Former NFL player Burgess Owens called out the Democratic Party for its dark past of suppressing black Americans during his testimony on reparations.
House Democrats held a hearing on HR 40, a bill that would fund a commission to study reparations and deliver policy proposals to Congress about how to repay black Americans for the injustices of slavery and Jim Crow.
While Democrats who sponsor the legislation feel as though reparations are necessary for America to move past its racist history, those who oppose reparations believe that Americans who were not alive during slavery should not have to pay for the sins of their fathers.
Owens is in the latter party. During his testimony, he described the success of black Americans like his grandfather, who escaped slavery to become an entrepreneur. Owens noted that racism is an ideology and highlighted its ties to the Democratic Party.
Watch Owens’ testimony:
“This is not about black and white, rich and poor, blue collar, white collar. We’re fighting for the heart and soul of our nation. We have a very, very special country instilled with the Judeo-Christian values that allowed every single generation to become better than the last. That has not ended. That has not stopped — until now. We’re telling our kids a little bit something different. That they don’t have the opportunity that we had. I’m going to talk about some ideologies. When I talk about them, I’m not talking about people. People change. I used to be a Democrat until I did my history and found out the misery that that party brought to my race. So when I talk about these ideologies, ideologies don’t change, people do.”
Owens covered the racism of Karl Marx and other socialists all the way to the struggles of young black men in present-day California. The former NFL safety doesn’t believe pitting white Americans against black Americans through reparations is the answer. He believes reparations do nothing but paint white Americans as “evil” and black Americans as “beggars.”
He said that Democrats who feel “guilty” can feel free to pay for the sins of their party, but he doesn’t want to see Americans divided over race because of reparations:
“Let’s point to the party that was part of slavery, KKK, Jim Crow, that has killed over 40 percent of our black babies, 20 million of them. The state of California, 75 percent of our black boys cannot past standard reading and writing test. A Democratic state. Yeah, let’s pay [reparation]. Let’s pay restitution. How about a Democratic Party pay for all the misery brought to my race, and those — after we learn our history — decide to stay there, they should pay also. They are complicit. And every white American — Republican or Democrat — that feels guilty because of your white skin, you just need to pony up also.”
He claimed that would allow those who feel guilty to “get past” reparations and acknowledge that “this country has given us greatness.”
Owens concluded his testimony by stated that he believes reparations send a message that black Americans cannot get ahead without payment from reparations, a position he could not disagree with more.