A fledgling black group that’s been around for a few years, the ADOS (American Descendants of Slavery), is unwittingly on a path that will make tRump’s reelection easier. The group is taking the position that they will not support any Democratic candidate for president that does not come out strongly for reparations — a position that Barack Obama never really took, and for obvious reasons: He wanted to get elected.
Over the years I’ve written extensively about reparations, an idea I strongly support. But alas, I know that politically it’s not going to be embraced by enough politicians to make it a reality, at least not in my lifetime, and probably not yours. For the nonce, it’s a third-rail political issue, one that is opposed by enough voters so as to be an albatross around the neck of any candidate that embraces it too strongly or openly.
The ADOS folks are well-meaning, I can only suppose, but they do come off a bit obtuse. One of the latest hobby horses they are riding has to do with British actress Cynthia Erivo being cast in the role of Harriet Tubman. Their position is that only someone whose ancestors were slaves in America is qualified to play that role. Really?
It’s certainly true that someone that emigrated from, say, Nigeria, might not know as much about the conditions blacks in this country had to live under during slavery. But it’s also true that if a young Nigerian man is stopped by a white cop in America he’s going to be treated in the exact same manner as a native-born black young man. We live in a pigmentocracy and the Klansmen only see color, not national origins.
For the ADOS to attempt to balkanize blackness — to separate rather than bring us together in the face of the prejudices people of color face in this country — is beyond juvenile and dumb: it borders on criminal stupidity.
If the Democrat who eventually faces off against Trump comes out too vociferously for reparations, the candidate is going to lose the votes of some whites who otherwise would have voted for them. So the candidate’s dilemma is, do they acquiesce to the demands of the ADOS folks to gain their (at best) few thousand votes, or do they remain mute on the issue in order to not lose the votes of perhaps millions of folks?
Some pundits are already saying that the ADOS membership is in cahoots with conservatives who want to see tRump reelected. This may or may not be true. But for sane black folks, getting rid of tRump is more important than a Democratic candidate passing some kind of wacky litmus test on reparations.
I sincerely believe that all of the Democratic candidates are of the opinion that black descendants of slavery deserve some form of reparations (for me that would be huge investments in a quality educational system, not cutting checks to individual black folk). But to try to twist their arms to say so publically is not only stupid but is counterproductive, unless, of course, your goal is to get tRump reelected.
From CoolCleveland correspondent Mansfield B. Frazier mansfieldfATgmail.com. Frazier’s From Behind The Wall: Commentary on Crime, Punishment, Race and the Underclass by a Prison Inmate is available in hardback. Snag your copy and have it signed by the author at http://NeighborhoodSolutionsInc