On MSNBC, NYT Writer Calls for Reparations, Then Says It’s Not Enough

Did you ever own slaves or know anyone in your lifetime that owned slaves? No? Well MSNBC’s Morning Joe doesn’t care, they’d like to make you pay for that sin anyway, with your taxpayer dollars. To push this radical agenda, they brought on New York Times writer Nikole Hannah-Jones Friday morning to demand slavery reparations, which is really just wealth distribution disguised as racial justice.

Hannah-Jones, you might remember, won a Pulitzer Prize for her 1619 Project authored in New York Times Magazine. Remember, this was writing so bad that her own publication had to correct part of her work that claimed that the American Revolution was waged to protect slavery. The project was so poorly done that former Pulitzer Prize winners actually condemned her work.

 

 

But none of that mattered to Morning Joe, as co-host Mika Brzezinski began the segment by touting the argument from Hannah-Jones that Americans must own the country’s past sins: 

If black lives are to truly matter in America, this nation must move beyond slogans and symbolism, citizens don’t inherit just the glory of their nation but its wrongs too. A truly great country does not ignore or excuse its sins. It confronts them and then works to make them right. If we are to be redeemed, if we are to live up to the magnificent ideals upon which we were founded, we must do what is just. It is time for this country to pay its debt. It’s time for reparations.

Some might be comfortable paying reparations for slavery, and by doing so acknowledging the sin of slavery in America and moving forward into a new history of freedom for all as the Founders intended. Never mind that such reparation plans call for on the low end of $5 trillion to $17 trillion to be spent, including in the neighborhood of $150,000 in direct payment to each black person in the U.S.

But wait, Hannah-Jones still claimed that wouldn’t be enough to move on! That America simply cannot do enough to move forward and stop looking towards the past:

I mean, the truth is, no matter what is done or isn’t done, there’s going to be the sense that we’ve done enough. That we’ve solved the problem. We know when President Obama was elected, that became the tool, how can you complain about racial injustice, there’s a black man in the White House. So that’s going to happen regardless. What we know is that you can invest in infrastructure, you can invest in education, but none of these things are going to close the racial wealth gap.

She finished up the segment talking about examples of reparations paid by the U.S. and other countries in recent decades, but her examples were very different from the issue of slavery in America:

But we have paid reparations to native tribes, to the Japanese. We know Holocaust survivors, after a lengthy battle, received reparations from Germany. Even in this country we pay every year millions of dollars to help support victims of the Holocaust even though that wasn’t a crime we committed. That’s a just thing to do. When it comes to black Americans, we have delayed and waited until the generations of living victims died off and say there is no debt that’s owed.

So Hannah-Jones is calling for $14 trillion to be paid directly to the black community, with the federal government already deeply in debt amid massive spending responding to the coronavirus pandemic, and she claims that it will never be enough. So where does that leave the American taxpayer? As a policy, reparations 155 years after the complete abolition of slavery would never be practical, but saying that even such a payment wouldn’t solve the issue does not help your case much either.

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Read the full transcript below to learn more:

MSNBC’s Morning Joe

6-26-20

7:33 AM

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Joining us now, domestic correspondent for the “New York Times” magazine focussing on racial injustice, Nikole Hannah-Jones. In her latest essay for “New York Times” Magazine entitled ‘What is Owed’, she writes in part, quote, ‘If black lives are to truly matter in America, this nation must move beyond slogans and symbolism, citizens don’t inherit just the glory of their nation but its wrongs too. A truly great country does not ignore or excuse its sins. It confronts them and then works to make them right. If we are to be redeemed,if we are to live up to the magnificent ideals upon which we were founded, we must do what is just. It is time for this country to pay its debt. It’s time for reparations.” Okay. So let’s take that a step further. What would those reparations, which is a really big issue, especially at this time of momentum and racial — effort for racial justice in this country. What do reparations look like, specifically? 

NIKOLE HANNAH-JONES: Thank you for having me on. Black Americans face really a singular economic crisis, both prior to the pandemic and during the pandemic. What reparations would look like would be a comprehensive program. It would be an investment of resources into the racially segregated black communities and schools which were constructed in part by federal, state and local government. It would call for actual, rigorous enforcement of existing civil rights laws against discrimination in housing and education and jobs. And most importantly it would include individual cash payments to black Americans to make up for a gaping wealth gap. Black households have ten cents of wealth of every dollar that white households have, and black households with children have one cent for every dollar that white households have. 

BRZEZINSKI: Thinking back to President Obama’s view on this, which isn’t completely different to what you just said, but I think some of the concerns might be that it creates some forms of reparations create an illusion that the job is done. We can now move on, instead of focusing on the first part of what you said, schools and policies that can have long-standing impact for black Americans. 

HANNAH-JONES: I mean, the truth is, no matter what is done or isn’t done, there’s going to be the sense that we’ve done enough. That we’ve solved the problem. We know when President Obama was elected, that became the tool, how can you complain about racial injustice, there’s a black man in the white house. So that’s going to happen regardless. What we know is that you can invest in infrastructure, you can invest in education, but none of these things are going to close the racial wealth gap. Wealth is about money accumulated over time, passed down over generations and built over generations. What the data shows is black people who have college degrees, own homes, get married don’t close the health gap. There’s nothing that black Americans can do that will close a wealth gap created by 350 years of policy.

(..)

EUGENE SCOTT: A lot of the pushback to reparations comes from the idea, this misbelief that it’s this new concept that America has never participated in before, but that’s not true. Can you share a bit about how the U.S government has actually, in the past, given certain groups reparations. 

HANNAH-JONES: Absolutely. One, let’s just put it out there. We know that — we understand the concept of restitution in the law. If a hospital does something that kills my husband, I can sue that hospital and seek payment. Black Americans were fighting for restitution during slavery, after slavery, after race rites. And the only people that received reparations were white enslavers who were paid when their property, black people, were emancipated. But we have paid reparations to native tribes to the Japanese. We know holocaust survivors, after a lengthy battle, received reparations from Germany. Even in this country we pay every year millions of dollars to help support victims of the holocaust even though that wasn’t a crime we committed. That’s a just thing to do. When it comes to black Americans, we have delayed and waited until the generations of living victims died off and say there is no debt that’s owed. One thing we should think about is, at the end of slavery, black Americans exit slavery, literally with nothing, no land, no jobs, no homes, nothing. Kerry Lee Merritt said we’re the only group of people as a race that has zero capital. That has accumulated over time, followed by hundreds of years that did not allow black Americans to accumulate wealth. We have to provide a stimulus to make up for that inequality.