The state of South Carolina is potentially facing a monumental change to their Constitution. The Charlotte Observer reports that State Senator Marlon Kimpson, a democrat from Charleston, wants to make sure that the state Constitution includes reparations for the descendants of slaves.
The controversial amendment would have to be applied to the state’s constitution, which is currently 123 years old.
“If the door is opened for a constitutional convention, last amended in 1895 to systematically disenfranchise African-Americans, I plan to introduce the subject of reparations for the descendants of slaves who built this state providing free labor,” Kimpson tweeted.
If the door is opened for a constitutional convention, last amended in 1895 to systematically disenfranchise African-Americans, I plan to introduce the subject of reparations for the descendants of slaves who built this state providing free labor. https://t.co/o06nZpGE3x
— Sen. Marlon Kimpson (@KimpsonForSC) March 5, 2018
Kimpson isn’t the only supporter of this idea to change the current constitution though. According to Greenville News, more than one Senator is behind the push for change.
Several freshman legislators have taken upon themselves to call for a constitutional convention. Their intent is to move some of the power from the legislature to the Governor.
This would make for a huge shift in power, and an overthrow of the status quo. The reason they’re pushing for the change now is to attempt to increase accountability. These new lawmakers see the state legislature as being ruled by a few powerful lawmakers and don’t consider the power to be properly distributed.
However, the efforts to use this opportunity to push through the reparations language isn’t a sure thing yet. The constitutional overhaul might not come to fruition at all, now that state Democratic leaders claim that it could also be used to restrict women’s rights.
The issues of reparations and women’s rights are, in this case, completely separate issues. However the desire to protect women’s rights might be what keeps the currently unconstitutional reparations legislation from being pushed through.
South Carolina isn’t the only place where the reparations issue is making headlines. Conservative Daily Post reported just days ago that a restaurant in New Orleans, Louisiana is encouraging white patrons to pay a different price for their meal than their black patrons.
The owner of the Nigerian restaurant, called Saartj, believes in the idea of reparations as well. The concept behind reparations is a belief that many conservatives view as racist in and of itself.
Those who believe in reparations feel that black Americans started out with less advantages because their ancestors came to this country as slaves. Because of that very real atrocity, they feel that other ethnicities owe them monetary restitution.
In the case of Saartj, the restaurant gives white customers the option to pay $12 for lunch, or the suggested price of $30. Black customers are charged the $12 and also given the option to collect the $18 paid by a white patron as a way of redistributing the wealth.
The problem that conservatives have with the reparations movement is that it is based on wealth redistribution, which is at its core, a form of socialism.
South Carolina’s constitution, which was written in 1895, during the Reconstruction era and was, according to Greenville Online, spearheaded by a senator named “Pitchfork Ben” Tillman. They report that he called the convention at that time to enact “the sole cause of our being here,” which was to deny voting rights to black people.
While the voting rights of all citizens were addressed on a national level just a few years later, some of the supporters of the reparations movement consider that to be reason enough to push for changes to the historic document.
Even though Kimpson is one of the first politicians to push for the reparations movement to be put into law, he’s certainly not the first citizen to push for the government to make it compulsory.
Newsweek reported in the summer of 2016 that a coalition affiliated with the Black Lives Matter movement made six demands and about 40 policy recommendations to their local government.
Their actions are in keeping with the Black Lives Matter agenda that began with the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.
As Black Lives Matter and the reparations movement grow, conservatives across the nation are growing increasingly uncomfortable with the idea of a special interest group pushing legislation through that applies to only one ethnicity.
While no one on either side of the issues would diminish the impact that slavery made on the lives of the slaves, it’s far from an indisputable fact that those hardships have dictated the difficulties of their descendants.