A conversation with Deena Hayes-Greene of REI and Dr. Sandy Darity.
For this episode of The Foreign Desk, a weekly current affairs programme (in London), Monacle 24 is continuing the series, looking at ‘living with the past’ — an exploration of how countries have, or have not, dealt with their troubled histories. For the final episode of the series, the show is looking at the calls for reparations for slavery in the United States and asking what that should look like and how it would help the people that are still affected by it.
Here’s an overview of the discussion that took place – and the questions that were asked and answered:
* Basically, what’s the case for reparations?
* Have there been any efforts to provide reparations for slavery before?
* Why, then, did other reparations not fail? What are the differences? (The 1948 fund for Japanese-Americans interned during World War II, etc, but that seems more a straightforward compensation to wronged individuals; same for payments to survivors of the 1923 Rosewood massacre and 1932 Tuskegee syphilis experiment, etc.)
* How do you decide which historic injustices should be atoned for, and which shouldn’t?
* Is there a statute of limitations?
* Are we talking about symbolic restitution, or actually calculated compensation?
* How do you figure out the amounts?
* How do you figure out who is entitled?
* What are the non-monetary reparations?
* Who pays for this?
* Who decides when the debt is settled, and how?
* Senator Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris and Julian Castro (among others) at least talking about it – could/should it become something the Democratic Party campaigns on?
* Polls show the idea (very) unpopular – how do you change that?
* How do we get to a point where this actually happens?