By Kathleen Brush, Ph.D. MBA
Kathleen Brush researched waves of immigrants to America beginning in 1607 to identify candidate receivers and payers of reparations. In her new book, Reparations for All or None, she unpacks important insights. In discussions today, candidates for reparations are assumed to be the descendants of slaves, but using a yardstick of acceptable and legal behaviors today, millions of others endured a similarly unbearable existence. Candidate payers of reparations are assumed to be taxpayers, but this places injustice on top of injustice. Most taxpayers are candidates for reparations.
Brush identifies and elaborates on why specific ethnic, racial, social, and religious groups are candidate recipients, and she does the same for the nations, groups, and individuals that are candidate payers. She also notes a major problem with potential payers and receivers. “Actions considered inhumane today were legal and ordinary yesterday. History is like that; it never measures up to modern standards.”
Reparations for All of None starts with an important but muted premise. America was doomed. Nations that enjoyed peace and prosperity were racially, ethnically, and religiously homogenous. That was neither the Thirteen Colonies nor the United States. In the 18th and 19th centuries, experts predicted that America would fail from conflict inherent in diverse populations. Brush said, “It’s a wonder it did not. Animosities filled the air. Racial, ethnic, and religious discord were part of life in America.” Brush notes, “the United States is still not out of the water because policymakers are naïve about diversity dynamics.”
“Immigrants have been streaming to our shores for hundreds of years, and government leaders are obtuse to the complex interactions of diverse populations. They act as if it’s normal for diverse nations to resemble a courteous forum at the United Nations. What other explanation could there be for passing the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to address a long history of racial, ethnic, or religious animus, and passing, in 1965, the most open immigration policy in the world. Pouring unlimited diversity on top of a nation that just committed to trying to end animosities among its current diverse population was reckless. Adding Great Society policies in 1964/1965 on top of this, however well intentioned, made things worse for any melting in the pot.”
American naivete on diversity dynamics is why problems are unaddressed or wrongly addressed. “The year 1965 ends the long era of black and white America. Today, more than 25% of Americans are neither African- nor European-American. For the diverse immigrants arriving after 1965, life in America is a relative cakewalk, but nativist African-, European- and Native American populations are experiencing issues related to increased biases and competition, but legislators stuck in a black and white America are wearing blinders.”
These blinders have real consequences. “Immigrants have always been America’s ultimate source of competitive advantage. But the advantage has three pre-requisites. America must inspire immigrants to work hard to become self-reliant, immigrants must be law-abiding, and Americans must up their game. The government has been granting immigrants blanket pre-req waivers for being self-reliant and law abiding. This dilutes the power of immigrants and increases the potential for harm to Americans. The damage to the United States because all Americans are not upping their game is incalculable. Many African- and Native Americans, in particular, are falling behind as competitors for jobs and other resources. This is a source of cascading problems that are tied to misdiagnosing problems as products of racism.”
Brush said, “bad policy decisions and misguided activism is fueled by historical revisionists portraying America as the home of irredeemably white-supremacist Jim Crow clones, and of white privileged people who were genocidaires who stole the land of Indians, sponsored the cruelest episode of slavery in the world, robbed the land of Mexicans, and uniquely interned American citizens during WWII because they were from a different race. None of this is true, but politicians and aligned media outlets see opportunities in bad history. This has translated into deteriorating race relations, increasing hate crimes, and income and educational stagnation for some racial groups. “All of this jeopardizes continuing peace and prosperity.” Reparations for All or None sets the record straight.
Revealing the facts so readers can draw their own conclusions
This is the third book by Brush that examines race in America and the world. Like her other books, Reparations for All or None, is heavily annotated, and assertions are carefully substantiated. Many citations are from prior centuries. “Some of the data will take many by surprise because it contradicts current revisionist narratives that have been cited so often people think it’s true.” Global context is added throughout the book so the reader can compare America’s history on a myriad of essential issues, such as forced labor, protecting freedoms, redress payments, dividing the nation by race, internment camps, treatment of indigenous populations, and woke movements. To supply global context, Brush draws on 12 years of research. This includes onsite research in 114 countries.
