The essay is titled, “We used to count black Americans as 3/5 of a person. For reparations, give them 5/3 of a vote.” Yes, it’s serious. There is so much wrong with it logically, ethically, historically, legally, and Constitutionally, that it would take more words, time and effort to fully rebut all the nonsense in the article than this oddity is worth. Go ahead, read it. If your first reaction is, “Hey! What a brilliant idea!,” it’s time to seek professional help, and I don’t care what color you are.
Rather than give this perverted, anti-democratic fantasy the dignity of a rebuttal, I’ll just offer a few observations:
- Even though the author appears to know the history of the 3/5 representation scheme (it was an anti-slavery, not pro-slavery measure), he still doesn’t get it. “Under the Constitution, an African-American slave was originally counted as three-fifths of a person for the purpose of determining a state’s electoral vote count and House representation. That boosted the power of slave states in the federal government,” he writes. Wrong. The 3/5 ratio weakened the power of the slave states, which were insisting that slaves count as full persons. This isn’t the most ignorant assertion in Johnson’s screed, but its one of the strangest, being completely backwards, and yet the basis of his crackpot theory.
- Why would the Post publish this, since it is completely mad? What value does it add to racial dialogue? His proposal is impossible: Riiiight, Theodore, all non black citizens will voluntarily agree that African Americans should be a privileged class whose votes count 66% more than theirs. Of course, the concept is spectacularly unconstitutional as well a racist to its core. So why publish it, complete with charts showing how recent elections would have turned out if whites submitted to their new black masters? Why is this article more worthy of publication than, say, “Why our monetary system should be based on cheese,” “How eating is unethical and should be prohibited by law” or ” Let’s ban toes”?
- Sociologists need to explore the mystery of why the administration of the first black President has apparently rendered black America feeling more isolated, more racially hostile to whites, more bitter, more angry, more desperate and less committed to democracy and the rule of law.
- The author, we are told, is a doctoral candidate in law and policy at Northeastern University. Be afraid. Be very afraid.
- The last line of Johnson’s phantasmagoria is this:
“If racism is the culprit, then dismantling it requires the same tools that constructed it.”
This is one of those rhetorical flourishes that makes less sense the more you think about it, until it swells up inside your brain and kills you. Racism is not the sole culprit in the problems of the African-American community ( the self-serving eagerness of blacks to blame racism for every failure, for example, is one of the “culprits”). What “tools” constructed racism, which was not constructed at all.? Not the three-fifths device—that was designed to weaken the power of racism. Does Johnson mean it requires racism to dismantle racism? How does that work, exactly? Does Johnson believe that blacks telling their fellow Americans that they deserve to be super-citizens with special privileges is going to help bring the races closer together?
If so, he’s a fool. But on the evidence of the rest of the op-ed, he’s a fool anyway.