Culture Wars/Current Controversies

BBC Journalist Quits Job and Donates Pension Funds to Atone for Her Ancestors’ Sins

Laura Trevelyan, a star BBC journalist for over 30 years, has resigned from her position to devote her life to groveling apologies for her family’s sordid past as slave owners. I swear this is not parody. In February, she went with her family to the Caribbean nation of Grenada to publicly apologize for the family owning some 1,000 slaves a couple of centuries ago.

Unlike most public scolds, she at least had the decency to put her money where her mouth is. According to reports, she is pulling £100,000 from her pending BBC pension to donate towards the cause of reparations. But, never fear, she’s not finished. She will be trotting the globe hectoring the innocent on their responsibility to pay up to make her conscience feel better.

Trevelyan, who said that the £100,000 donation would be drawn from a pending pension payout from the BBC, said she would be quitting the public broadcaster to become a full-time “roving advocate” on the campaign to secure financial reparations for the Caribbean from former colonial powers.

She also said she wanted to work with other families whose ancestors owned enslaved people in the Caribbean and who wanted to make amends.

I’ll go on record saying that I view the idea of reparations as a grift, whether here or in the Caribbean. In the Caribbean, the formerly enslaved population, excluding the Irish Catholics sold there by Oliver Cromwell, are now the political and economic elites. The living condition of the average citizen of Grenada or Jamaica is much more a function of the political, social, and economic choices made since attaining independence than any disadvantage that can be traced to slavery that ended in 1835. Closer to home, I think the claim that the United States was built on slave labor that pseudo-intellectual Nikole Hannah-Jones rode to stardom upon is easily proven a lie by looking at pre-Civil War economic data. This is the National Bureau of Economic Research working paper titled American Incomes 1774-1860, published in 2012 before we’d started our current period of national iconoclasm.


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