is not one of a hapless, hopeless race oppressed by a more powerful white race. It is instead a history of millions of middle and wealthy-class black Americans throughout the early 20th century achieving the American dream.”
While the future of the bill remains to be seen, Joe Biden, who has been in government since 1973 and once supported working with segregationist Democrats, has promised to take actions to address “systemic racism,” without Congress. “He certainly would support a study of reparations,” said White House press secretary Jen Psaki earlier this week. “He understands we don’t need a study to take action right now on systemic racism, so he wants to take actions within his own government in the meantime.”
Matt Margolis is the author of Airborne: How The Liberal Media Weaponized The Coronavirus Against Donald Trump, and the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. You can follow Matt on Twitter, Gab, Facebook, MeWe, Heroes, Rumble, and CloutHub.