The death of Queen Elizabeth II has elicited a wide range of emotional reactions, from deep sadness to outright rage. However, the Queen’s 70-year reign, regardless of your opinion on monarchies in general, is historical, and there is no doubt that she impacted the world.
Besides the usual coverage surrounding her historic reign and the usual chatter surrounding British monarchy scandals, another topic has been front and center from the minute the monarch passed into the afterlife: colonial reparations.
Leave it to CNN’s Don Lemon to bring it up and then get royally owned on TV for the whole world to see. Or the few dozen Americans who still watch his soon-to-be deceased show.
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) September 20, 2022
Supply Chain Issues
While interviewing Royal Commentator Hilary Fordwich on the Queen’s funeral and the subsequent accession of King Charles III to the throne, Mr. Lemon listed off some of the concerns facing Brits today, making his way to reparations:
“…those who are asking for reparations for colonialism.”
He states that colonial reparations are a “legitimate concern” before turning it over to Ms. Fordwich. At this point, Mr. Lemon gets a response that he clearly wasn’t expecting.
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Ms. Fordwich responds that she agrees with him on reparations but that those seeking reparations need to ask themselves:
“Where was the beginning of the supply chain?”
She answers this question by pointing out that the supply chain for slavery began in none other than Africa. She goes on to state that the first nation in the world to abolish slavery was Great Britain and that some 2,000 British naval men died trying to stop slavery.
All while, as she said:
“…the African kings were rounding up their own people; they had them in cages.”
You can watch the full clip below:
Ok this is amazing. Don Lemon brings up the need for slave reparations from the royal family. His guest says, yes, people should be demanding reparations… from the African leaders who sold them into slavery. pic.twitter.com/il8WFYMrhS
— Allie Beth Stuckey (@conservmillen) September 20, 2022
Interesting Discussion Indeed
I don’t know what my favorite part of the video is; the look on Don Lemon’s face or his meek reply after all that:
“It’s an interesting discussion.”
Poor Don, I feel he won’t be continuing that discussion with Ms. Fordwich anytime soon. That’s alright; I don’t mind diving into this discussion.
— Jason Howerton (@jason_howerton) September 20, 2022
The argument that the British monarchy, or any country for that matter, owes reparations always stems from the historical background of the colonial slave trade and white slave owners. As Professor David Scott points out, Queen Elizabeth II had slave plantation owners in her lineage.
But the point remains that it wasn’t just the bad British monarchs and white plantation owners in America that had ownership in the sin of slavery. The slave infrastructure was prevalent in many Central and West African countries, and many profited from selling people.
Now, before the howling starts, that doesn’t erase what the British, or Americans, or Portuguese, or Spanish, or anyone else did.
What it does mean is that all this talk about one group “owing” another group is just a bit more complicated than 20 second cable news talking points.
It might make people uncomfortable, but as has been stated numerous times, history isn’t there to make you comfortable. It just is.
As Goes California, So Goes The world
In June, I reported on how California had published a 500-page report supporting a plan for reparations.
Like most things out of California, the execution of this plan remains to be seen. The main goal is to provide reparations to those who can prove their lineage to a slave.
That’s going to prove difficult given the poor record keeping kept of slaves and the lack of official documents held by slaves, such as birth certificates. Economist Thomas Sowell brings up a valid point on why reparations in our country make little sense:
“Even during the era of slavery, most white people owned no slaves. Are their descendants supposed to pay for the descendants of those that did?”
I would further that argument by stating that just because you may have distant relatives that participated in slavery, should you have to continue to carry their sin on your soul?
Again, I say no; my sins are my own, not my children’s or my grandchildren’s. My father’s are not mine.
Last November, King Charles III, then Prince Charles, said when visiting Barbados of colonial slavery:
“The appalling atrocity of slavery, which forever stains our history.”
Some say his comments were not enough and that a formal apology needs to come from the Crown. However, I would argue that nothing will ever be enough to make up for past sins.
There will never be an apology or an amount of money to erase that sin, and we shouldn’t want it to. Instead, it’s important to remember our history to move on from it to a better future.
Even “The View’s” Sunny Hostin can acknowledge the acceptance of mourning the Queen, stating:
“We can mourn the Queen and not the Empire.”
Still, Hostin’s view isn’t for everyone, such as Carnegie Mellon University professor Uju Anja, who tweeted that she hoped the Queen’s pain be “excruciating.” Classy.
If anyone expects me to express anything but disdain for the monarch who supervised a government that sponsored the genocide that massacred and displaced half my family and the consequences of which those alive today are still trying to overcome, you can keep wishing upon a star.
— Uju Anya (@UjuAnya) September 8, 2022
The Lemon Of CNN
Still, watching Don Lemon awkwardly try to pivot from his embarrassment was enjoyable. However, he ought to be somewhat used to it by now.
His show “Don Lemon Tonight,” beloved by tens and tens of viewers, is coming to a close, and Don will be moving on to the morning show on CNN…whatever it’s called. However, former President Donald Trump, while usually I’m not impressed with his social media posts, did garner a chuckle from me with his post that the move is:
“A small step for television, a giant step for mankind.”
President Trump went on to talk about how Mr. Lemon is “…often called ‘the dumbest man on television…'”. I think CNN is also starting to come to that conclusion and might be looking to trade their lemon in for a better model.
— Media Research Center (@theMRC) September 15, 2022
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