Nonprofit Quarterly: What might reparations look like? Nonprofit activists outline one path

Nonprofit Quarterly, May 28, 2019: What might reparations look like? Nonprofit activists outline one path

As NPQ’s Cyndi Suarez wrote last month, reparations is now on the agenda of the Democratic Party presidential primary.

Writing in Truthout, Dedrick Asante-Muhammad and Chuck Collins offer their strategy. Asante-Muhammad is Chief of Equity and Inclusion at the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC). Collins directs the Program on Inequality and the Common Good at the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS).

Who should pay the bill? The authors observe that whites benefit from the white supremacy that slavery helped create even if their own families “never had anything to do with slavery.” But they also contend that not all whites “bear equal responsibility for paying out.” Rather, they suggest that “the bill for reparations…go first to the mostly white, ultra-wealthy Americans who’ve benefited most.”

The authors also propose using reparation funds to “provide one-time capital endowments to create and sustain museums and exhibits that teach the history of slavery and its aftermath,” to craft public education curricula that “disseminate the history of African Americans to all segments of society,” and to invest in historical monuments that serve as reminders of the nation’s painful history of racial oppression.

Asante-Muhammed and Collins conclude, reasonably enough, that racism cannot be repaired “without a deep process that includes material reparations.” But it is not clear if their proposal fully addresses the non-economic aspects of repair, such as addressing trauma and constructing more inclusive narratives.

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