Yesterday’s Business Section of the NY Times waded deeper into the subject of slavery reparations. There were actual financial calculations ranging from $71.08, for every African American who could prove descent from the 1860 slave census, to $80,000 each. At four million slaves in 1860, the worst case scenario would cost taxpayers $2.6 Trillion.
If this absurd quest to right an old wrong is to be dealt with fairly it only stands to reason that the restitution for slavery should fall appropriately on those who established it, profited from it, and continued Black oppression through the KKK and Jim Crow – White Anglo-Saxon Protestants, affectionately known as WASPs.
Of course, not all WASPs had slaves and the greatest abolitionists were WASPs, including President Lincoln. The Civil War that ended slavery cost some 500,000 Union soldiers their lives or limbs, overwhelmingly WASPs. Although there were a few Italians on both sides of the struggle, our people didn’t come en masse to America until decades after slavery ended. We, ourselves, had no easy time with the WASPs.
When in 1891, the city fathers led a mob in New Orleans to murder eleven Sicilians as “mafiosi,” neither the city nor the U.S. Congress wanted to pay reparations after the victims were found innocent. Instead, President Benjamin Harrison paid each Italian family $2,500 out of his Executive budget to placate the Italian government. And, only this year has the city of New Orleans offered an apology for the crime, thanks to an appeal by Mike Santo and John Fratta of New York’s Sons and Daughters of Italy.
Make no mistake. Slavery was a grave injustice perpetrated on Africans. But it was a WASP construct from Day One. In fact, I recall a document I found in the NY Public Library dating from the 1600s – a letter written by Virginia planters to the English Parliament requesting the importation of Black slaves. The gentlemen planters complained about the having to farm in the intense heat, that Black slaves were better equipped to handle. That’s what started it.
I sometimes wonder if Italians had settled the colonies first, would they have needed slaves? Sweating is something our people did quite well. In fact, after the slaves were freed in 1865, southern planters welcomed Sicilians to Louisiana to cut sugar cane.
But the crimes of WASPs didn’t end with importing slaves. As DNA studies show the average African American is almost one-quarter White. Northern abolitionists frequently condemned slave owners for serial rape of Black women. Slave quarters were harems for the master, his sons, and overseers. Thomas Jefferson’s liaisons with his slaves was only the tip of the iceberg. Southern WASPs publicly condemned “amalgamation” while they spent their nights coupling with their “property.” Sometimes they did right by their victims, freeing them or bequeathing property. But most WASP degenerates multiplied their slave holdings with their own mulatto offspring.
So now, we are told that all non-Black Americans must accept the penalty for WASP abominations. We are informed that we all enjoy White Privilege and America’s bounty which arose from Black slavery and a century of discrimination. To ease our pain, the reparations would come from “the government,” most likely with money diverted from the federal budget or just added to the national debt.
Perhaps the best way to short-circuit this talk of reparations is to aim it at WASPs entirely. It’s mainly their blood that courses through African American veins. From the start it was a WASP-African adventure that brought us this surreal dilemma.
WASPs rightly acclaimed Christopher Columbus in 1892 for his gift of the New World, but now they wish to hang on him their own sins against African Americans and Indigenous people. Distorting his legacy to distract from WASP skullduggery is clearly a red herring.
If blood is thicker than water, I suggest Black and White Anglos work out their own settlement of reparations to keep it in the family. They might also demand reparations from the African kingdoms that captured their ancestors and sold them to WASP slavers. They can add to list of contributors the Creole French of Louisiana, the slave-holding Cherokee Indians, and some Scots-Irish.
As for Italian American guilt, count us out! -JLM