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Letter: Equal opportunity, not more dependency

I'll have a hard time reading the 65-page report about how centuries of racial segregation and oppression stymied the economic well-being of racial minorities in Virginia, especially African Americans.

The recently published report, commissioned by outgoing Gov. Ralph Northam, will make for grim reading. I suspect, however, the report’s recitation of the deliberate harm done to minorities' wealth-making and wealth-accumulation prospects didn’t go far enough.

Perhaps I’ll be proven wrong. Frankly, I hope I am. Until then, I am going to surmise the report failed to assert that frustrating the economic well-being of some diminishes the economic well-being of all. What I’m alluding to is the economic equivalent of a rising tide raising all boats.

Just think how much more prosperous all Virginians would be if the deliberate suppression in law and in tradition of some Virginians had never occurred. There would be more of everything for everyone had no barriers existed to suppress the ambitions to excel, to prosper, to achieve of a significant percentage of Virginians because they weren’t the progeny of European immigrants.

Unable to find succor in their communities, Virginia’s minorities, notably African Americans, turned to government for redress. Consequently, it’s not surprising that the report seeks that Virginia’s government grant benefits to them. Paid leave, foreclosure forbearance, state income tax rebate, restrictions to wage garnishment foremost.

And this is where the report falls far short. Its substantive recommendations will be largely dismissed because they exacerbate racial discrimination, not alleviate it. Worse, instead of extolling individual initiative and personal quest for betterment, the report perpetuates the notion the government must provide to the few by taking from the many. The enduring answer is equal opportunity, not more dependency.

James Roberts, Stanleytown 

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