With the issue of slavery reparations being seriously discussed in Democratic presidential debates, you might think they would have changed a few minds about it.
In fact, the number of Americans opposed to reparations has risen slightly in the last few months.
Few Americans are in favor of giving reparations to descendants of enslaved black people in the United States, a poll shows, even as the idea has gained momentum among Democratic presidential contenders.
Only 29% of Americans say the government should pay cash reparations, according to the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll.
But the poll reveals a large divide between Americans of different racial and ethnic backgrounds.
Most black Americans, 74%, favor reparations, compared with 15% of white Americans. Among Hispanics, 44% favor reparations.
Interestingly, the percentage of whites who support the U.S. government apologizing for slavery is just 35 percent. 77 percent of blacks support an apology.
Younger people are far more likely to support an apology or reparations. 45 percent of those 18-29 think we should pay the descendants of slaves while 60 percent feel the government should apologize.
Those kids are the children of parents who mostly oppose reparations. The radicalization of America’s children by schools is now complete. The issue of reparations was a radical, fringe idea 15 years ago. It has been brought into the mainstream by a far-left school curriculum that stresses “social justice” instead of critical thinking.
If they had learned anything about critical thinking, they’d know that the is impossible to quantify and a nightmare to administer. Who gets what? Do African immigrants that have been in the U.S. for a few years get any? And how “black” do you have to be. One quarter? One eighth?
And then there’s the question of “justice.” Former Clinton aide Stuart Eizanstat, who negotiated a Holocaust settlement, thinks reparations are a bad idea.
But reparations in the form of cash payments for descendants of slaves are not the way to right this grievous wrong. I write this having spent decades of my life negotiating more than $17 billion in reparations for Holocaust survivors. What I learned as chief negotiator for both the U.S. government, across several presidential administrations, and for the Jewish Claims Conference, a group representing Holocaust survivors in compensation negotiations with the post-war German government, is that reparations are complicated, contentious and messy, and work best when the crime was recent and the direct victims are still alive. Based on my experience, I believe that trying to repay descendants of slaves could end up causing more problems than reparations would seek to solve, and that there are better ways to end racial disparities.
It is likely that reparations will become an important issue in the coming presidential elections as candidates look to get support of black voters by promising the undeliverable. But at bottom, reparations are a massive transfer of wealth, confiscated from the innocent that, as Eizenstat suggests, would cause more problems than they would solve.