In an attempt to differentiate themselves from the crowd, certain Democratic candidates have actually made slavery reparations an issue for the 2020 election. Unfortunately, for them, it’s a losing issue, considering that a majority of Americans oppose the policy, according to the Media Research Center.
“According to a new Rasmussen poll released on Tuesday, 66% of Americans disapprove of slavery reparations,” reports MRC. “Just 21% poll in favor of the controversial policy, meanwhile 13% are undecided.”
Rasmussen said that support for reparations has increased only slightly from last year with a significant number of black Americans (a full 32%) opposed to the idea.
“Support for reparations is up slightly from 17% in March of last year; opposition is down from 70%,” writes Rasmussen. “Sixty percent (60%) of black voters favor reparations to those who can prove they are descended from slaves. Seventy-three percent (73%) of whites, 32% of blacks and 64% of other minority voters are opposed.”
To receive reparations, black Americans would have to definitively show they descend from actual slaves, which might cause a rift in the community, considering that a fair portion do not descend from slaves. Actually, according to a report in The New York Times back in 2005, more Africans have naturally emigrated to the United States in recent decades than those that were brought to America during the time of slavery. From the report:
Since 1990, according to immigration figures, more have arrived voluntarily than the total who disembarked in chains before the United States outlawed international slave trafficking in 1807. More have been coming here annually — about 50,000 legal immigrants — than in any of the peak years of the middle passage across the Atlantic, and more have migrated here from Africa since 1990 than in nearly the entire preceding two centuries.
According to the census, the proportion of black people living in the United States who describe themselves as African-born, while still small, more than doubled in the 1990’s, to 1.7 percent from about 0.8 percent, for a total estimated conservatively at more than 600,000. About 1.7 million United States residents identify their ancestry as sub-Saharan.
As The Daily Wire argued back in 2016, slavery reparations are not only an impractical solution — but are also an economically impossible one.
“The reason reparations advocates struggle to make a case is because there is no possible way to do it,” Aaron Bandler wrote for The Daily Wire at the time. “There are numerous immigrants who have entered the U.S. who were not a part of enslaving blacks, and there were also blacks that owned slaves during that era. How would the government be able to have the resources to determine every single person who had slaveowner ancestors as well as ancestors who were slaves? What about those of mixed race? It’s impossible.”
Veteran economist Thomas Sowell has also argued that a majority of white people did not own slaves during slavery’s heyday. “Even during the era of slavery, most white people owned no slaves,” Sowell has written. “Are their descendants supposed to pay for the descendants of those who did?”
Earlier this week, Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) introduced a bill intended to establish a commission that would study whether or not slavery reparations will help to alleviate past racial injustice in the United States.
“This bill is a way of addressing head-on the persistence of racism, white supremacy, and implicit racial bias in our country,” said Booker. “It will bring together the best minds to study the issue and propose solutions that will finally begin to right the economic scales of past harms and make sure we are a country where all dignity and humanity is affirmed.”
Sens. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and former San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro have proposed slavery reparations.
New York Times columnist David Brooks also recently endorsed slavery reparations, reversing his previously-held position. In an op-ed piece published last month, Brooks said that reparations are the only way to heal America’s racial divide.