Duke University Professor Shares His Guidelines for Slave Reparations
Duke University professor of economics William Darity Jr. recently spoke on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal call-in show about reparations for the African descendants of slaves and the role the issue plays in the 2020 presidential campaign.
“Reparations is a program of compensation to individuals or communities that have been subjected to grieves injustices,” the professor explained to show host and producer Pedro Echevarria.
“From my perspective, reparations has three objectives. The first is acknowledgment of the injustices on the part of the perpetrators. Second is redress, which is restitution for the effects of the injustices. Third is closure, which is mutual recognition of the part of the victimized community as well as the perpetrators that the debt has been paid,” Darity added.
Several Democratic 2020 presidential hopefuls, including Julian Castro, a former mayor of San Antonio, Texas; Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.); and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) have spoken about reparations for the African descendants of slaves. But even with the developing conversation, no one besides spiritual teacher Marianne Williamson, who proposed a $100 billion payout, has openly committed to giving direct financial reparations to African-Americans.
When asked how to calculate what counts as reparations, Darity said it would be dependent on the set of injustices a community faced.
“In the context of the United States, the experience of Black Americans as particular recipients of a reparations program, I would say what you have to do is calculate the full economic effects of the long-term consequences of slavery,” he opined. “Of the Jim Crow period, of legal segregation in the United States, which lasted close to a century; as well as, ongoing effects of racism that are manifest in the forms of mass incarceration, police killings of unarmed Blacks, as well as and most significantly, the racial wealth gap that is so large and persistent.”
Under these circumstances, Darity said Black people who are the descendants of people who were enslaved on United States soil should be eligible for a potential reparations program. In addition, he believes the added criteria could include verifying that these individuals identified as Black, African-American or some other form of the category at least one decade prior to the establishment of the program.
Watch the entire segment below to hear the self-proclaimed reparations expert’s opinion on Warren’s comment that slavery is a “stain on America” and other responses to listeners who called in.
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