Rep. Burgess Owens, R-Utah, opposed reparations for slavery, likening it to “wealth redistribution” and “socialism” whereas calling for Black People to view themselves as a individuals with a proud historical past as a substitute of as oppressed victims.
Owens, whose great-great-grandfather was a slave, condemned slavery as an “evil observe,” however mentioned that “reparations just isn’t the best way to proper our nation’s wrongs” throughout a listening to earlier than the Home Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Structure, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties.
The listening to concerned dialogue of a invoice that Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, reintroduced, calling for an exploratory committee to check and develop proposals for reparations, usually outlined as compensation for victims of racial injustice.
“It’s impractical and a non-starter for america to pay reparations,” Owens mentioned Wednesday. “It’s also unfair and heartless to present Black People the hope that this can be a actuality. The truth is that Black American historical past just isn’t one in every of a hapless, hopeless race oppressed by a extra highly effective white race. It’s as a substitute a historical past of tens of millions of middle- and wealthy-class Black People all through the early twentieth century reaching their American dream.”
Owens went on to say that the idea of reparations is much from a brand new concept, saying it has been tried over the previous century, and “resulted within the distress and loss of life” of greater than 100 million individuals.
“It is referred to as redistribution of wealth, or socialism,” he clarified.
Owens regarded with delight to developments Black People have achieved in his lifetime. He famous that when he entered the NFL in 1973 there have been no Black quarterbacks, facilities or center linebackers, which have been identified on the time as “White, considering man positions.”
Now, he mentioned, the U.S. has elected a Black president and a Black vp.
“It is referred to as progress,” he mentioned.
Owens concluded by stressing the significance of recognizing Black historical past.
“As soon as we lose our historical past we lose delight in our previous, appreciation for our current, and a imaginative and prescient for our future,” he mentioned. “If we’re honest about repaying Black People for our loss, let’s give us again our historical past.”