What can we do—and what should we do—to fight against bias? This final chapter introduces empirically-tested interventions for combating implicit (and explicit) bias and promoting a fairer world, from small daily-life debiasing tricks to larger structural interventions. Along the way, this chapter raises a range of moral, political, and strategic questions about these interventions. This chapter further stresses the importance of admitting that we don’t have all the answers. We should be humble about how much we still don’t know and (...) dedicate efforts to gathering as much knowledge as possible. Even so, we know enough now to start making a difference, and this chapter ultimately aims to chip away at the gap between our abstract commitments to treat people fairly and our lived habits and experiences, which continue to be shaped by implicit and explicit prejudices and stereotypes about race, gender, and other social categories. (shrink)
The thesis of this essay is that equal opportunity (EO) "strictly dominates" (in the game-theoretic sense) reparations. That is, (1) all the ways reparations would make our world more just would also be achieved under EO; (2) EO would make our world more just in ways reparations cannot; and (3) reparations would create injustices which EO would avoid. Further, (4) EO has important practical advantages over reparations. These include economic efficiency, feasibility, and long-term impact. Supporters of reparations should abandon that (...) ideal to support equal opportunity instead. (shrink)
Drawing on the work of Charles W. Mills and considering the case of reparations to Black Americans, this article defends the “structural turn” in the philosophical reparations scholarship. In the Black American context, the structural turn highlights the structural and institutional operations of a White supremacist political system and a long chronology of state-sponsored injustice, as opposed to enslavement as a standalone historical episode. Here, the question whether distributive justice is more appropriate than reparative justice is particularly pressing, since structural (...) racial inequalities form part of the basis for reparations. Derrick Darby’s pragmatic argument for non-race-specific redistributive policies and Tommie Shelby’s principled defense of distributive justice are both considered, as well as the challenge to the structural turn that comes from Carlton Waterhouse’s argument for reparations for enslavement rather than “legacy of slavery” reparations. (shrink)
When it comes to how to hold people responsible for wrongdoing, much of the African philosophical tradition focuses on reconciliation as a final aim. This essay expounds an interpretation of reconciliation meant to have broad appeal, and then draws out its implications for responsibility in respect to three matters. First, when it comes to criminal justice, prizing reconciliation entails that offenders should be held responsible to “clean up their own mess,” i.e., to reform their characters and compensate victims in ways (...) they find burdensome, an approach to punishment that differs from deterrence and desert theories. Second, regarding civil justice, reconciliation means that holding responsible to compensate wrongful harm means improving victims’ quality of life in ways they accept, which contrasts with a common prescription to put victims in the condition they would have been in had the wrong not occurred. Third, reconciliation can involve putting on trial more than just the direct offender, for instance family members who had been able to influence his behavior and were allied with him. The chapter provides reason to take the reconciliatory approaches seriously that will be found prima facie attractive by those from a variety of backgrounds. (shrink)
Scholars have compared the transitional justice processes of Colombia and South Africa in some respects, but there has yet to be a systematic moral-philosophical evaluation of them regarding how they have sought to allocate economic goods. Here I appraise the ways that South Africa and Colombia have responded to their respective historical conflicts in respect of the distribution of property and opportunities. I do so in the light of a conception of reconciliation informed by a relational ethic of harmony, a (...) value salient in the worldviews of many indigenous peoples in both Africa and South America. I argue that, given such an account of reconciliation, one of Colombia’s major proposed ways of allocating property and opportunities, whereby offenders would labour for the sake of improving victims’ socio-economic conditions, would be much better than what South Africa has done, even if Colombia has yet to put such a policy systematically into practice. (shrink)
In contributions elsewhere to this volume, we considered the histories of Colombia and South Africa and how some of the values indigenous to those locales might plausibly bear on transitional justice in them. We advanced broadly relational and constructive (non-retributive) approaches to the social conflicts that had taken place there, ones that make victim compensation central. In this chapter we consider how Metz’s ubuntu-based reconciliatory approach to reparations might be relevant to Colombia in ways he did not consider, after which (...) we reflect on how the kinds of communitarian practices advanced by Bautista might apply to South Africa. We conclude that these cross-applications are revealing, pointing out how economic compensation in Colombia should plausibly be influenced by cultural factors, and how considerations of culture in South Africa call for compensation beyond economic factors. (shrink)
Recently, I have proposed an extension of the framework of the ethics of collegiality (Berber & Subotić, forthcoming). By incorporating an anti-individual perspective and the notion of epistemic competence, this framework can reveal the epistemic virtue/vice relativism, which, in turn, charts the tension between being a good colleague and an efficient, loyal employee. In this paper, however, I want to sketch how the ethics of collegiality could be applied to practical domains, such as the historical accountability and atonement of corporations (...) that participated in the anti-Semitic policies of the Third Reich and contributed to the Holocaust by using slave or forced labor. New studies suggest that corporations ought to engage in deeper historical reflection and ethical dialogue between Shoah survivors and top managers to address the issue of industrial compliance (Federman 2021), whereas most of the work on this topic traditionally focused on the issue of reparations litigation (Kelly 2016, Neuborne 2003). Through the notions of collective institutional epistemic vice and institutional ethos (Fricker 2021), the upshot is to assess whether it is feasible for corporations to be genuinely repentant regarding their role in the Holocaust thanks to the ethics of collegiality instead of merely offering compensation. I will argue that instead of emphasizing ethical leadership and the top-down approach to the (re-)implementation of values in corporate conduct, the spotlights should be on the bottom-up approach grounded in collegial solidarity among all employees. (shrink)
