Former pro-football running back Herschel Walker spoke to a congressional hearing on Wednesday about the possibility of slavery reparations in the United States.
Walker spoke at a hearing for House Resolution 40, which would create a commission to study the topic of reparations. The bill is reportedly sponsored by Texas Democratic Representative Sheila Jackson Lee, who said that the Black Lives Matter protests last year featured “signs in support of HR 40,” adding that now is the right time to create a commission.
Walker played in the former USFL and NFL for over 25 years and has become an outspoken conservative in recent years.
According to the New York Post, Walker “said reparations might require black Americans like himself to use genetics company 23andMe to calculate their pay by percentage of ancestry …”
He mentioned that he opposes reparation efforts for political and moral reasons, telling a House Judiciary Committee subcommittee, “We use black power to create white guilt. My approach is biblical: how can I ask my Heavenly Father to forgive me if I can’t forgive my brother?”
“America is the greatest country in the world for me, a melting pot of a lot of great races, a lot of great minds that have come together with different ideas to make Americans the greatest country on Earth. Many have died trying to get into America. No one is dying trying to get out,” he said.
“Reparations, where does the money come from? Does it come from all the other races except the black taxpayers? Who is black? What percentage of black must you be to receive reparations? … Some American ancestors just came to this country 80 years ago, their ancestors wasn’t even here during slavery. Some black immigrants weren’t here during slavery, nor their ancestors. Some states didn’t even have slavery.”
He also questioned with whom the fault for slavery lies.
“Who is the guilty party? Should we start at the beginning where African Americans sold your African American ancestors into slavery? And to a slave trader who eventually sold African American ancestors to slave owners?” he said.
Jackson Lee reportedly called out Republicans for selecting black witnesses — Walker and Larry Elder — to speak against her proposed bill.
She said, “Like our last hearing, the minority has selected two African-American witnesses to speak against HR 40. That is their privilege. But we know that justice, facts and that life that was led and continues to be led by African Americans is on our side.”
Elder reportedly said, “Despite all the problems that have been brought up in this committee about racism, about slavery, about Jim Crow, black people have overcome to the point now where only 20 percent of black people are below the federally defined level for poverty — still too high, but in 1940 that number was 87 percent and 20 years later that number had been reduced to 47 percent.”
Utah Republican Representative Burgess Owens, who is black, reportedly argued that reparations would amount to “socialism” and were “impractical,” and that it is “unfair and heartless to give black Americans the hope that this is a reality.”
Owens counter-proposed that politicians should “give us back our history” and that “as we accept our lineage as victors, the same history will command the respect of our fellow Americans — an example of how to overcome the most overwhelming odds.”