Opinion: Response: Reparations have no place in American society

Posted on Oct 17 2018 - 5:50am by Lauren Moses

Re: “A letter calling for reparative justice” (Oct. 9)

The Daily Mississippian recently published a letter to the editor calling for “reparative justice” in response to the social media statements released by Ed Meek a few weeks ago. The writers proposed a three-step plan: remove Meek’s name from the school of journalism and rename it after Ida B. Wells, set up a scholarship fund for black female students entering the program and take down the Confederate soldier monument in The Circle.

This three-step plan is in no way a proportional response to Meek’s comments and goes beyond the scope of necessary actions to repair damage done. Removing Meek’s name from the school is understandable, as he asked the university to do so. However, neither a scholarship fund for female black students not directly affected by these statements nor the removal of the Confederate soldier monument has anything to do with the issue at hand. Instead, this is a pork-barreling tactic employed by the faculty and staff of this institution to promote a liberal agenda. The scholarship fund could cost Mississippi taxpayers thousands of dollars, and monument removal will cost even more, as it did for Dallas and San Antonio. Furthermore, it will serve to increase tensions between liberal and conservative groups on campus. This is not a response Ole Miss can afford.

But, this letter points to a greater issue at hand: reparations. Politicians on the left side of the aisle have been talking about reparations for African-Americans for years in order to right the injustices done them since the institutionalization of slavery in America. While the concept seems virtuous on the surface, lurking below are many questions that have no answer, mainly who should receive reparations and how much is enough. Scholars have worked on answering these questions for years, but their solutions are anything but clarifying. There is simply no way to gauge the amount of harm that has been done to people in the past and to determine who should receive justice since those injustices did not occur in the present.

This leads to another fatal flaw of reparations. If we continue to live in the past, we will never be able to move into the future. Look at the most recent example of astronaut Scott Kelly, who posted a quote from Winston Churchill, “in victory, magnanimity,” on his Twitter feed. He was instantly labeled a racist because Churchill was known to spout demeaning statements against minorities. How is it productive to dismiss the significance of one man in shaping Western society because of some character flaws? If that were the case, no person in the past could be quoted or exemplified by modern standards.

Understanding the past and living in the past are not the same concept. One reminds man of where he is going so he does not repeat the same mistakes. The other cripples growth and further divides society as it marks those in the present with the same identity as those in the past. What was done to minority groups in the past was a horrible, dreadful act of degradation. As a country, we have moved past those institutions, labeling them for what they are. However, that is not how the left perceives societal realities today. Instead of bringing further progression to a more cohesive society, the left has served to alienate an entire population of American society.

Lauren Moses is sophomore accounting and political science major from Dallas.