Forwarded from George Snedeker

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Tue Apr 17 08:37:43 MDT 2001


I am off the list for a few days. would you post this message for me?

----- Original Message -----
From: Laura Chrisman
To: Recipient list suppressed
Sent: Sunday, April 15, 2001 9:06 PM
Subject: Urgent: Horowitz protest

Dear Colleagues

The Ohio State University student newspaper, The Lantern, publishes David
Horowitz's '10 Reasons' ad this Wednesday, April 18th. I paste in below the
hideous ad itself, FYI. The Department of African-American and African
Studies is paying The Lantern to publish the Chrisman/Allen rebuttal in the
same issue, and the rebuttal will be prefaced by a short statement from the

We urge you to flood the editors with letters of protest and rebuttal: the
more letters the better, and the sooner the better, from outside the
university and from across the campus.  This is the address for your
letters to the editor: email: lantern at Fax: 614-292-5240

Many thanks for your support.

Laura Chrisman

Horowitz text: Ten Reasons Why Reparations for Blacks is a Bad Idea for
Blacks - and Racist Too

One There Is No Single Group Clearly Responsible For The Crime Of Slavery

Black Africans and Arabs were responsible for enslaving the ancestors of
African-Americans. There were 3,000 black slave-owners in the ante-bellum
United States. Are reparations to be paid by their descendants too?

Two There Is No One Group That Benefited Exclusively From Its Fruits

The claim for reparations is premised on the false assumption that only
whites have benefited from slavery. If slave labor created wealth for
Americans, then obviously it has created wealth for black Americans as
well, including the descendants of slaves. The GNP of black America is so
large that it makes the African-American community the 10th most prosperous
"nation" in the world. American blacks on average enjoy per capita incomes
in the range of twenty to fifty times that of blacks living in any of the
African nations from which they were kidnapped.

Three Only A Tiny Minority Of White Americans Ever Owned Slaves, And Others
Gave Their Lives To Free Them

Only a tiny minority of Americans ever owned slaves. This is true even for
those who lived in the ante-bellum South where only one white in five was a
slaveholder. Why should their descendants owe a debt? What about the
descendants of the 350,000 Union soldiers who died to free the slaves? They
gave their lives. What possible moral principle would ask them to pay
(through their descendants) again?

Four America Today Is A Multi-Ethnic Nation and Most Americans Have No
Connection (Direct Or Indirect) To Slavery

The two great waves of American immigration occurred after 1880 and then
after 1960. What rationale would require Vietnamese boat people, Russian
refuseniks, Iranian refugees, and Armenian victims of the Turkish
persecution, Jews, Mexicans Greeks, or Polish, Hungarian, Cambodian and
Korean victims of Communism, to pay reparations to American blacks?

Five The Historical Precedents Used To Justify The Reparations Claim Do Not
Apply, And The Claim Itself Is Based On Race Not Injury

The historical precedents generally invoked to justify the reparations
claim are payments to Jewish survivors of the Holocaust, Japanese-Americans
and African- American victims of racial experiments in Tuskegee, or racial
outrages in Rosewood and Oklahoma City. But in each case, the recipients of
reparations were the direct victims of the injustice or their immediate
families. This would be the only case of reparations to people who were not
immediately affected and whose sole qualification to receive reparations
would be racial. As has already been pointed out, during the slavery era,
many blacks were free men or slave-owners themselves, yet the reparations
claimants make no distinction between the roles blacks actually played in
the injustice itself. Randall Robinson's book on reparations, The Debt,
which is the manifesto of the reparations movement is pointedly sub-titled
"What America Owes To Blacks." If this is not racism, what is?

