David Horowitz continued his crusade against slavery reparations for African-Americans in a debate at MIT last night against Dorothy Lewis, co-chair of the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America.
Horowitz has attracted significant media attention in recent weeks because of an advertisement he submitted to college newspapers across the country listing 10 points against reparations for descendants of African slaves in America. Many papers—including The Crimson—said the advertisement was unnecessarily inflammatory and chose to reject it.
Falling on the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination 33 years ago, last night's debate aimed to discuss the validity of such reparations.
The bearded and bespectacled Horowitz said he did not support reparations because they would not go to the victims of slavery themselves.
"These slaves are dead. Their children are dead. There's no one to pay the reparations to," he said.
Lewis responded to Horowitz's argument by citing the precedent of reparations made to victims of Japanese internment camps, as well as U.S. aid to Israel.
"Where is the aid for the...Africans who lost their lives in the African Holocaust?" she asked.
Lewis said that apologies were not enough, stating the need to study and quantify the damage in the present caused by the loss of "the wealth that's created and passed down from generation to generation."
"Charity and school vouchers would be unnecessary with reparations," she said.
Aside from giving new life to an old debate over reparations, the recent controversy sparked by Horowitz's views has led many to question the role of political correctness in America.
Horowitz said the current climate for debate about race was akin to "racial McCarthyism," where politically incorrect views were met with smear tactics and other attempts to suppress debate rather than foster open discussion.
"Not one college paper in the entire country has printed 10 points refuting my 10 points," he said.
In contrast to the overflowing and unruly crowd Horowitz encountered at his address at Boston University last Monday, the roughly 150 students in attendance last night were calm and courteous, remaining seated throughout the moderated debate.
The speakers made opening remarks, followed by a series of tightly timed rebuttals. Questions from the audience were not accepted directly, but had to be written on note cards and passed to the front for consideration.
Some students said they felt the debate format did not give them the opportunity to approach Horowitz directly.
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