UPDATE: See Thomas Lifson's comments on this article at The American Thinker.
By David Paulin
The slave reparations movement has brought together a motley bunch over the years, from jive-talking hustlers to erudite professors of everything from black to postcolonial studies. Now, an entire country is angling to cash in on the reparations racket. In Jamaica, political leaders are beating the drum for a local and regional campaign to convince
"We owe reparations to ourselves and our ancestors,” Rupert Lewis, a lecturer in government at the University of the
In Jamaica and elsewhere, reparations advocates portray
What do ordinary middle-class Jamaicans of African origins think? Not surprisingly, many blame unaccountable and elitist political leaders for the country’s mess – not its legacy of slavery and colonialism. They point out that
While middle-class and pro-American Jamaicans line up at the U.S. Embassy to apply for visas, members of the anti-American elite look for scapegoats for
"In the medium term, the goal is to mobilize all those who have been working in the (reparations) field for a long time, and to sensitize those who have dismissed the work of the movement for lack of knowledge," explained Jamaica’s minister of tourism, entertainment and culture, Aloun Assamba, a government spokesperson.
In Jamaica and elsewhere, the reparations movement was energized by the United Nation’s racism conference in Durban, South Africa, in 2001; that was the infamous UNESCO-sponsored event that equated Zionism with racism. It also offered tacit support to the idea of slave reparations.
Curiously, reparations advocates demand reparations only from rich Western nations. Yet they never mourn over the millions of black Africans who disappeared into the Muslim slave trade. Nor do they regularly condemn the slavery that persists in
Obviously, slavery does not seem to bother them as much as all their frothing would suggest. Why motivates them? Some are obviously racists. All are unreconstituted leftists: Slave reparations for them are simply a means through which they can achieve the Marxist redistribution of wealth they still dream about. In recent years, though, they’ve adopted a post-modern form of Marxism. Some call it “cultural Marxism.” In its lexicon, the villains are no longer capitalists and the bourgeoisie.
Now the villain is “white male privilege.”
“Africa underpins a modern experience of (white) British privilege,” asserted a positive review of “The Empire Pays Back” in The Guardian of London by Cambridge University senior lecturer Richard Drayton. The documentary was produced by Jamaica-born producer Robert Beckford, a lecturer in African Diaspora Religions and Cultures at
No matter that few if any whites are around anymore who have any connection whatsoever to the slave trade; yet they’re cast as oppressors because of their skin color. Reparation advocates also distort the realities of the ancient slave trade, says Ohio State University Professor Robert Davis. “We cannot think of slavery as something that only white people did to black people,” observed the author of “Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters” (Palgrave Macmillan, 2003). The book recounts how Muslim slavers off North Africa’s Barbary Coast enslaved one million or more white Europeans between 1530 and 1780 – a number greater than Africans enslaved during the same period. Why is the enslavement of white Europeans ignored? It fails to fit into the scholarship favored today – that history is all about European conquest and colonization,
Interestingly, the newspaper cheering on the reparations campaign often has a poisonous anti-American tone; yet The Observer is published by Gordon "Butch" Stewart – a white Jamaican who heads the Caribbean’s iconic Sandals and Beaches resorts. They depend on American tourism.
How Big A Payment?
The Observer’s article “Pay Us For Slave Labor” quoted New York University sociology Professor Dalton Conley as saying reparations in America would involve “transferring about 13 per cent of white household wealth to blacks,” giving an average two-adult black family about US$35,000. In Parliament, on the other hand, an Opposition member proposed a one-time payout of US$77.4 million for the island’s decaying and poorly performing primary and secondary schools.
During the United Nations General Assembly’s commemoration of the slave trade’s abolition on March 26, Nettleford said in his keynote address that reparations advocates weren't looking for a "handout." He nevertheless urged countries “enriched by the heinous crime of the slave trade” to make “serious investment” in the “countries that suffered, preferably through the education and preparation of their young to enable them to cope with the inheritance of a continuing unjust world.”
Nettleford is a darling of
“What we have learnt from history will have sharpened insights about ourselves in the process of cross-fertilization which is the great art of humankind’s ‘becoming’ out of the dynamism of the synthesizing of contradictions.”
During the nearly two years I lived in a middle-class neighborhood of Kingston, Nettleford was a familiar presence in the news media – ruminating on Washington’s malevolence and the Caribbean’s legacy of slavery and colonialism, which are among the most popular subjects at the University of the West Indies. What I best remember Nettleford for, however, is a comment he made to a well-regarded Jamaican journalist, who subsequently related Nettleford’s off-the-record remark to me: “It’s not that I hate white people, but I love black people.”
While Nettleford blames rich white nations for an “unjust” world, he overlooks the world created in
Six years ago, this Faustian arrangement was put in the public spotlight during the funeral of a “don” known as Willy Haggart. A big and gaudy event in the style of gangland funerals, it was held in the National Arena – traditionally a site for dignified state funerals. However, it was no ordinary gangland funeral: The orange colors of the People’s National Party were on display. And occupying front-row seats were three senior elected officials, the most prominent being Finance Minister Omar Davies and then Transport and Works Minister Peter Phillips, now minister of National Security. They were paying their respects because Haggart was an influential “community leader” in their districts. Davies remains finance minister in a country many outraged Jamaicans have begun to call a "failed state."
Apart from corrupt and irresponsible political leaders, there’s the issue of declining values over the years – what some Jamaicans describe as “downtown” values replacing “uptown” values. Conservatives, for instance, note that most births are now out-of-wedlock, with the rate having increased after
Most middle-class Jamaicans, who are a conservative bunch in respect to their values, are shocked and upset. But some members of the intellectual elite such as Carolyn Cooper, a lecturer and cultural expert at the University of the
The world of Carolyn Cooper and others in
Most middle-class Jamaicans look to the West for inspiration and identity – not to
The blame-it-on-slavery argument becomes even more absurd when
Why is The Bahamas a success? Its political leaders and voters look forward, not backward. They unashamedly look to
In The Bahamas, the bicentennial of the slave trade's abolition got circumspect coverage in local papers, and it was consigned to the inside pages. In Jamaica, in contrast, The Observer ran a chest-thumping front-page article in which Prime Minister Simpson Miller paid lip service to reparations and told school children to honor their slave ancestors by respecting one another. "My request for honoring them is that for every child that is raped and is left to soak in the rapist's semen and her own blood, you are perpetuating, Mr. Rapist, the action of the slave master."
And so, then,
Criminality aside, an odd fact has emerged in respect to
Abbott never considered that these young men might have been primed by the anti-American and anti-Western worldview spewed by the intellectual elite in