Slavery was a grave injustice. There’s no denying that. But, what these Kentucky students want from their college, is an incredible demand, that shows just how far the entitlement mentality can go.
At Western Kentucky University, the Student Government passed a resolution stating that someone owes the black students…something. The resolution said that while the university should acknowledge that the debt of slavery, “it will never be paid.”
Really? Not to be insensitive to the plight of people groups, but the students in question were born to one of the most prosperous countries on the planet. They were given access to free public education, a government that will make sure none of its citizens ever starves, some kind of work for virtually everyone, and that most people have a roof over their heads. Go to other countries, kids. See the children in Africa rummaging through garbage dumps for food because their dad makes about a nickel a day manning a rickshaw.
But they said a task force should be implemented to make sure that it is easier for black students to gain admission to the school. Specifically, they should research options to make admission tests optional and weigh applicants based on their geography. Then they brought up their most ridiculous demand, black students should receive “reparations,” in the form of free tuition.
There are so many problems with this logic. For one, most Americans, black, white, or whatever else, are a genetic molotov cocktail. Deciding who is black is not as easy as it may seem. It’s racism to assume that a person who appears “black” descended from slaves, not to mention erroneous. Not even Barack Obama was a descendant of slaves, and while his skin tone was clearly black, biologically he was like everyone else—a genetic mix.
It’s been 150 years since the Civil War, and that’s a lot of family history to trace. For example, one single black student’s family tree could have slavery coming from one strain, and another strain could be a slaveholding family with roots going back to Boston founding families, while still another could be a Cherokee chief, with still yet another strain being a Haitian immigrant from two generations ago. It’s impossible at this point to determine who are the descendants of slaves and difficult to define, “black.”
Not to mention, and some of the students brought it up, what about other minorities? What about the Native Americans whose land was taken from them? What about the Asians who were exploited in one generation, and in another put into internment camps? What about the Irish who were discriminated against? What about American Jews who endured significant anti-Semitism during World War II? By the time the college would go through the list of everyone who has been wronged, who would be left to pay the college?
But, one of the resolution’s two authors, Andrea Abram, said reparations should be part of the school’s commitment to diversity.
“If you really care about diversity, if you really care about inclusion, if you really care about making this campus safe and accessible to everybody, having the student government’s support of reparation for black students would be amazing,” she said “I have no doubt that it started up conversation already. To me, that’s the first step … The point of a resolution like this is basically to make a huge statement saying that the Student Government Association recognizes the impact that slavery has had on black people today and that changes need to be made.”
Brian Anderson, the resolution’s other author, said, “This is something that I think is more importantly about sending a clear message than it is about actually trying to strive for the institution to actually give out free tuition to everybody.”
They also said the effects of slavery and segregation make it difficult for black youth to attend college. Notwithstanding that most of them were born in the late 1990’s or early 2000’s, a time when “the best rapper in the world was white, and the best golfer was black,” and Bill Cosby chastised the black community for having a poverty mentality. Some of the dissenting opinions included the argument that nothing is free. If black students got free tuition then that means that white students have to pay for it with increased tuition costs.
William Hurst, one of the dissenting votes made the point, “This is something that I think is more importantly about sending a clear message than it is about actually trying to strive for the institution to actually give out free tuition to everybody.”
Another student, Caleb Gross, said it was, “virtue signaling at the expense of other students to make the SGA feel good about themselves.”
The resolution ended up passing, 19–10-1, and while the authors realize that it is quite the request, the are excited to get an important conversation going.
“I have no doubt that it started up conversation already,” Ambam said. “To me, that’s the first step.”
The journey toward racial equality is definitely a hard road, but overcompensation is not the answer. The longer we keep the conversation going, the longer we keep the issue alive. Without wood a fire goes out–without talk, a quarrel dies down.