A Congressional subcommittee tackled the question of whether or not African Americans should receive reparations for the United State’s history of slavery and racial injustice.

Congressman Mike Johnson was at the hearing, and spoke out against the idea. He says American taxpayers shouldn’t be on the hook for actions taken while they were not alive.

“A lot of the vestiges of that have been removed over the decades, in part to changing societal attitudes, in part to federal programs that have been passed.”

Johnson was jeered at the meeting by some attendees while making his statements.

But proponents of the measure say the US government’s history abusing the black population isn’t just restricted to the years before the end of the Civil War. Southern Professor Albert Samuels says African Americans lack generational wealth for a reason.

“The typical black family has 1/10th of the wealth that the typical white family has. That’s not just because of slavery, but also a lot of policies they have engaged in since the end of formal slavery.”

Samuels says some of the policies include Jim Crow Laws, keeping blacks out of New Deal housing financing, and blocking black vets from receiving the GI Bill.

Johnson argues the plan is unconstitutional, and unfeasible. He says even major civil rights leaders and other prominent African Americans have come out against the idea.

“The NCAA’s assistant director himself called it, quote, an illogical, diversionary, and paltry way out for guilt ridden whites, unquote, and Barrack Obama of course opposed reparations.”

Samuels says the logistics of reparations would be complicated, but it warrants further study by a Congressionally appointed commission, because it raises serious questions about our nation’s central narrative…

“Are we really as good as we say we are? Are we really as exceptional as we say we are? It says that slavery is at the center of the narrative of American history, it’s not a peripheral subject.”

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