Why I'm For Reparations
Breaking News: Another dolt from the House of Fools — this one a Michigan local from up there in Lansing's State Capital territory — has stepped forward to demand an unequivocal right to the white man's money.
There's nothing more vexatious than sitting down to pop tarts and juice at 5am, and thumbing through the morning's edition of the Multicultural News — officially known as the Detroit Free Press — and coming across yet another baseless diatribe against big, bad old Whitey.
Mr. Ed Vaughn, 4th district State Representative (Detroit, of course) has made yet another case for "healing" between the races in his letter to the editor of the Free Press. Says Mr. Vaughn, "Without slavery and the European and Arab rape of Africa, our great civilizations that predate Europe, Asia, and the Middle East would have developed normally, and would have given to this world the kind of humane and spiritual leadership it so badly needs. African Americans will be the vanguard of a new worldwide, multiracial movement that will transform this messed-up world to spiritual humanism. And reparations will help get us there."
Mr. Vaughn continues by blaming the white man for brainwashing what Malcom X termed the "house Negro," and for propagating what he characterizes as "many confused and sick members of his race via massive psychological assault." Whites today, he says, should pay for that which "a white of yesteryear did to a black of yesteryear." White is an all-inclusive term including individuals, insurance companies, banks, government, and other businesses that he says "still use and enjoy slave wealth today."
All moral and legal arguments aside, here is my approach to Michigan taxpayers digging deep in their pockets to atone for a truly abominable crime to the human body and spirit. Let's pay the reparations. And while we're at it, let's pay the white man his due, courtesy of the African-American taxpayers. After all, what's fair for one race is fair for the other.
Let's take a gander at my once-upon-a-time hometown — Detroit. This is a city that was once a thriving place of assorted immigrants, especially North European. Some were industrialists, some were blue-collar laborers, and there were the flavorful artistes, as well. All fused together to build a dazzling city where cultures thrived, and each ethnicity merged into the other, where it was necessary for economic efficacy and progress. Henry Ford must have had high hopes, for he chose to stay and build his empire here.
My Flemish ancestors came here in the 20s, and my German predecessors came much earlier, all settling into affordable housing on the Northeast side, and building a family life behind neat lawns and picket fences.
This cultural crown jewel was overturned as the black community spread into the outskirts of the city in the late 50s and early 60s, and over time, turned neighborhood after neighborhood into a ghetto. Of course, this statement will be inappropriately characterized as racist, but the ghettos of my city are not inhabited by whites. The facts are the facts.
Government welfare program after welfare program, piled on top of government- spearheaded desegregation agendas, proceeded to assemble African American ghettos in predominately white communities — much like the gross injustices previously done to American Indians on reservations — and provided bureaucratic do-gooders with an opportunity for experimental sociology.
However, the attempts at forced desegregation victimized white property owners as well as an entire black culture. As desegregated neighborhoods became run-down and barren, "white flight" followed, leaving much of Detroit high and dry of its tax base, and residential properties became almost valueless. Those whites fleeing the rampant crime and declining property values found themselves able to sell their housing only at fire-sale prices.
Local real estate companies worked in cahoots with city inspectors to deprive homeowners of the right to sell their homes, under the guise of "needed repairs," and stole their way into buying up the devalued real estate for even lower amounts. Thus, they made illegitimate profits by way of the white property owner's desire to escape a rapidly declining marketplace for housing.
Both of my parents ditched their Detroit family homes, the suburbs being the only safe place to raise their family, and they lost a huge amount in the process. I "fled" a beautiful and very low-priced Detroit colonial in 1992 for the suburbs, being thankful I had never purchased that house in the first place.
So what about these ghettos victimizing a once-prospering city? What about the government desegregation policies, and welfare programs, and real estate-city inspector entrapments that helped drive them out?
I want reparations for the financial losses incurred by my ancestors. Not just by my parents, but by all of Detroit ‘s white ancestry. Pay me back for all the mental anguish that my ancestors suffered, for the ruin of a homeland, and for the financial loss that went unrecovered. After all, isn't this part of the framework for reparations? Making amends for wrongs done unto others?
Compensate me for all of the affirmative-action programs that African-Americanized almost an entire city government, including the police and fire departments, and robbed thousands of deserving whites in the meanwhile. Pay me for the loss of these jobs to my people, and the financial wherewithal my family was robbed of. In fact, give me backpay for the no-work, overpaid city jobs that I never got because I was white.
Let the black taxpayers make amends to me for the ruination of a school system, a system left to the whites of yesteryear by the blacks of yesteryear. Pay me for all those ghettoized commercial buildings and drug-infected neighborhood parks, and give me my money back for all the spray-painted freeway overpasses that my tax dollars paid for once, and then paid for again to renew.
Make sure to return me the profits my ancestors would have made, before their businesses were driven from the city, their buildings boarded up, and block after block turned into an abandoned hellhole of burnt-out masonry.
I want my retribution, and I want it soon. Considering the time value of money, and applicable interest rates, I figure blacks owe me as much as Mr. Vaughn, Congressman John Conyers (Detroit), and State Rep. Derrick Hales (Detroit) say whites owe them.
Or we could just call it even, and quit right there, eh? Then we will all be suitably "healed." Why, I feel better already.
August 15, 2000
Karen De Coster is a politically incorrect CPA, and an MA student in economics at Walsh College in Michigan.
Copyright © 2000 Karen De Coster