What Reparations Might Look Like

Tuesday, September 17, 2019
The Outline

“I think there is a tendency to think more about the horrors of slavery without thinking about the horrors that we’ve experienced since slavery ended,” William Darity, a professor of economics, public policy, and African-American Studies at Duke University, told me. Darity — along with his wife, the folklorist Kirsten Mullen, with whom he co-authored their forthcoming book From Here to Equality — has spent years researching and proselytizing the need for reparations. “It’s not just because they [black people] had ancestors who were slaves,” he continued. “It’s because of that ancestry coupled with an array of atrocities that followed the end of slavery. And those atrocities are still going on.” Roy Finkenbine, a professor of history and the director of the Black Abolitionist Archive at the University of Detroit-Mercy, echoed that sentiment. “The fact that we don’t talk about the reasons for reparations as being based on contemporary and recent phenomenon is something we should be doing but don’t do much,” he told me.

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