First, accounting; later, reparations?

First, accounting; later, reparations?

Massachusetts Democrats are pushing a bill that would require companies doing business with the state to detail historical connections to the slave tradegoing back almost 400 years.

The sponsors claim that the aim is “to create a historical record of the economic impact slavery had on the state” and the law would require the Secretary of State to research and publish a history of the slave trade in Massachusetts. We have perhaps the highest density of higher education academics in the world in Boston. Isn’t this something that is best dealt with in the private sector rather by taxpayer-funded departments with better things to do presumably?

Of course, the bill’s proponents claims that the law “would not require companies to pay restitution for any profits reaped from the slave trade or prevent corporations that have connections to slavery from winning state contracts.”

Well, not yet anyway. Wait until they have that full accounting researched and published by the Secretary of State.

Will they be satisfied when there are no businesses left in Massachusetts because it’s just plain less bothersome to do business elsewhere?

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  • *We have perhaps the highest density of higher education academics in the world in Boston.*

    Ah, maybe that’s why Massachusetts is so messed up.  MA might as well be on another planet it’s so out of touch with the rest of the country.

  • “Massachusetts Democrats are pushing a bill that would require companies doing business with the state to detail historical connections to the slave tradegoing back almost 400 years.”

    I’d settle for a listing of companies doing business in China. If and when the day comes for a more democratic China, then we can help formerly oppressed Chinese sue the likes of Google, yahoo, etc. who are accomodating repressive policies.

  • I am curious how they will define “Massachusetts”. This is no idle question. Most people don’t know that Massachusetts is missing an important coast it once had: its West Coast, which was important in the slave trade.

    That is, Cumberland, Woonsocket, Pawtucket, East Providence, Warren, Barrington, Bristol, Tiverton and Little Compton were originally part of Massachusetts. Bristol County Massachusetts had its shire town in…Bristol, which was a major and very prosperous port in the Triangle Trade (and has lovely mansions and buildings to this day to show for it). Most of these towns were sold to Rhode Island only in 1747*, halfway through England’s great slave-trading bonanza century (which was its chief benefit from the wars with Spain that ended in 1714).

    * Pawtucket (the part east of the Blackstone River) & East Providence were part of Massachusetts until 1862!

  • The day they decide to give in to the blackmail that is “slave reparations,” is the day I am going to jump on the band wagon and file suit in the Hague for reparations done to my forbears in Ireland by the British Crown.  It has just as much merit as the slavery claim, and means more to me.

    The very concept of reparations is asinine.  If there were any slaves left alive, I could understand it.  If there were any children of slaves, I might be able to bring myself to deal with it.  But those populations do not exist.  What exists today is a group of people who have found a way to ride racial issues all the way to the bank.  And now they want a bigger payout.

    I work with people of all races, and we frequently have debates over this.  The one thing that everyone, black, white, yellow or brown, agrees on is that reparations are stupid.  Most everyone says that if they are offered the money, they would take it… but that the reason is bogus.

  • I don’t think the reasons are stupid, I think the application is. The descendants of black American slaves today live in disproportionate poverty and disadvantage than white Americans. This is not a coincidence. It hasn’t even been a generation since black Americans first started receiving civil rights. This has to be dealt with, but forced reparations is not the answer, because it’s just not practical, and because individuals cannot be held accountable for the sins of their fathers, even though the consequences of those sins remain. We need to address those consequences because we are our brother’s keeper, not because the government is imposing reparations.

  • Jason- You raise a very good point, and in many ways blacks do experience today the legacy of the African Holocaust.

    If they must go the reparations route, perhaps they and current day Africans should also go to the Hague and ask Europe to pay reparations. The legacy of slavery in the Americas goes back to formerly great European empires. And the horrific state of affairs for many Africans today has roots in the oppressive colonial empires from Europe.

  • I saw a historical study that showed that in the early 1900’s Black Americans were progressing financially at the rate immigrants were—especially Working Class Black Americans.
      The big steps backward for Blacks came with the growth of the welfare state which virtually targeted “minority” Americans. So isn’t it the Democratic Party which should be coughing up the reparations, not all of us.