Sun Ra - Column for 9/10

Blood Money

Greetings from the dawnwise coast! As those of you who have been regularly following these missives are aware (and those of you who haven't been are going to BURN BURN BURN in HELL HELL HELL - just so's you know. I have some swing here - professional courtesy and all.), I've just moved to the Washington DC area. And, in so doing, I've become much more dismayed with the credence being given to yet another bat-shit insane idea, namely that the United States government should pay reparations for slavery.

Now, Lictor made a very lucid, well-written, and compelling argument as regards this issue on Saturday. And, to be honest, I'm largely going to agree with him. This worries me a bit, as, frankly, Lictor is generally on the side of the black hats. For instance:

Now, normally I could chalk all these (1) up to wrong-thinking, but the fact is that Lictor is also one of the nicest, kindest, most generally moral people I know. Thus, much as I hate to bad-mouth one of my favorite people, not to mention one of Cant's best (2) authors, I think the conclusion is obvious. Kind, erudite, holding opinions of the darkest evil... I'm not gonna say "Red Right Hand" (3), but you gotta keep your eye on him.

And he's moving to Texas.

That being said, let's get back to me. The citizenry in the chunk of the world I have moved to are, in a word, blacker than in any other place I've lived. At either of the two closest shopping malls, the customers and staff are at least two-thirds black. Now, this fact doesn't really bother me, other than it puts me in the strange new position of not being marketed to, but it has raised a number of issues higher in my consciousness than they had been formerly, when I was living among mostly hispanics and asians. And one of these issues is the resurgance, and much more worrisome the embracing, of the idea that black Americans should be compensated for slavery. With money.

Now, there are any number of reasons why this idea is a complete crock of horseshit, and at least one of them was very well-treated in Lictor's column on Saturday. I'm going to restrict myself to just two.

First, a large chunk of the population of this country wasn't even here when slavery was an institution. Why should my father, who moved here from Germany in the 1950s without a God-damned dime, have to pay black people for an institution that he had no part of? Last year's census revealed that more Americans are foreign-born now than in any year since the turn of the century - and, even one hundred years ago, slavery had been gone for fifty years! Why should someone whose great-grandparents were Italians, or Russians, or Irish or Lithuanian Jews or anything else have to pay for slavery?

And don't give me the "they benefitted from institutions set up before slavery" nonsense. You know what? So have millions of black people since the sixties, and many before that. There is nothing that a penniless immigrant from the Ukraine these days gets from slavery that a black person from Georgia doesn't.

However, that reason isn't the one that upsets me the most about this reparations nonsense. Let's look at a little history, shall we?

The American Civil War was the bloodiest war this country ever fought. At a time when the American population was thirty-one million people (both Union and Confederate), 359,528 men died to abolish slavery. 359,528 Union soldiers (and 248,000 Confederate soldiers, but they fought to maintain slavery, so I guess they aren't pertinent) died, and hundreds of thousands more lost their arms, their legs, their eyes. These men were fighting for many causes - some for Union, some for Abolition, some for family, some for money. But the reason they were at war was Slavery. The reason they died was Slavery. They gave up everything so that slavery would no longer exist in this country.

And they won. They died, but through their sacrifice, slavery was brought to an end.

I spit upon these calls for "reparation". This country has paid for the freedom of its black citizens in the most precious coin that has ever existed. To demand money from the country that paid with the lives of these men is unbelievably insulting. If any black American wants money because he or she is descended from slaves, they can go harass the Confederacy.

America has paid in full.

Sun Ra

1) Gross Distortions
2) Reliable
3) Nick Cave song

Columns by Sun Ra