I don’t know if you know who Burgess Owens is, so I will briefly explain that he is a former professional football player (New York Jets and the Oakland Raiders), a Super Bowl champion (Raiders), University of Miami graduate, corporate executive, motivational speaker, and author. He recently wrote an article in the Wall Street Journal about why he, as a black man who is descended from slaves, is opposed to and offended by the idea of reparations. I do not have his or the Wall Street Journal’s permission to reprint the entire article, so I will just quote the salient passages.
At the core of the reparation movement is a divisive and demeaning view of both races. It grants to the white race a wicked superiority, treating them as an oppressive people too powerful for black Americans to overcome. It brands blacks as hapless victims devoid of the ability, which every other culture possesses, to assimilate and progress. Neither label is earned.
The reparations movement conveniently forgets the 150-years of legal, social and economic progress attained by millions of American minorities. It also minimizes the sacrifice that hundreds of thousands of white Americans and a Republican president made laying down their lives to eradicate slavery. I think [his great-great-grandfather] would believe that this historical loss of life is payment in full. Every proud, contributing and thankful generation of black Americans since would think the same.
The reparation movement also reinforces a spiritual view of racial relationships that is antithetical to America’s Judeo-Christian foundation. It defies the ideals of forgiveness and second chances and scorns individual accountability. Proponents of reparations act as though black Americans are incapable of carrying their own burdens, while white Americans must bear the sins of those who came before.
The idea of reparations demeans America’s founding ideals. A culturally Marxist idea promoted by socialists, reparations denies the promise granted by an omnipotent God that we are truly equal and that regardless of race we are capable of overcoming obstacles and past injustices. By indoctrinating others into this cynical ideology, an elitist class of progressives exploits past differences and ensures that they will divide us in the future.
It is their divisive message that marks the black race as forever broken, as a people whose healing comes only through the guilt, pity, profits and benevolence of the white race. This perception is playing out on our college campuses, where young white Americans claim privilege due to their skin color and young black Americans, with no apparent shame, accept this demeaning of their own color as truth.
As they repeat this mantra, they seem unaware that this perception was also shared by the 1960’s Southern white supremacists of my youth. They have accepted the theory that skin color alone is capable of making one race superior to the other—that through an irremovable white advantage, with no additional effort, values, personal initiative, honesty or education, white Americans will succeed, while black Americans will fail. At its very core this represents the condescending evil of racism.
It certainly does not represent black America’s potential…