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Reparations Nationally & in Minnesota — Not Much from PowerLine Blob; But Much on Reparations from Thomas Sowell & Henry Louis Gates

Reparations are back in the news.

At the national level, a bill labelled HR 40 was filed in January.  According to the bill:  “The purpose of this Act is to establish a commission to study and develop Reparation proposals for African Americans as a result of— [slavery].”

Likewise in January, at the state level in the capital of Minnesota, the St. Paul City Council passed a resolution to create a commission looking into reparations to African Americans for slavery.  Minnesota is the home state of PowerLine Blob.

According to a news report from CBS’ WCCO Channel 4:  “The capitol city joins other organizations calling for change from the disparities created by historical inequities between Whites and Blacks.”

In a statement, St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter says every institution that has systematically enforced, sanctioned or profited from the evil of slavery must participate fully in this work. 

  • Does that include the slave-trading kingdoms of western and central Africa, such as Ghana and the Congo?


Since the subject of reparations for slavery are going to be studied at the federal and who-knows-how-many state levels, here is a key question:  Will sponsors of these studies be familiar with eminent African-American Scholar Thomas Sowell?  He sheds light on slavery, in part, by dealing with the etymology of the word “slave’ — which comes from “Slav,” as in Polish, Ukrainian, Czech, Russian and so on.  As always, Sowell is fascinating and his description is a revelation of history.   

Sowell reportedly spent 15 years on his excellent book Conquests and Cultures — An International History.  In it, he looks at four cultures:  British, Africans, Slavs, and Western Hemisphere Indians (North & South America).  He looks at everything from history, geography, natural resources, and how all that affected trade — and the impact of conquests on cultures.  Regarding the Slavs, Sowell writes (emphasis added):  

  • “Centuries before the first African was carried in bondage to the Western Hemisphere, Slavs were being enslaved on a massive scale – Russians by the hundreds of thousands being enslaved by Turkish raiders and Slavs along the Dalmatian coast being enslaved by other Europeans for at least six centuries …. Slavs were so widely sold into bondage that the very word for slave was derived from the word for Slav in a number of Western European languages, as well as in Arabic.” [pp. 190-191]        


In addition, will sponsors of such studies of slavery reparations be familiar with no less a source than African-American scholar and Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., who wrote a New York Times op-ed piece on “Ending the Slavery Blame-Game.”  In that piece, Gates wrote (emphasis added): 

  • “… there is very little discussion of the role Africans themselves played [in slavery]. And that role, it turns out, was a considerable one, especially for the slave-trading kingdoms of western and central Africa. These included the Akan of the Kingdom of Asante in what is now Ghana, the Fon of Dahomey (now Benin), the Mbundu of Ndongo in modern Angola and the Kongo of today’s Congo, among several others.      
  • “Advocates of reparations for the descendants of those slaves generally ignore this untidy problem of the significant role that Africans played in the trade, choosing to believe the romanticized version that our ancestors were all kidnapped unawares by evil white men, like Kunta Kinte was in ‘Roots.’ The truth, however, is much more complex: slavery was a business, highly organized and lucrative for European buyers and African sellers alike.”     
  • “The African role in the slave trade was fully understood and openly acknowledged by many African-Americans even before the Civil War. For Frederick Douglass, it was an argument against repatriation schemes for the freed slaves.”  


In a Townhall article this month, African-American author and radio talk show host Larry Elder raised several challenging questions:

  • Why should anyone but Democrats pay?
  • “Scholar Dinesh D’Souza notes that all but a ‘handful’ of slave owners were Democrats. The Ku Klux Klan, at its height of power and popularity, was known by the NAACP as the ‘terror wing’ of the Democratic Party. The KKK was founded by Democrats; I did not say by the Democratic Party, but by Democrats. As a percentage of their party, more House Republicans voted for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 than did House Democrats. As a percentage of their party, more Senate Republicans voted for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 than did Senate Democrats.


Elder went on to underscore the practical (emphasis added):

  • Far more important than the issue of reparations is this: Why has the rate of out-of-wedlock births in the Black community nearly tripled from 1965 until now, when America is clearly less racist now than 56 years ago? ….
  • “In 1965, 24% of Black children were born outside of wedlock. In 2018 — the latest year available — that number was 69%. On Father’s Day in 2008, Barack Obama said: ‘We know the statistics — that children who grow up without a father are five times more likely to live in poverty and commit crime; nine times more likely to drop out of schools and 20 times more likely to end up in prison.’”


Will these national and state study commissions pick up this baton?  Elder, who graduated from the University of Michigan Law School, testified in February on reparations before the House Committee on the Judiciary’s Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties regarding H.R. 40.  More good reading as we educate ourselves. 

Despite reparations being back in the news at the national and state level, not much insight is offered by lawyers at PowerLine Blob.  Hinderacker has written two posts in 2019; and one in 2021.  “Search Results for Reparations” on the Blob website show posts for Hayward and Mirengoff.  Some of these are quite old going back to 2003; but many, many of these have nothing to do with “Reparations.”  Even Chief Hypocrite Scott Johnson is listed for a February 2021 “reparations” post but it is a book review.  Nothing about reparations.  Perhaps this is another indicator of a breakdown in operational excellence in terms of website software — which Joe Malchow should be in charge of.

We’re just trying to help our brother bloggers at PowerLine Blob.

Meanwhile readers should feel free to post a comment in support of free speech and against hypocrisy on the PowerLine Blob website:    I speak from experience having been banned by Johnson, the faux free-speech advocate; but not for violating any of his “rules.”  Johnson’s hypocrisy makes for fun reading — here, here, and here

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