The reparations scam is back, and Democratic presidential candidates are falling for it

QHMQR5JL7NHKNCURB4K7ZKCSQUThe Reverend Al Sharpton greets 2020 Presidential candidate, Beto O’Rourke at the 28th Annual National Action Network Conference in Manhattan NY on April 3, 2019. (Andrew Schwartz/for New York Daily News)

 

I have lived long enough to be embarrassed for politicians and others who don’t know history. Such ignorance is especially galling when presidential hopefuls go to kiss the ring of the ignominious Al Sharpton to seek either his blessing or neutrality as they pursue their party’s nomination at the top of its 2020 ticket.

So my civil rights bones rattled when major figures — such as Beto O’Rourke, Julian Castro, Kamala Harris and Cory Booker — went to Sharpton’s “House of Justice” and expressed their support for or signaled interest in federal legislation that would consider reparations for the descendants of African-American slaves.

Where have these dolts been for the past several decades? As recently as 1992, Sharpton backed a “Million Youth March” in Harlem that revived the idea of reparations. That March was scantily attended — it having been convened by a “black leader” even more wretched and discredited than Sharpton, Khalid Muhammad, an unrepentant anti-Semite and black separatist. The march fizzled, as did the demand for slavery reparations.

Indeed, historically all the sound and fury about reparations for the descendants of African-American slaves has been just that — noise and racial rhetoric.

But now, against the backdrop of a 2020 presidential race, mainstream Democrats are giving lip service to considering — er, “studying” the ways of providing “reparations” that, if serious and honestly pursued, would run in the trillions, go into the pockets of people many generations removed from slavery and make a mockery of actual attempts to repair moral damage done.

27DNDLULFRCYFGPAPIKQS3BCFE2020 Presidential candidate, Julian Castro speaks at the 28th Annual National Action Network Conference in Manhattan NY on April 3,2019. (Andrew Schwartz/for New York Daily News)

Inflationary times have already overtaken the meager $500 million cost of reparations that black activist James Forman demanded of white churches and synagogues in the form of his Black Manifesto, delivered at Riverside Church circa 1969. That helped birth a bill offered by Rep. John Conyers to have Congress spend millions to form a “study commission” on methods and means to “remedy” the scourge of slavery on the African-American population. It languished in Congress for decades — only to be recently revived by black Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee.

But the more one thinks about the idea, the less sense it makes.

Who would get them and why? Would someone with two slaves in his or her family three get half of what someone with four slaves in his or her family tree receives? Would middle-class and poor blacks get the same? Would reparations be in lieu of affirmative-action programs, which also purport to right historic injustices, or in addition to them?

Those are just the start of the questions, but unlike in past decades, many if not most “civil rights” and black nationalist groups have joined forces to make “reparations” a legitimate item on the racial progress agenda. Gone are the luminaries among black intellectuals and leaders who voiced their disgust and distrust of “fake reparations” as either an “apology” for slavery or as a sop to black charities and “rights” organizations that thirst for bounty from a reparations pot.

Dead and buried are such big black voices as Bayard Rustin’s — who in the 1960s and 1970s lashed out at reparations for slavery as a scam, an insult, and a “handout.” The NAACP’s leader, Roy Wilkins, had done likewise. The entire NAACP in those heady years rejected reparations as a “preposterous idea.”

Sorely missing in this current national conversation is the sagacious guidance of black newspaper columnist and public citizen Carl Rowan who as recently as 1997 had dismissed reparations as “a profitless diversion.” “Just give today’s black man genuine hope,” he said, “then a fair chance at learning and training, and then a proud way to make an honest dollar to sustain a loving family, and he will not dwell on slavery or any other of yesteryear’s injustices.”

