A couple of weeks ago, actress Cynthia Nixon landed in hot water when she suggested that giving black people the right of first refusal for pot shop licenses would be a form of “reparations” and a way for the country to begin paying African-Americans back for the sin of slavery. Nixon, who is running against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo in the Democratic primaries, came under fire from black activists for conflating the two issues and trivializing the concept of American reparations.
That controversy, however, did not stop a bar in Portland, Oregon from holding a “Reparations Happy Hour,” in which “black, brown, and indigenous people” could come out, get $10 at the door, and have a good time. The event, as the New York Times described it, was “mostly funded by white people who were asked not to attend.”
From the Times:
Brown Hope, a local activist organization, wanted the event, which was held on Monday, to be a space for people of color in a mostly white city to meet one another, discuss policy issues and plan potential action.
While it was far from the full-scale reparations sought by some as penance for the horrors of slavery and continuing racial injustice, Cameron Whitten, the 27-year-old activist who organized the event, said there was one similarity: It made attendees feel as if their pain were valued and understood.
“It was only $10, but when I saw them I saw their eyes light up,” he said. “What I saw there was that people felt like they were finally seen.”
Like, activists and bars can do whatever they want, but we fail to see how this issue of reparations is ever going to address whatever social justice concerns the left has about how black people are treated in this country. Issues like this only serve to divide us along racial lines (exempting, of course, those white liberals who spend all of their time feeling guilty about America’s history) and put us further away from MLK’s dream of a colorblind country.
This is a country, in case you forgot, that elected a black man for president in 2008 and again in 2012 – quite a racial move forward, especially when you consider what a terrible president Barack Obama actually was. Why would we go backwards from that point and begin dredging up bad ideas that went out of fashion in the days of Southern Reconstruction? The answer is that a lot of people are making a lot of money in the racial grievance industry, so they’re quite willing to keep blacks occupied with politically dead issues instead of admitting that the biggest thing harming them today is their support of the Democratic Party.