Protests of the killing by police of George Floyd in Minneapolis has re-energized calls for reparations for slavery in the United States. Today, the United Nations’ chief of civil rights called for reparations by countries around the world for slavery and colonialism.
Reparations are a highly divisive issue.
But what are they?
According to “100 Questions and Answers About African Americans,” reparations “are made to right past wrongs. They are often payments. The United States has paid more than $1.5 billion to settle claims made by Black farmers in a class-action lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The case was called Pigford v. Glickman. It was about discrimination in farm loans and assistance paid between 1981 and 1996. In 1989, U.S. Rep. John Conyers (D-Detroit) began introducing bills to create a commission to study more sweeping reparations for events dating back to slavery. Those bills have not advanced. Japanese Americans interned during World War II have received $1.6 billion in reparations and a formal apology from the U.S. government. Native Americans have received several payments including a $3.4 billion settlement in 2012. ”
Reparation is one of several controversial issues including racism, systemic racism, intersectionalism and white privilege explained clearly in this guide.