Six The Reparations Argument Is Based On The Unfounded Claim That All
African-American Descendants of Slaves Suffer From The Economic
Consequences Of Slavery And Discrimination

No evidence-based attempt has been made to prove that living individuals
have been adversely affected by a slave system that was ended over 150
years ago. But there is plenty of evidence the hardships that occurred were
hardships that individuals could and did overcome. The black middle-class
in America is a prosperous community that is now larger in absolute terms
than the black underclass. Does its existence not suggest that economic
adversity is the result of failures of individual character rather than the
lingering after-effects of racial discrimination and a slave system that
ceased to exist well over a century ago? West Indian blacks in America are
also descended from slaves but their average incomes are equivalent to the
average incomes of whites (and nearly 25% higher than the average incomes
of American born blacks). How is it that slavery adversely affected one
large group of descendants but not the other? How can government be
expected to decide an issue that is so subjective - and yet so critical -
to the case?

Seven The Reparations Claim Is One More Attempt To Turn African-Americans
Into Victims. It Sends A Damaging Message To The African-American Community.

The renewed sense of grievance -- which is what the claim for reparations
will inevitably create -- is neither a constructive nor a helpful message
for black leaders to be sending to their communities and to others. To
focus the social passions of African-Americans on what some Americans may
have done to their ancestors fifty or a hundred and fifty years ago is to
burden them with a crippling sense of victim-hood. How are the millions of
refugees from tyranny and genocide who are now living in America going to
receive these claims, moreover, except as demands for special treatment, an
extravagant new handout that is only necessary because some blacks can't
seem to locate the ladder of opportunity within reach of others -- many
less privileged than themselves?

Eight Reparations To African Americans Have Already Been Paid

Since the passage of the Civil Rights Acts and the advent of the Great
Society in 1965, trillions of dollars in transfer payments have been made
to African-Americans in the form of welfare benefits and racial preferences
(in contracts, job placements and educational admissions) - all under the
rationale of redressing historic racial grievances. It is said that
reparations are necessary to achieve a healing between African-Americans
and other Americans. If trillion dollar restitutions and a wholesale
rewriting of American law (in order to accommodate racial preferences) for
African-Americans is not enough to achieve a "healing," what will?

Nine What About The Debt Blacks Owe To America?

Slavery existed for thousands of years before the Atlantic slave trade was
born, and in all societies. But in the thousand years of its existence,
there never was an anti-slavery movement until white Christians -
Englishmen and Americans -- created one. If not for the anti-slavery
attitudes and military power of white Englishmen and Americans, the slave
trade would not have been brought to an end. If not for the sacrifices of
white soldiers and a white American president who gave his life to sign the
Emancipation Proclamation, blacks in America would still be slaves. If not
for the dedication of Americans of all ethnicities and colors to a society
based on the principle that all men are created equal, blacks in America
would not enjoy the highest standard of living of blacks anywhere in the
world, and indeed one of the highest standards of living of any people in
the world. They would not enjoy the greatest freedoms and the most
thoroughly protected individual rights anywhere. Where is the gratitude of
black America and its leaders for those gifts?

Ten The Reparations Claim Is A Separatist Idea That Sets African-Americans
Against The Nation That Gave Them Freedom

Blacks were here before the Mayflower. Who is more American than the
descendants of African slaves? For the African-American community to
isolate itself even further from America is to embark on a course whose
implications are troubling. Yet the African-American community has had a
long-running flirtation with separatists, nationalists and the political
left, who want African-Americans to be no part of America's social
contract. African Americans should reject this temptation. For all
America's faults, African-Americans have an enormous stake in their country
and its heritage. It is this heritage that is really under attack by the
reparations movement. The reparations claim is one more assault on America,
conducted by racial separatists and the political left. It is an attack not
only on white Americans, but on all Americans -- especially
African-Americans. America's African-American citizens are the richest and
most privileged black people alive -- a bounty that is a direct result of
the heritage that is under assault. The American idea needs the support of
its African-American citizens. But African-Americans also need the support
of the American idea. For it is this idea that led to the principles and
institutions that have set African-Americans - and all of us -- free.

Laura Chrisman
Associate Professor, Department of African-American and African Studies
The Ohio State University
486 University Hall, 230 North Oval Mall
Columbus, OHIO 43210
tel: 614-292-7613
fax: 614-292-2293

Louis Proyect
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