2016-04-26 (1)

NYT Says This University Should Pay For Their Role In Slavery… Over 170 Years Ago

Those who advocate Georgetown University reparations are punishing the innocent.

The only story behind advocating Georgetown University reparations is that guilt gives accusers leverage.

According to Business Insider,

The New York Times editorial board published a blunt condemnation of the role that slavery played in the formation of Georgetown University.

In the editorial, published in Saturday’s edition, the board said Georgetown has a moral imperative to pay reparations to the descendants of slaves it sold to plantations in the South.

The board wrote:

“In 1838, the Jesuits running the college that became Georgetown sold 272 African-American men, women and children into a hellish life on sugar plantations in the South to finance the college’s continued operation. On that fact, there is no dispute. […]

Georgetown is morally obligated to adopt restorative measures, which should clearly include a scholarship fund for the descendants of those who were sold to save the institution.”

The Times put this number at 12,000 to 15,000 descendants of the 272 enslaved Americans, citing figures from the nonprofit Georgetown Memory Project’s statistical model.

People have done wicked, evil, things in the past. That includes the Jesuits in 1838 regarding slaves. No one disagrees with that.

But if we have a record of the slaves being donated to Georgetown, surely we have a record of the donors. So what reparations do they owe? There is no way the New York Times editorial board can say only Georgetown is responsible for the crimes of slavery. Others were involved—probably including Northeastern business interests who imported slaves in the first place.

But they’re not interested in the other descendants because they might not have any resources. A lot can change in 178 years. For all we know, some of those slave progeny are more wealthy than the descendants of the slave owners. What if one of them was Ben Carson? How is he now suffering because of what happened in 1838?

And the scholarship would be an insult. In real cases of guilt (as opposed to the New York Times’ bullying) the victimizer is made to pay the victim money which the victim can spend on whatever he chooses. Maybe they don’t want to go to Georgetown. Why should a scholarship be counted as reparations?

The bottom line is that a newspaper is calling for the punishment of people who never committed a crime. Instead of pretending to care about evil in the past, the New York editorial board should stop committing evil in the present.

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Joe Scudder

Joe Scudder is the "nom de plume" (or "nom de guerre") of a fifty-ish-year-old writer and stroke survivor. He lives in St Louis with his wife and still-at-home children. He has been a freelance writer and occasional political activist since the early nineties. He describes his politics as Tolkienesque.

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