Saturday, November 28, 2020

Reparations are not worth a dime

I have always been aware of the extremely complex and sensitive nature of race relations in America, I was reminded of this after talking to a political activist at the Union Activities Board when I attended a group viewing of the presidential debate.

Then, somehow we started talking about how biased history books are in misrepresenting the role of women and minorities. This woman was particularly concerned about the underplaying of the roles of prominent African American figures such as Elijah McCoy and Granville T. Woods. Granville is responsible for perfecting the telephone. Bell’s invention would not have worked over long distances without Woods’ contribution. McCoy’s invention, dubbed the “real McCoy” was a simple, yet revolutionary oiling device used in engines.

I believe in giving credit due where credit is deserved, but this woman wanted more than that. This woman wanted reparations. She claimed that if your relatives came to this country after about 1880, it was due to the inventions of a black man. Although this may be true, who on earth would we award the money to, provided that the government is willing to give it out?

Shall we award money to all African American citizens whose relatives were here before this time? By the way, who is black and who is white? A light skinned, fair-haired person, for all we know, could be the direct ancestor of Elijah McCoy. The fact is that most African Americans, assuming that their family hasn’t come recently from Africa, probably has some Caucasians relatives. Many Caucasians have black relatives. This is especially true if you have ancestry in the South. The fact is that most Americans are a heterogeneous blend of ethnicities and races, although we too often forget it.

How are a few extra dollars in one’s pocket really going to solve the problem of racial injustice anyway? The idea of promoting tolerance and understanding for the accomplishments of all races of people is what should be embraced.

Megan Cottrell
political science sophomore

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