Last Sunday evening I watched a segment on Fox News that blew me away. Yes, that Fox News.
Firstly the issue was about race in America and the monologue was read by Steve Hilton. But oddly Hilton’s comments did not make any headlines across media circles. Now why was that?
Maybe it was because Hilton was highlighting an issue that even the most ardent pro black activist would agree with some – if not all – of his comments.
Steve Hilton is a fervent supporter of Donald Trump’s administration. Some UK observers would know of Hilton’s time as a senior advisor to then Prime Minister David Cameron. He was a member of the Conservative Party. Since then, Hilton moved to the US and has embedded himself in Silicon Valley. His wife, Rachel Whetstone, was a former senior executive at Google, Uber and is now at Facebook.
Hilton’s monologue focussed on the US’ wealth inequality that has impacted negatively on African Americans. He explained to his viewers that wealth progression for African American was deliberately blocked by slavery and policies such as Jim Crow, G.I. Bill and the New Deal.
[Hilton knew most of his audience would be angered by this topic but asked them to bear with him as he tried to explain his case.]
Hilton described how 98% of federal govt subsidies and home loans between 1934 and 1962 – through Home Owners Loans Corporation – went to the white population. He suggested that the US should devise a truth and reconciliation body that would take dramatic steps to bridge the wealth gap for African Americans. Then Hilton mentioned the R word – Reparations.
Now the R word – in relation to many western hemisphere descendants from Africa – is hardly raised in any quarters these days; whether in the US, UK or even the Caribbean. But reparations is still a burning issue.
Hilton was not pushing for cheques to be handed out like confetti. But that loans should be directed at the African American community to buy homes or start businesses. He suggested remedies such as asset appropriations, community banks, credit unions and asset reparations
Hilton’s monologue was followed by a heated panel discussion led by Tezyln Figaro. As a former Democrat Figaro said she was tired that her former party – with 90% of the black vote -had done very little in terms of addressing the imbalance of wealth inequality.
Figaro warned that many African American Democratic supporters will be watching with interest the policies that 2020 candidates bring forward to improve the African American community. Figaro warned that some African Americans will stay at home if the Democratic candidate does not address their concerns with appropriate policy proposals.
It was a welcome sight to see this discussion on prime time Fox News of all places. But the fact that none of the usual media watchers raise Hilton’s segment elsewhere says something about their race baiting attitude. As we know if Hilton had said anything disparaging about African Americans it would have gone viral.
The reaction by some viewers on social media to Hilton’s segment was like a firestorm. Most were livid. See some of the comments below.
- “We will no longer watch Steve Hilton after his agenda on last night’s FOX Network. Agree that he needs to go! He totally disrespected Turning Point USA’s guy to make sure he made his point clear to everyone! One more hour we do not have to waste on FOX! FOX is changing!”
- “Steve Hilton was talking last night about some sort of ridiculous reparations plan. This is not going to fix the problems in the black community where you have kids who want to get rich quick and have little if any moral compass”
- “Steve Hilton on FOX NEWS stirring the pot by talking about asset reparations for Black Americans. My response is as follows: FOX NEWS better pay close attention … no sane person will get behind that proposal“
How did Hilton come to this conclusion on reparations? He did his own research and learnt the truth about what happened to African Americans over the centuries. Too many anti-reparation devotees based their objections on ignorance and not fully understanding the bigger picture. Some based their assessment of slavery and post slavery abuses on small anecdotes and Roots.
Growing up in Jamaica during the 1970s and 1980s the education system taught us very little about the slavery and its post abolition period which was equally horrendous to the local black population. So we were taught about the British facilitators of the slave trade such as Francis Drake and nothing about the slaves or the black population that developed up to pre-independence in 1962.
I know from years of research that many black Jamaicans were still denied access to education and owning property long after slavery was ended.
When the indentured Indians were contracted to Jamaica to replace the former slaves they were treated far better. Indeed after their contractual duties concluded some of our Indian ancestors were each offered up to 10-12 acres of land should they wish to remain in Jamaica.
I hope Hilton will share his research and analysis with his friends in the British Conservative Party. As the reparation debate in the UK has stalled for far too long.
Many will say time has lapsed and that reparation campaigners should thus move on and get a life. But we have seen descendants of other groups of people compensated for the actions that were done to their ancestors.
E.g. Since 2015 Spain and Portugal have issued over 10000 passports to members of the Jewish community based in countries such as Israel, Turkey, Morocco and across North and Latin America. This gesture was to atone for the “state-led campaigns of persecution against the Jews in the 15th and 16th century known as the Spanish and Portuguese Inquisition.” – Times of Israel – 23 November 2018
So well done to that man Steve Hilton for raising this issue in such an unfriendly environment such as Fox News. The struggle for reparations continues. The knowledge and evidence is out there to support the cause.