Reparations and the spoils of war

Dear Editor,

The recent controversy over President Donald Trump’s executive order ban on refugees from several Middle Eastern countries has spawned national debates and outcry across the country. This order by Trump is only one in a series of executive orders that subsequently has been the hallmark of his presidency since he took office.

From the Women’s March on Washington to rallies at the Supreme Court, left wing liberals have denounced virtually every action by this president in more ways than one. From conversations about abortion, woman’s rights, immigration and outsourcing, to taxes, jobs, the Constitution and presidential powers, these issues have been the subject of politicians, political pundits and news outlets to date.

Amid all the fray and controversy Trump seems to be creating, African Americans find themselves in a unique position under this presidency. Though many environmentalists, action groups, social movements and “white liberals” have painted Trump as a racist tyrant and insist that he is the embodiment of hate and greed, it is impossible, however, for African Americans to lay 400 years of torture, murder and slavery on him alone.

The plight of African Americans has been an enduring and painstaking journey towards justice and equality, and even President Trump with all his presidential powers can’t “repeal” the progress black people have made.

With that said, African Americans, for the most part, have not led the anti-Trump campaigns or demonstrations partly because though he may be a part of the problem, according to some, he is not “the” problem for African Americans. With President Obama now gone, the reality of an all- white government is now settling in and for African Americans this is unwanted, yet familiar territory.

Today, African Americans see other social and ethnic groups demanding equality, jobs and civil rights, and though these demands may be justified in some respects, they still do not measure up invalidity or righteousness when compared to the demands of African Americans.

Immigrants, for example, came to the United States willingly with the expectation of a better life. Black people, on the hand, were kidnapped and forced into a life of torture, slavery and degradation. Knowing this, how is it conceivable that American justice, equality and civil rights can bypass the African American, who literally built this country with his/her bare hands.

No race, ethnic or social group deserves economic and social justice here in America more so than African Americans. Not even the Native American have a stronger case for American justice because they—who in defense of their land and way of life—declared and waged war against the colonies and the United States.

Though justified in many respects, Native Americans subsequently declared war against the U.S. and lost. For this reason, the killings, raids, battles and the confiscation of their land should be considered, and rightfully so, “the spoils of war.” In other words, the United States does not owe Native Americans anything, especially land.

With credit to Native Americans, European colonists never faced a more feared and deadly foe. By all historical accounts, the deadly exploits of Native Americans against European settlers, colonies and the U.S. are recorded more often than not as massacres.

The fact is Native Americans have earned a place and title in American history that is often described by one word: Brave.  However, “brave” does not command the same need for American justice as the title of “slave.” Therefore, it is important for African Americans to not only demand justice, in its’ various forms, but receive justice.

Reparations are often mentioned by today’s black leaders, and the idea of monetary, land and tax breaks is something Americans need to consider when exploring the concept of reparations. Native Americans waged war against the U.S. and received land (reservations), tax breaks and some degree of sovereignty on their land, while blacks, who were enslaved and fought in every war for the United States, receive nothing.

Chico Cromartie

Chico Cromartie

Reparations in the form of land were considered by freed African American slaves to be some sort of atonement after the Civil War. This is evident in the writings of Tunis Campbell, a preacher, statesman and African-American leader during the 19th century.

Needless to say, the day is coming according to scripture, “when the last shall be first, and the first shall be last,” and if indeed African Americans are last in term of economic, social and civil justice, the day is soon approaching when America must be held to account in the form reparations for the crime of slavery.

Chico Cromartie

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