By Noah Rothman

June 9, 2020

Likewise, the earliest stages of the Democratic primary race in 2019 were typified by an internal debate over the virtue of pursuing slavery reparations in public policy. Many thoughtful and sincere advocates for such a policy insist it does not mean the disbursement of a check from the government—indeed, such a policy might actually be more harmful than holistic. The fact-checking outlet PolitiFact bizarrely dedicated itself to the pursuit of concrete definitions amid this subjective debate. But of course, the case for reparations outlined by journalists such as journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates in 2014 does call for public disbursements, and some municipalities—such as Evanston, Illinois—have passed legislation establishing a public fund for the express purposes of compensating the victims of racial injustice. Duke University’s William Darity has argued that a multi-trillion-dollar redistribution program is a moral imperative: “The major financial objective of a reparations program is to close the racial wealth gap,” he noted. “The damages to the collective well-being of black people have been enormous. Correspondingly, so is the appropriate bill.”

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