Sample topics are divided into the misguided U.S. government post 1964/1965, and candidates for reparations
The misguided U.S. government
America’s epic fail. The failure of the government to contemplate the combined impact of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act, and the Great Society (1964–1965) counts among the grossest acts of U.S. government negligence. This combo is the root cause of today’s racially and ethnically disproportionate outcomes and conflict.
The world’s largest hate crime hoax. The vertical trajectory of so-called “social justice,” wokism, and a movement for equity was propelled by the chimerical bogeymen of white racism, supremacism, and privilege. Propelled by the zeitgeist of falsely maligning white people, the President joined in and declared the greatest threat to the homeland is white supremacist terrorists.
Refugee policy. Accommodating refugees, including asylum seekers, has meant watering down America’s steadfast requirements that immigrants be self-reliant and have good moral character. Many refugees become long-term public charges, and many do not have a good moral character. Refugee policies have also become a backdoor for getting around immigration law. There are multiple ways that “refugees” can live in America without meeting the definition of a refugee, and millions do.
Racializing America. The government had been tabulating residents by select ethnicities, but after 1965, there were too many. The government condensed thousands of ethnicities into two and manufactured racial categories. Using these contrived categories, the government produces thousands of reports that have ended up racializing America. These have been abused by the government, media, and activists to stoke racial conflict. Stoking conflict is a major reason many nations refuse to define their populations by race.
Deprecating Americas essential homogenizing values. American politicians are in the dark on the relationship between immigrants adopting American values, and peace, and prosperity. Legislators have made it okay for immigrants to be criminals and public charges. This is presented by progressive politicians as ‘this is who we are as Americans.’ But that’s not who Americans are. Americans are law abiding, hard-working, and self-reliant and they expect the same from noncitizens.
Japanese redress payments. Racism was the basis used by the U.S. government to pay reparations to Japanese citizens and noncitizens interned during WWII. It had nothing to do with racism and everything to do with the successive bombings and occupations of American lands. But why was America paying reparations to anyone? America’s internment camps were virtual country clubs compared to those hosted by others, like Japan.
Hate crimes are committed by all people. Most believe that white people dominate hate crimes because that is what they hear. Although there are 132 million American minorities, the government does a very poor job of reporting on minority-white hate crimes, and it does not report on intra-minority hate crimes. This wrongly perpetuates the myth of whites as born racists.
Preserving the history of forced labor. Activists and the media leverage exaggerated revised histories of slavery that paint America as evil, while America’s adversaries join in. How do they handle their histories of slavery? They marginalize and censor it. The world is happy for the United States to own the history of slavery.
White privilege. The evolution of European American immigrant groups from deplorables and expendables to privileged is shameful. Take the Irish Catholics. They were hated so badly, Americans illegally deported them. They were given dangerous jobs because, unlike slaves, they had no value. They lived in the most horrendous accommodations. They were denied the rights to vote and practice their faith. They were detested into the 20th century. Today, they are cast as people of white privilege.
Education as a source of unity or division. In the 1800s, an important goal of public schools was to unify diverse children to be proud Americans. In the 21st century, schools are dividing diverse students and damning America.
Candidates for reparations
A hell hole of discrimination. Every European immigrant group to America faced discrimination until they adopted the American values of hard work, speaking English, self-reliance, and obeying the law. Immigrants faced no need to apply signs. They were rented the worst apartments, given the worst jobs, paid the lowest wages. Many were denied the rights to live in some states, to vote, practice their faiths, and attend some forums. Millions were denied all freedoms.
Candidate payers and receivers of reparations. Candidate recipients include the descendants of most immigrants arriving before 1964. Candidate payers include: the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Nigeria, Russia, the United States, colonial proprietors, and descendants of slaveholders who are African-, European-, and Native-Americans.
Forced labor. American history had long periods of forced labor for blacks, Native Americans, and whites. History curriculums give the most consideration to black slavery, any mention of Native American slavery is by whites as enslavers, and the forced labor of whites is, at best, a footnote. The latter two are bad history. The enslaving and trading of Native American slaves was far more common among Native American tribes. The largest and most enduring source of forced labor was white indentured servants.
