Reparations May Not Be An Effective Pathway To Rectifying The Past

Juneteenth reparations rally
Leslie Taylor-Grover
September 22, 2021

One thing is true: the enslavement of our people is intertwined with every single institution in this country. And while we definitely haven’t received justice for the horrors faced by so many, would receiving reparations in the form of one-time cash payment really bring us the justice we deserve? 

We’ve got a few questions.

First, would they be given to all Black people, or only descendants of slavery? How do you know who qualifies? Would the one-drop rule that was used to keep so many of us in our places also apply to reparations?

Even if we did figure out who’s entitled to payments, who would pay? And would everyone get the same amount? This seems to be what many scholars suggest, including those studying the topic for current legislation.

Some argue that in-kind reparations, like housing, education, premium health care and support in starting businesses would be more effective to right past wrongs.

Finally, some argue that cash can never equal justice and would allow white supremacy to get off EASY.

No matter where we stand on the issue of reparations, what’s never been in doubt is that descendents of enslavement DESERVE justice and recompense of some kind – but the injustices against our people are complex and nuanced, and our response must be as well.

We have a quick favor to ask:

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