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African Americans Don’t Need Reparations. We Need Responsibility…
Juneteenth is now celebrated nationwide to commemorate the end of black enslavement in America. It is also a day when black Americans are supposed to celebrate opportunity and self-determination—values prized by those newly freed slaves in Texas.
It is ironic that blacks are still calling for reparations in 2019, and using Juneteenth to do it. We have had many opportunities to put ourselves on equal footing with other Americans and pursue the American Dream. But too many of us have failed to do so.
We failed after the Civil War, during the civil rights era, and with President LBJ’s implementation of the Great Society and its major welfare initiatives. Those were supposed to be revitalizing times for blacks. Yet welfare only increased dependence and destroyed families.
Over the years, black leaders failed to bring their communities to prosperity by promoting and teaching sound principles for economic growth. They also failed to help people use the resources that are available to every American regardless of their ethnic background.
It is said that one reason LBJ built the modern welfare state was to help secure black votes for his party. Yet Democrats’ ill-conceived policies actually caused more poverty in the black community.
It caused more blacks to look for a handout rather than seek a hand up through self-determination. It essentially made the black community increasingly dependent on the government.
Reparations are not the cure for inequality. Successful blacks such as actor Danny Glover and author Ta-Nehisi Coates call for reparations during a period in our history when illegal aliens are being handed benefits intended for disadvantaged American citizens.
Why should blacks want to seek reparations in the 21th century when slavery was ended by the Civil War more than 150 years ago? Why are Congress and others suddenly getting in on the act? It’s merely politics.
Reparations should not be a topic of discussion in today’s America. Progress and success should be our focus as we strive to achieve the American Dream. We should focus on keeping America great, not looking for another huge socialist payout.
Congress should instead be reminding black Americans that opportunities already exist for them as they have existed for generations. It’s up to individuals to take advantage of these opportunities and strive to succeed.
Let’s flip the script from reparations to personal responsibility. The latter will bring about lasting results that a reparations check can never do.

Emery McClendon is a member of the Project 21 black leadership network and a tea party activist in the state of Indiana.
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