Poor whites. There is little disagreement that poor southern whites lived in worse conditions than black slaves. Their conditions never seemed to improve. In part it’s because slavery dramatically curtailed job opportunities, and in part, it’s because they had no advocates. People found poor whites to be wretched —white trash. Little has changed.
Slave, servants, and free people. There are several grim aspects of slave life that have been emphasized in revisionist histories. This includes hard labor, corporal punishment, the rape of women, breaking up families, and being denied an education. These characteristics would be equally dreadful if they happened to non-black people in the United States. And they did. In the same period of history.
Indigenous populations. Historical revisionists portray Americans as genocidaires and land thieves. Neither is true. Just as importantly, no country has treated its indigenous populations more fairly than the United States.
All women pre-1965 qualify for reparations. Women were chattel. Rape was a property crime.
Single women were assumed to be dishonorable, and that made rape virtually legal. Into the 19th century, disobedient wives could be legally beaten. Into the 20th century, wages for women were so low, it was impossible to live without a man.
The myth of stealing land from Mexican Americans. After the Mexican American War (1848), about 1,000, or about 1.33% of new Mexican Americans claimed land. About 750 were validated as landowners, and 250 were unable to validate their claim. Plenty believe there were more invalidated claims, but many don’t know that most Mexican Americans were landless peasants.
Immigrant exclusions. Reams have been written about the racist 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, but immigration policies targeted far more people who had European ethnicities. The Irish Catholics were illegally deported. Jews and Catholics were turned away based on subjective assessments. The “racially inferior” Italians and Poles were legislatively targeted for exclusion.
Additional facts and conclusions
People cast as white privileged have been taught by their parents to embrace the key American values of advancing their education, working hard and self-reliance, speaking English and honoring the law. Parents that don’t encourage the same have underprivileged children. In the twisted land of social justice, the former is denigrated, and the latter is celebrated.
It seems impossible today that there could be ethnic cleansing in the United States. But an unpublicized outcome of cities that have a mix of Latino and black gangs has been episodes of the ethnic cleansing of blacks. Blacks in Latin America face horrendous discrimination and these beliefs are imported with immigrants to America.
The 1965 Immigration Act has brought many immigrants from strongly patriarchal cultures. In many of the popular homelands for immigrants, it is legal or condoned for a man to beat a wife for any number of infractions, like burning dinner or refusing sex. Marital rape is impossible. A belief in women as second-class citizens is imported to America. Sexual assaults have risen in America. Honor killings, and female genital mutilation, once unheard of in the United States, occur with an increasing frequency.
The bias against poor whites is the oldest bias in America. It dates back to 1607 and, with the exception of biases against women, affects more Americans than any other bias.
In the 21st century, it seems impossible that governments in the United States have been crafting racist programs only available to BIPOC (black, indigenous, and people of color). Excluding a race, even if it is white, is racist and illegal.
Whoopi Goldberg opined that it’s worse, to target someone based on a readily identifiable characteristic, like skin color, than to intentionally look up addresses or examine people for an identifier, like a gold star or cross. Survivors and descendants of genocides and ethnic cleansings would disagree. Ninety-nine percent of victims were not selected because of their race.
The United States had the strongest abolitionist movement in the world.
The United States was the only nation to engage in a war to end slavery.
For one to two hundred years, the new United States had four recurring and competing priorities. First, maintain sovereignty. Second, live in peace with the Indians. Third, end slavery, and fourth, advance the ideal that all people are created equal.
America led the world in ending a belief in superior and inferior populations. FDR leveraged the expected Allied victory to end a world configured by empires and beliefs about superior and inferior populations. America’s history of defending sovereignty from empires and endless conflict among diverse populations made his solution seem prescient. There was greater success ending empires than ending beliefs about superior and inferior populations.
In the 17th century, the ratio of forced labor to free labor was about 4:1. Most were white indentured servants. Most servants died before their terms were completed.
