Many caring and considerate Americans (usually those of a non-Caucasian persuasion) are urging that Americans whose ancestors had the same skin color as long dead slave masters pay reparations to Americans whose ancestors had the same skin color as long dead slaves. They call these transfer payments reparations for slavery, even though no living American has ever held slaves or been enslaved.

Some selfish and entitled Americans (usually those of the Caucasian persuasion) say that the idea of reparations is ridiculous – No living American should be made to pay for a crime, committed over 150 years ago by people who merely had a similar skin color. They also say that reparations are unconstitutional because they work an attainder and a corruption of blood, both of which violate Article III, Section 3, subd. 2 of the United States Constitution (See Reparations – Corruption of Blood or Bloody Mess at at The Meaning of Life ~ World’s Greatest Political Satire!!).

Unlike others of the Caucasian persuasion, I have thought the problem through and concluded that even though reparations will ultimately fail, we’ll have a ball trying to institute them!! Here’s why:

Before we can begin the process of actually paying reparations, we must determine who will pay reparations and who will receive them.  This means we must segregate all Americans into two categories: Those whose ancestors had the same skin color as slaves – the reparations receivers, and those whose ancestors had the same skin color as masters – the reparations payors  After all, how can we set up a payment system without knowing who will pay and who will be paid??? (Re)Segregating Americans will be fascinating, interesting, on the far side of ridiculous, and will push us into a nadir of idiocy and madness. What could be more fun than that!!

How can we (re)segregate?  As I see it, there are three methodologies that could be used for the classification/segregation: a political method; a scientific method; or a practical method.

If we use a political method, we must pass a law (or laws) that will classify all Americans as either descendants of masters or as descendants of slaves. What this new law (or laws) will look like is anyone’s guess, but we do have at least two prior laws to guide us. Maybe we could use one of them! They are:

  1. The Louisiana “1/32” law. This law, which was in force in the great state of Louisiana until April 25, 1862 defined a slave (i.e. a black) as anyone having at least 1/32 African ancestry. (Basically, more than one great-great-grandparent who was African). If this law is used, any American with at least one black ancestor in the last four generations would receive reparations. This method will produce some irony. Americans as white as Edgar Winter might end up receiving reparations, while Americans as dark as Dinesh D’Souza might end up paying them. Of course, applying his law would require oodles of genetic and family tracing (Remember, the ancestry of each ancestor would have to be checked to make sure they were “pure” black). Thank God for!!
  2. The Virginia “One Drop” law. Virginia used a somewhat different method to determine “blackness”. The “One Drop” law classified anyone who had even “one drop” of African blood as black. This is my preferred method of classification because all homo sapiens sapiens (i.e., all humans, all of us) evolved in the Great Rift Valley in East Africa. Since East Africa is in Africa, do we all not only have “one drop” of African blood, every drop of every human’s blood (red cells, platelets, t-cells, plasma, etc.) is, in fact, out of Africa!! Using this classification method, we would all be considered descendants of slaves, and, better yet, we would all get reparations!!! My kind of law!!

If we can’t agree on a political method of classification, we could use a scientific one. As I see it there are two scientific ways to segregate Americans by skin color. They are:

  1. The Skin Reflectivity Method. A color reflectivity standard would be established and all Americans’ skin would have to be tested for reflectivity. Anyone whose skin reflected more light than the reflectivity standard would be classified as a descendent of a master, while anyone whose skin reflected less light than the reflectivity standard would be considered a descendent of a slave. This test would present some political problems: Southern Italian Americans, Turkish Americans, Arab Americans, Aboriginal Americans Indian Americans, and American Indians, and would lobby for a high reflectivity standard so they could be classified as descendants of slaves and receive reparations, while Swedish Americans, Lapland Americans, Scottish Americans, and Eskimo Innuit Americans would urge a low reflectivity standard so people of lighter color would have to pay reparations to fewer people. The setting of the standard will be contentious, but fun to watch.
  2. The Actual Melanin Method. This method would test the actual amount of melanin is each American’s skin. A standard (Melanin Part Per Million or MPPM) would be established and Americans whose skin exceeded the melanin standard would be classified as descendants of slaves, whole those Americans whose skin contained less than the melanin limit would be classified as descendants of masters. Again, the setting of a standard will be difficult (and again, fun to watch!).

If we can’t agree on a political or a scientific method of segregation, we could use a practical method. An American could be classified as a descendant of slaves if he/she actually had ancestors who were slaves and an American would be classified as a descendant of masters if, in fact, they had an ancestor who held slaves. While this method seems the fairest, it is also the most problematic. Besides the heavy-duty reliance on and the fraud and the bribery that would occur, not all living African Americans would receive reparations and almost no Caucasian Americans would have to pay reparations. The real reason for reparations (all white Americans pay money to all black Americans) would not be met. In addition, there would be a few paradoxes. For example, Kamala Harris is black, yet her ancestors held slaves!!!  Would she have to pay reparations to herself?

If reparations are ever instituted, we at MOL have two “compassionate” recommendations:

  1. Caucasian Americans who had an ancestor killed or wounded in the Civil War (which, in case you haven’t heard, was a war to end slavery) receive a 57.2% discount on any reparations they owe; and,
  2. Reparations first be used to repay the Federal government for the cost ($22,000,000,000,000) of all poverty programs since 1965 before making any payments to Americans whose ancestors had the same skin color as slaves.

Oh yes, one final point; if reparations are eventually approved, how shall interest on the payments be calculated? The reparations are, after all, 155-401 years overdue.

It should be noted that those Americans classified as descendants of masters might not (actually, certainly didn’t) have had any ancestors who held slaves. Similarly, Americans classified as descendants of slaves might not have had any ancestors who were, in fact, slaves.
The day New Orleans (which contained most of the population of the state) fell to the Union.
Interestingly, Homer Plessy (Plaintiff in the famous Plessy v. Ferguson Supreme Court case) was only 1/32 African. Even though he looked white (and somewhat French) he still couldn’t ride the railroad.
I have always been opposed to segregation, but since many want reparations today, reparations tomorrow and reparations forever, America must, unfortunately, adopt the credo, Segregation Today, Segregation Tomorrow, Segregation Forever!!  I don’t think this is what Dr. King had in mind!
In 1860, there were 393,000 slave holders in the United States. About 3,000 of them were African American.
364,000 Northern soldiers were killed in the Civil War, 281,000 were wounded.
We can’t use the Prime Rate, it wasn’t invented until 1947.

Alan Bianco
Alan Bianco

I am a retired lawyer living south of the Mason Dixon line. I have always wanted to write on politics and now I do. I write with a twinkle in my eye and in my posts. I hope reading my commentaries makes you think. . . and laugh.