On Tuesday, presidential aspirant Beto O’Rourke said in an interview with The Root that he is in favor of reparations for descendants of black slaves but with one caveat.
I would support those steps that would allow us to repair the damage done and to stop visiting this kind of injustice on future generations. But I am convinced in a democracy, unless everybody understands the story of this country — and most people do not — you’ll never get to that action or that end result.
Roots writer Terrell Jermaine Starr understandably had concerns with O’Rourke’s precondition, responding, “So, if you wait on people to get a conscience, then it [the cash payout] will never happen.”
After reading another tangentially related article at The College Fix, I find myself thinking that maybe Beto is on to something. The focus is an opinion piece appearing at a website called RaceBaitr, which describes itself as “a platform created to explore the various ways race is expressed and defined with the goal of creating a world without all of its intersecting oppressions.” The author of the piece, which is titled “Seeing poor white people makes me happy,” is Nicholas Powers, a professor at SUNY Old Westbury.
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The RaceBaitr article has since been deleted, but The College Fix located an archived version, which begins:
“Should I kick him in the face? Hard? No, chill, he’s not worth it. But why is this white boy begging for money in a Black neighborhood? Is he stupid?”
I shake the evil out of my head and go into the subway. He comes every Spring. The homeless white boy flaps down like a dirty migratory bird, makes himself a nest from garbage and sleeps on the sidewalk. A sign on his shopping cart asks for money — I never give. I should tho ‘cause he makes me feel good.
White people begging us for food feels like justice. It feels like Afro-Futurism after America falls. It feels like a Black Nationalist wet dream. It has the feels I rarely feel, a hunger for historical vengeance satisfied so well I rub my belly. [Emphasis in the original]
A paragraph later, Powers writes:
I know it’s not a good look. … I have the ghost of Martin Luther King Jr. in my head like a life coach exhorting me to ‘be my best self,’ ‘show compassion to those who spite you,’ ‘turn the other cheek’ and ‘don’t give our enemies more reasons to hate us.’
But then the devil on his other shoulder speaks up:
I need to kick Martin Luther King Jr. out of my head. Go f*ck another secretary Martin! [Profanity in the original redacted]
I’m tempted to write here Imagine if a white person had said that, by why bother. A black man with a good job in a respectable university system said it, and that’s all we need to know.
Nope, Beto for once is right. Before even a syllable is expended on another conversation about black reparations, some remedial education needs to take place.