Reconceiving Reparations: Multiple Strategies in the Reparations Debate

36 Pages Posted: 24 Dec 2007


Much of the current debate over African-American reparations is characterized by a posture of confrontation and demand, and is exemplified in the law by seeking redress using the doctrines of tort and unjust enrichment. This confrontational posture presents a variety of legal, political, and ethical problems for reparations advocates, and has alienated potential allies from the reparations movement. This Article examines and exposes the confrontation model's shortcomings, proposing as an alternative a "conversational" model for reparations debate and advocacy. The conversational framework is not only a superior litigation strategy that more closely approximates traditional civil rights litigation, it also embraces the complexity of the current debate on race, premitting the nation to engage in a more inclusive discussion of the future of race in America.

Keywords: reparations, civil rights

Suggested Citation

Miller, Eric J., Reconceiving Reparations: Multiple Strategies in the Reparations Debate. Boston College Third World Law Journal, Vol. 4, No. 24, 2004, Available at SSRN:

Eric J. Miller (Contact Author)

Loyola Law School Los Angeles ( email )

919 Albany Street
Los Angeles, CA 90015-1211
United States
213-736-1175 (Phone)


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