The Case for Reparations

June 22, 2021

The June 2014 issue of The Atlantic included an article by Ta-Nehisi Coates titled “The Case for Reparations.” Coates makes a strong case for the ways African Americans have been excluded from the freedoms and economic opportunities enjoyed by the dominant culture. The repressions of African Americans that has been continuous in the years since the abolish of slavery enters the conversation about reparations. The sins of 250 years of slavery in American must be addressed, but the 150 years since is also an essential part of the story.

Reparations is a complex issue that stimulates a lot of guilt and blame. It is also not limited to the descendants of Africans brought to this country as slaves. The unjustified incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II involved major financial loss, denial of freedom, and unwarranted racial stigma. The Civil Liberties Act of 1988 granted reparations to Japanese Americans placed in internment camps during World War II.

Another example of reparations involves land claims of Native Americans. The Indian Claims Act of 1946 began a process for the federal government to hear history grievances and compensate tribes for lost territories. Actual funds eventually rewarded averaged out at about $1,00 per person of Native American ancestry with most of the money in trust accounts held by the United States government.

Use the following link for more about the history of reparations. The linked 14-minute video presentation looks at (1) reparations from around the world, (2) the arguments for and against reparations, and (3) reparations arguments in the U.S. now.