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Presidential candidate Cory Booker introduces Senate bill on slavery reparations

GETTY-cory-booker_1554747033858_7077715_ver1.0_640_360U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) speaks to guests during a campaign stop at the Van G, Miller Adult Learning Center on February 08, 2019 in Waterloo, Iowa. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

 

Sen. Cory Booker on Monday introduced a bill that would study the possibility of reparations for descendants of slaves, embracing a push that has recently has caught the interest of fellow 2020 Democratic presidential candidates.

The senator from New Jersey said Monday that “this bill is a way of addressing head-on the persistence of racism, white supremacy, and implicit racial bias in our country. 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.”

The measure is a Senate companion to a bill introduced in the House of Representatives in January by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas, which if passed into law would set up a commission to study the impact of slavery and continued discrimination against black Americans and make recommendations on reparation proposals for the descendants of slaves. The legislation was first introduced 30 years ago by then-Rep. John Conyers of Michigan.

“Since slavery in this country, we have had overt policies fueled by white supremacy and racism that have oppressed African-Americans economically for generations,” Booker added. “Many of our bedrock domestic policies that have ushered millions of Americans into the middle class have systematically excluded blacks through practices like GI Bill discrimination and redlining.

Besides Booker, the idea of slavery reparations for black Americans is at least partially backed by at least eight other Democratic presidential contenders. They are Sen. Kamala Harris of California; Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts; Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont; former San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, who served as housing secretary under President Barack Obama; South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg; former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas; Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii; and businessman and entrepreneur Andrew Yang.

Several of them were asked specifically about Jackson Lee’s reparations bill during a conference last week of Al Sharpton’s National Action Network.

The push by the Democratic White House hopefuls points to the further importance of race and identity issues within the party. Yet while supporters say reparations are needed to address slavery and racist aspects of American history, critics claim such a move could cost several trillion dollars without solving the issue of racism.

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No Prison For Texas Teen Who Lied About Being Raped By 3 Black Men

She has pleaded guilty, saying she made up the story after cutting herself and her clothing.

 

A North Texas teenager who falsely claimed she was kidnapped and raped by three black men last March will likely serve no prison time.

On Thursday, 19-year-old Breana Harmon of Pottsboro pleaded guilty to four felony charges of tampering with physical evidence and government documents in relation to false reports of kidnapping and sexual assault.

“She’s very remorseful for what she did and what she said, and that’s why she decided to plead guilty,” Harmon’s attorney Bob Jarvis told the Sherman Herald Democrat. No suspects were ever identified or arrested in the case.

Harmon will be sentenced March 20. Her plea deal has two possible punishments: regular probation or deferred adjudication, which often involves fulfilling a requirement, such as treatment or community service. Neither involves prison time.

On March 8, 2017, Harmon was reported missing to the Denison Police Department after witnesses noticed the door to her vehicle was open with personal items, including a phone and keys, scattered on the ground.

A few hours later, Harmon walked into a church wearing only a shirt, bra and underwear. She said she had been kidnapped by three black males wearing ski masks, according to the Sherman Herald Democrat. Harmon claimed the men assaulted her and that she was raped by two men while a third held her down.

Investigators noticed inconsistencies in Harmon’s story within in a few days. Medical workers didn’t find evidence she had been raped, and the holes in a pair of blue jeans discovered at the alleged crime scene didn’t match her injuries, according to the Dallas Morning News.

“The puzzle pieces just weren’t coming together,” Denison Police Chief Jay Burch said, according to the Morning News.

Harmon told police two weeks later that she made up the rape and that cuts on her body were self-inflicted.

She told officers that she was upset after she and her fiancé had been fighting, according to the Herald Democrat. Harmon said she cut herself and her clothes, then made up the rape story because she didn’t want her family to be angry with her.

Burch said Harmon’s false allegations have hurt the community, especially its African-American residents.

“Breana [Harmon’s] hoax was also insulting to our community and especially offensive to the African-American community due to her description of the so-called suspects in her hoax,” Burch said, according to the Herald Democrat. “The anger and hurt caused from such a hoax are difficult and all so unnecessary.”

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