Walter E. Williams

Few Americans have heard of the National Slave Memorial Act (HR 196) that proposes to erect a National Slave Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

Last year, Sen. Trent Lott made this suggestion whilst groveling at the feet of black politicians and civil rights activists after his remarks supporting the 1948 presidency of then-segregationist Sen. Strom Thurmond. Since then, a few Republicans have joined with Democrats to co-sponsor the National Slave Memorial Act.

Supporters say the National Slave Memorial Act will begin the racial "reconciliation" and "healing" process. It's amazing how people can say this with straight faces and believe it.

We've heard this claim as justification for one government program or another, most recently being former President Clinton's "Race Initiative." How much healing and reconciliation did it produce? It simply produced a forum for charlatans, demagogues and race hustlers. If a slave memorial is built on the National Mall, it will simply become a media backdrop for the likes of race hustlers like Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and Black Congressional Caucus to spew their anti-American venom and call for quotas and reparations for slavery.

There's no way the National Slave Memorial Act could become law without the assistance of useful idiots in the Republican Party. You'll recall that "useful idiots" was a term coined by Lenin to describe mindless Western do-gooders who were helpful to communists but nonetheless detested. Republicans can't believe that their support for the National Slave Memorial Act will deliver them more black votes and greater acceptance by the Democrats; that's assuming Republicans have a modicum of good sense. The only other reason why they might support the act is to assuage their feelings of guilt for the injustices of slavery that made a mockery of the values expressed in our Declaration of Independence and Constitution.

Guilt is one of the worse human motivations. It promotes self-serving actions, while ignoring or discounting the effects of those actions on the object of the guilt. I recall my first year as an assistant professor of economics at Temple University in 1973. Black students had demanded that a course in "black economics" be taught. What's worse is that some of my colleagues were giving the demand serious thought.

Not being able to convince me that there was such a thing as black economics, I asked several of my colleagues what would be their response had some Polish or Italian students demanded a course in Polish or Italian economics? I answered the question for them by telling them they'd probably kick the rascals out of their offices.

That was just the tip of the guilt iceberg. One Temple University colleague took me to lunch and confided to me that he was having numerous academic problems with his poorly prepared black students.

I asked him what his response to their poor preparation was. He replied that he tried to take into consideration racial discrimination and the poor education they received. I asked him how he assigned grades, to which he responded: If they come every day and look as if they're taking notes, I give them a "C".

After I recovered, I told him that's very much like having a dog in an English class and one day the dog sits on his hind legs and says, "You not po da do dat." You'd give the dog an "A". Why? You don't expect the dog to speak at all, and no matter what he says you'd deem it laudable.

Motivated by these and other experiences, sometime ago I created a "Certificate of Amnesty and Pardon" for guilt-ridden Americans of European ancestry (available at: www.gmu.edu/departments/economics/wew ) under "Gift" on my webpage. I now extend that gift to Congress and White House supporters of the National Slave Memorial Act.


Walter E. Williams

Dr. Williams serves on the faculty of George Mason University as John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics and is the author of 'Race and Economics: How Much Can Be Blamed on Discrimination?' and 'Up from the Projects: An Autobiography.'
 
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