The best points from Point Taken's reparations debate
Last week Point Taken asked: Should the US pay reparations to Black Americans? Here’s what we thought the best points of the evening were. Did we miss one? Let us know in the comments.
- •Valerie Wilson (“Yes” to reparations): Reparations are needed not just for systems of oppression from slavery – injustice continued and inequality has perpetuated because of it. African–Americans got full civil rights only 50 years ago.
- •Kmele Foster (“No” to reparations): Who pays, how much do they pay, and who do they pay it to? These are impossibly difficult questions to actually reconcile and answer in a meaningful and just way.
- •Wendy Murphy (“Yes” to reparations): Some people say it’s not fair to financially burden this generation for what happened a long time ago, but we’re not burdening anybody. We’re burdening the government. Our legal system offers money — we don’t have anything else to give. It’s what justice provides when you do reparations.
- •Tom Shattuck (“No” to reparations): We’re ripping money away from Americans, many of whom had no part in any of this and had no relatives who had any part in any of this. The injustice is taking things from people who did not do anything and giving it to people who were not directly injured.
- •Valerie Wilson (“Yes” to reparations): There have been people who have measured the economic value that slave labor, discrimination contributed to the American economy. No one agrees on that number, but it definitely isn’t zero. Wealth doesn’t evaporate. It passes from generation to generation to generation and continues to grow.
- •Kmele Foster (“No” to reparations): If we’re having backward-looking conversations, that is time that we could be using and investing in having forward-looking conversations about things that we can affirmatively address. It’s difficult to impose a contemporary moral standard on people who lived hundreds or thousands of years ago.
- •Valerie Wilson (“Yes” to reparations): We have precedent for reparations. We’ve done this sort of thing before for different communities. So we can arrange a way that it would be practical to do that for African-Americans.
- •Did any of the panelist's points sway you? Why or why not? Tell us in the comments.