The United Nations' Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent has released a report written in 2016 that concludes that the United States’ history of slavery and treatment of African-Americans warrants paying reparations. This is a thorny issue that’s been argued for decades. Supporters claim inherit racism and the legacy of slavery hold back Black Americans. Opponents point out that the US government fought a bloody war to end slavery a century-and-a-half ago, that there have already been trillions of dollars spent on Great Society and affirmation action programs, and the money to pay reparations would come largely from descendants of people whose ancestors came here after the Civil War and had nothing to do with slavery.

But I’m not going to rehash the arguments. Instead, let’s talk about something that I think every honest person of good will can agree on: the UN is full of it. This is less about racial justice than about treating America as a piñata full of money. Yes, slavery is a shameful part of American history, but why single out only America to pay reparations? America wasn’t even the biggest importer of slaves. According to award-winning historian Hugh Thomas’ landmark book, “The Slave Trade, The Story of the Atlantic Slave Trade: 1440-1870,” approximately 11,108,000 African slaves were delivered to the Americas alive. About half a million were brought to British North America; most went to the West Indies, Central America and South America (Brazil alone took around 5 million.) But is the UN demanding reparations from those nations? And how about the nations that didn’t have slaves but eagerly sold them? Not a peep. Extra irony: this report echoes an earlier report by a coalition of Caribbean nations demanding reparations. According to Thomas, the West Indies imported ten times more African slaves than the US.


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And as long as we’re on the subject: while slavery as it existed in the 1800s is now illegal worldwide, the Walk Free Foundation, a human rights organization, estimates that nearly 36 million people are enslaved today, under the modern definition of possessing or controlling a person to exploit them in violation of their rights. That includes people trapped in forced labor or the sex trade. About 70% of all currently enslaved people live in 10 nations, including Thailand, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Congo, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russia, China and at #1 with over 14 million enslaved people, India. I won’t hold my breath waiting for the UN to pass an Emancipation Proclamation aimed at all those nations. They’d probably be too busy to comply, anyway, considering most of them are so busy serving on the U.N. Human Rights Commission alongside Botswana, the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

No matter where you stand on slavery reparations, I think it’s obvious that the U.N. should pay America reparations for all the years of dues we’ve wasted on them.

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