Nothing infuriates the left like listening to a minority express a conservative opinion. And so it was on Wednesday when a black student who was descended from slaves who worked on Thomas Jefferson's Monticello plantation said he opposed the idea of reparations, saying "the people who are owed for slavery are no longer here" and "we are not entitled to collect on their debts."
Quillette writer Coleman Hughes, who spoke at the hearing, dismissed a bill to study the prospect of reparations as "a moral and political mistake." The crowd at the hearing, held by the House Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee on the constitution, civil rights, and civil liberties, booed when Hughes said "black people don't need another apology...we need safer schools and better schools. We need a better criminal justice system....we need better health care. And none of these things can be achieved through reparations for slavery."
(Video courtesy of Mediaite)
Though he believes the US government's failure to pay out reparations immediately after the Civil War was "shameful", he thinks it's now too late and paying them out now would do more harm than good. Hughes said he wasn't surprised to hear the booing, and that "nearly everyone close to me told me not to testify today" even though Hughes said he has only ever voted for Democrats.
The crowd's reaction prompted the subcommittee Chairman Steve Cohen to bang his gavel and awkwardly ask his audience to "chill, chill, chill, chill."
"They told me...I would be perceived as Republican and therefore hated by half the country. Others told me that by distancing myself from Republicans, I would end up angering the other half of the country. And the sad truth is that they were both right. That’s how suspicious we have become. Of one another. That’s how divided we are. As a nation."
Hughes added that paying out reparations would be an "insult" to “many black Americans by putting a price on the suffering of their ancestors, and we would turn the relationship between black Americans and white Americans from a coalition into a transaction."
He also objected to being labeled a "victim" since “reparations, by definition, are only given to victims."
"So the moment you give me reparations, you’ve made me into a victim without my consent. Not just that, you’ve made one-third of black Americans who poll against reparations into victims without their consent, and black Americans have fought too long for the right to define themselves to be spoken for in such a condescending manner."
"The question is not what America owes me by virtue of my ancestry, the question is what all Americans owe each other by virtue of being citizens of the same nation," Hughes said. "And the obligation of citizenship is not transactional. It’s not contingent on ancestry. It never expires, and it can’t be paid off. For all these reasons, bill HR 40 is a moral and political mistake."
Unfortunately for Hughes, nearly all of the Democrats running in the 2020 primary support the bill - except for Joe Biden, who isn't so sure about reparations. Biden recently elicited outrage from millions of Democrats by referring to two segregationist senators as examples of legislative 'civility'.
Yet, Hughes isn't the only black American who opposes reparations. Just read this WSJ editorial from last month.
Or this Chappelle's Show sketch:
And while Hughes ideas about reparations might be offensive to some, we can think of at least one other individual (a suspected rapist) who has even more odious views on reparations.