During a congressional hearing about potential reparations to descendants of slavery Wednesday, former NFL player and Fox News contributor Burgess Owens suggested that if anyone was responsible for paying reparations, it was the Democratic Party.
Owens opposes reparations overall, but he used his testimony to point out some historical aspects of the Democratic Party that he believes make them as, or more, responsible than anyone for paying for the sins of America’s past.
“Let’s point to the party that was part of slavery, KKK, Jim Crow, that has killed over 40 percent of our black babies, 20 million of them,” Owens said. “State of California: 75 percent of our black boys can’t pass a standard reading and writing test. A Democratic state. So yes, let’s pay restitution. How about a Democratic Party pay for all the misery brought to my race and those—after we learn our history—who decide to stay there, they should pay also.”
Owens pointed out that the panel testifying, regardless of their disagreements, was evidence that reparations were not necessary, and would send the wrong message to future generations.
“Look at this panel,” Owens said. “Doesn’t matter how we think. Doesn’t matter our color. We have become successful in this country like no other because of this great opportunity to live the American dream. Let’s not steal that from our kids by telling them they can’t do it.”
Burgess Owens Says Democrats Should Pay Reparations
The focus of the discussion was a bill authored by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) that would initiate a study of the issue of reparations and come up with proposals for “appropriate remedies” to slavery and discrimination from 1619 to the present.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) publicly opposed reparations in comments made Tuesday, saying he doesn’t “think reparations for something that happened 150 years ago when none of us currently living are responsible is a good idea.”
Author Ta-Nehisi Coates, one of the foremost advocates for reparations, responded to McConnell during his testimony Wednesday.
“For a century after the Civil War, black people were subjected to a relentless campaign of terror,” Coates said. “A campaign that extended well into the lifetime of Majority Leader McConnell.”