Op-ed by Rev. Michael Vaughn
There is a town in Illinois that is on the verge of making history, that is they are about to pass legislation that will enable reparations to be paid to Black people in their community! The idea of reparations has been talked about for many, many years and in the “wokeness” of 2021, this idea seems to be on the verge of becoming a reality. There are other communities across the country that are looking at this town and considering similar legislation. And Rochester, in its never leading but always following mindset, has decided to consider reparations as well! Let me humbly say before I continue, that as an African-American I OPPOSE REPARATIONS!
Whew! I said it and was able to get it off my chest. The main reason that I oppose reparations is simply because it will not solve anything! Giving money to people that are so far removed from the original issue is just lunacy. It is nothing more than political pandering that seeks to play on people’s desire to get “free” money. It is true that slavery caused immense harm to black people. However, there is NO WAY that that harm could ever be measured and there is no amount of money that can “pay” for the damages done. To think that it can is to not understand history and to belittle the sacrifice that black people went through in this country.
In my humble opinion, the best way to deal with the ills of slavery is to change policies, procedures and politicians that institutionally and systematically harm black people. For example, the Rochester Teachers Association (RTA) needs to be dissolved. They are one of the biggest groups that uses institutions, schools, to hold back black people. Because of claims of “fear” they held out to keep Rochester’s students from attending in-person learning for as long as they possibly could. During this same time their suburban counterparts were holding hybrid classes and private schools were holding complete in-person classes. That says two (2) things that reparations will NEVER resolve. One, RTA believes that black parents and students are less than their suburban and private school counterparts in that they couldn’t adhere to policies and guidelines meant to keep everyone healthy. Therefore, students needed to miss in-person instruction and stay home. Second, because of this foolish insistence from the RTA, Rochester city school students have essentially lost a year of true learning to their suburban and private school counterparts. This will set black students even further behind academically when they were already trailing. These are the types of things that happen in our community that take policies, procedures and politicians to be changed in order to have black people excel.
Pandering to the black people is my number one complaint of the Democratic party. In slavery they insisted that we weren’t as smart as white people and in 2021 they still believe that we are not as smart as white people. They try to tell us what to think at every turn and keep us “turnt up” emotionally so that we will not see what really is happening to us at their hand. Democrats control the government in America’s urban centers, yet these urban centers are some of the worst places for black people to live, work and educate their children. The Democrats fight vigorously for abortion rights while knowing that abortion kills more black people, proportionately, than other races. Democrats cater to the likes of the RTA while our black students have suffered for years at the hands of a poor educational system, while teacher pay rises. In the span of less than a generation, Democrats have changed the narrative and laws concerning LGBTQ but after more than 50 years, black people are still holding out hope that the Democrats’ promise will come to pass.
Now the Democrats are stating that we need to “pay off” the black people. Realizing that it won’t solve our problems but it will give them and their cohorts in the media more talking points to hopefully win an election cycle or two. Reparations will not solve the problems of black people started by slavery. Only “woke” black people that reject the pandering and demand changes in policies, procedures and politicians in our government will change the ills begun by slavery! Black America WAKE UP!
Rev. Michael Vaughn is senior pastor of New Wineskin Church. Contact him at email@example.com