Burgess Owens Rejects Slavery Reparations: ‘We Believe in Commanding Respect Through Meritocracy’

House Judiciary / YouTube

Rep. Burgess Owens (R-UT) expressed his opposition to “slavery reparations” Wednesday during his opening remarks as ranking member of a House Judiciary subcommittee on civil rights and civil liberties.

Owens described black Americans’ history as one of success and overcoming adversity.

“Reparations is not the way to right our country’s wrongs,” Owens stated, “It is impractical and a non-starter for the United States government to pay reparations. It is also unfair and heartless to give black Americans the hope that this is a reality.”

Owens added, “The reality is that black American history is not one of a hapless, hopeless race oppressed by [a] more powerful white race. It is instead a history of millions of middle class and wealthy black Americans throughout the early 20th century achieving the American Dream.”

Proposals for “reparations” are a manifestation of Marxist and communist ideology, Owens asserted.

“The theory of reparations is nothing new,” Owens held. “It’s been tried over the last 100 years, resulting in the misery and death of a hundred million men, women, and children. It’s called redistribution of wealth, or socialism. Instead of that theory, I’d like to share the reality of a race whose history of success in America has been stolen and what we could do to repair that damage.”

Owens said he was taught to believe in “God, country, family, respect for women and authority” while growing up in the 50s and 60s in Tallahassee, FL. He said, “We were taught respect for our flag, and raised by [a] generation of men who fought for it.”

“If we’re sincere about repaying black Americans for our loss, let’s give us our history,” Owens remarked, “that includes a history of we the people, whose dear Christian values have granted every generation the opportunity to look at each other better from inside out, not outside in.”

Owens added, “We believe in commanding respect through meritocracy. … You can’t demand or beg for respect, you can only command respect.”

Via Twitter, Owens described “reparations” as a Democrat strategy to purchase votes. He wrote, “Reparations are not about helping the black community, it’s about getting votes. Want to help the black community(& everyone else)? Let us get back to work, let our kids go back to school, let our parents decide which school, and get planned parenthood out of our inner cities!”

Owens said, “We first need to recognize and understand the pride of my race, the pride of those who came before us, and that they cannot be forgotten or disappear because they worked too hard to command respect of our fellow Americans.”

“I feel if we do that, if we change our policies so that black American youth [can] take advantage of the same things that all other Americans can do, then we will take again our place as one of the most impressive races in our nation,” Owens concluded.

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