The End of Reparations Talk? - Reparations in an Obama World
Boston University School of Law
February 20, 2009
Kansas Law Review, Vol. 57, No. 4, 2009
Boston Univ. School of Law Working Paper No. 09-16
Disparities in Black health began in slavery, were reinforced in segregation and racism, and persist today despite significant remedial efforts. In the last decade, the statistics about Black health disparities show no improvement. The caustic history of slavery, racism and segregation hasn't been completely undone. Fundamental changes are still necessary to repair deficits in Black health.
But the election of Barack Obama has changed the relevance of reparations as a political tool for making these changes. We elected a Black man as President, and he refused to apply reparations talk to social programs of uplift for disadvantaged communities. Obama struck broader themes, bypassing reparations for slavery. At this point, we should let reparations rest as a political agenda, although it retains some relevance as a heuristic tool.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 15
Keywords: reparations, Obama, health disparities, disparities, racial disparities, slavery, segregation
JEL Classification: I1, I11, I18, I19, K32, K39
Date posted: February 20, 2009 ; Last revised: April 16, 2009
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