America was a place for deplorables. The British, French, and Germans emptied their nations of despicable people by sending them to the Thirteen Colonies and later the USA. More than 15% of total British immigrants between 1700 and 1775 were forced to labor for 14 years — a virtual death sentence. These deplorables were mostly petty thieves, political prisoners, and those with minor unpaid debts. Others deplorables were orphans and unwed mothers.
Having value to an owner, often worked in a slave’s favor. Voyage comforts for slaves were superior and death rates generally lower. Slaves weren’t assigned dangerous jobs, including jobs where diseases were spreading. Slaves often received favorable court outcomes and they could be spared debilitating punishments. Slaves were entitled to fair treatment in terms of food, shelter, and medical care. For many free people, these were unaffordable luxuries.
Much is made of the shame of America “repatriating” Mexican American citizens during the Great Depression and interning Japanese American citizens in WWII. Little is said about most citizens being minors born in the United States to non-Americans. In these times, orphanages and foster parents were hard to come by.
There are regular stories of America stealing the southwest from Mexico. Missing are references to spoils of war, both countries signed and ratified the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, and Mexico was compensated with $600 billion (2020 dollars) for mostly undeveloped land, that few Mexicans called home. This was an enormous sum for a nation with precarious finances.
Mexican Americans were among the first “immigrant” groups to say they faced racism in the United States. Mexican Americans were treated no better or worse than other immigrants.
A California governor’s declaration that they were engaged in a war of extermination between whites and Indians, is promoted as evidence that whites intended to commit genocide. This ignores the mutuality of the goal. Many Indian tribes were on a mission to make the “white man” extinct.
Unlike the United States, which immediately began enforcing abolition, most countries did not. Some nations had timelines that defined a gradual program, some took their time, and some didn’t enforce abolition. Some still don’t.
The U.S. Constitution prohibits a religious test for holding public office. Like all men are created equal, this was another ideal, that took centuries to achieve.
Back to Africa movements were hosted by the British and Americans. Many blacks and whites believed that blacks would experience the bonhomie of racial homogeneity in Africa. Why? Non-racial bonhomie was the reason Europeans came to America. There was no racial bonhomie in America either, but there were opportunities not to starve.
Assessing any reparations for Native American slavery is very difficult. The British, French, and Spanish are candidate payors, but most responsibility falls on the Indian tribes active in the Indian slave trade from New Spain, New France, the Thirteen Colonies, and the American southwest.
Into the 19th century, whipping and flogging were common tools of legal justice for men, women, and children in the Thirteen Colonies and the United States who broke certain rules, customs, and laws.
During WWII, Congress approved the admission of 10,000 British children, but denied refuge to 20,000 Jewish children with American sponsors. Eventually, in 1944, the U.S. accepted about 1,000 Jewish refugees that were housed in an internment camp. FDR promised Americans they would return to Europe after the war.
Japan interned an estimated 130,000 civilians from the West, including many Americans. Internees were poorly fed, some were used for slave labor, some were tortured, some killed, some raped, and some were victims of biological warfare and vivisection experiments. An estimated 14,000 western civilian internees died. Japan’s internment of Asian civilian enemy aliens is counted in the millions. From 1.2 to 1.6 million died.
Biography: Kathleen Brush, Ph.D. MBA
Kathleen Brush, Ph.D. MBA has been focused on examining the origins and implications of combining heterogenous populations in the United States and the world.
Kathleen’s Ph.D. is in management and international studies, and she is a management consultant. Nicknamed the “Hatchet Woman” she previously spent twenty years as a turnaround executive, where she held positions as CEO, GM, and CMO. She has also taught at multiple universities. In 2018, Kathleen was the alumni of the year and commencement speaker at Florida Atlantic University.
Kathleen is an avid researcher and writer in her areas of specialization. Her articles and interviews have been published by Fox, CNBC, Fox Business, Washington Post, Newsweek Japan, The Street, Financial Times China, Bloomberg Businessweek, The Washington Times, The Washington Examiner, American Thinker, Black Enterprise, and Entrepreneur Magazine.
Her books include America’s Discrimination Circus; Racism and Anti-Racism in the World: before and after 1945. A Brief History of International Relations: The World Made Easy. Watch Your Back; and The Power of One: You’re the boss.
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The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Citizens Journal.