Arguments for slavery reparations have fallen out of favor even as reparations for other forms of racial injustice are taken more seriously. This retreat is unsurprising, as arguments for slavery reparations often rely on two normatively irregular claims: that reparations are owed to the dead (as opposed to, say, their living heirs), and that the present generation inherits an as yet unrequited guilt from past generations. Outside of some strands of Black thought and activism on slavery reparations, these claims are (...) widely rejected. I develop an argument for slavery reparations around those foundational claims by adopting the normative framework of Immanuel Kant. On what I call the Basic Argument for slavery reparations, the application of Kant’s retributivist theory of punishment to slavery justifies reparations as a kind of proportional punishment for slavery. I also show that Kant’s philosophy offers reparations theorists resources to overcome several contemporary objections to slavery reparations. (shrink)
Adherents to reconciliation, restorative justice, and related approaches to dealing with social conflict are well known for seeking to minimize punishment, in favor of offenders hearing out victims, making an apology, and effecting compensation for wrongful harm as well as victims forgiving offenders and accepting their reintegration into society. In contrast, I maintain that social reconciliation and similar concepts in fact characteristically require punishment but do not require forgiveness. I argue that a reconciliatory response to crime that includes punitive disavowal (...) but not necessarily forgiveness is supported by an analogy with resolving two-person conflict and by relational facets of human dignity. I also specify a novel account of the type of penalty that is justified by reconciliation, namely, burdensome labor that is likely to foster moral reform on the part of wrongdoers and to compensate their victims, which would serve neither retributive nor deterrent functions. I illustrate this conception of punishment in contexts that include having cheated on an exam at a university, engaged in criminal behavior such as robbery, and committed atrocities during large-scale social conflict. (shrink)
This article is a critical race theology analysis that asserts that Catholic social teaching established in documents such as the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Populorum progressio, Caritas in veritate, and the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace’s Contribution to the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance justifies reparations for the state of oppression commonly called Jim Crow, or segregation society, from the US government because it denied African Americans “truly human conditions.”.
Some claim that a commitment to egalitarianism is in tension with support for reparations for historical injustice. This tension appears to arise insofar as egalitarianism is a forward-looking approach to justice: an approach that tells us what kind of world we should aim to build, where that world is not defined in terms of the decisions or actions of previous generations. Some have claimed that egalitarianism thereby renders reparations redundant. One popular option for egalitarians who aim to reject this thesis (...) is to insist that historical injustices demand reparations when they have caused present-day inequality. A promising alternative, skilfully defended by Alasia Nuti in Injustice and the Reproduction of History, is to argue that historical injustices stand in need of repair when they are reproduced into the present-day, such that some past and present injustices are in fact the same injustice. In this paper, I assess these egalitarian responses to the redundancy thesis. I find that Nuti’s account is equipped to reject this thesis, but that the same lines of reply can be adopted by proponents of the causal approach. I suggest that both approaches therefore be viewed as potential ways to conceptualise the relationship between historical injustice and our present normative circumstances; and that in choosing between them, we should understand ourselves to be engaged in an ameliorative project – a project that is guided by, and designed to help us to achieve, our legitimate purposes. (shrink)
Jeremy Waldron argues that claims to reparation for historic injustices can be superseded by the demands of justice in the present. For example, justified Maori claims to reparation resulting from the wrongful appropriation of their land by European settlers may be superseded by the claim to a just distribution of resources possessed by the world’s existing inhabitants. However, if we distinguish between reparative and restitutive claims, we see that while claims to restitution may be superseded by changes in circumstance, this (...) does not entail that claims to reparation are. In contrast, claims to reparation are robust to changes in circumstance. (shrink)
Appealing to African values associated with ubuntu such as communion and reconciliation, elsewhere I have argued that they require compensating those who have been wronged in ways that are likely to improve their lives. In the context of land reform, I further contended that this principle probably entails not transferring unjustly acquired land en masse and immediately to dispossessed populations since doing so would foreseeably lead to such things as capital flight and food shortages, which would harm them and the (...) broader society. Oritsegbubemi Anthony Oyowe has recently argued against my claim that land reform should be enacted in a way expected to benefit victims of colonialism while not greatly burdening innocent third parties, instead supporting the return of land to its rightful owners regardless of how the manner in which it were done would affect people’s quality of life. Here I expound Oyowe’s argumentation and respond to it in defence of my initial position, appealing to examples from southern Africa to illustrate. (shrink)
This essay frames systemic patterns of mental abuse against women of color and Indigenous women on Turtle Island (North America) in terms of larger design-of-distribution strategies in settler colonial societies, as these societies use various forms of social power to distribute, reproduce, and automate social inequalities (including public health precarities and mortality disadvantages) that skew socio-economic gain continuously toward white settler populations and their descendants. It departs from traditional studies in gender-based violence research that frame mental abuses such as gaslighting--commonly (...) understood as mental manipulation through lying or deceit--stochastically, as chance-driven interpersonal phenomena. Building on structural analyses of knowledge in political epistemology (Dotson 2012, Berenstain 2016), political theory (Davis and Ernst 2017), and Indigenous social theory (Tuck and Yang 2012), I develop the notion of cultural gaslighting to refer to the social and historical infrastructural support mechanisms that disproportionately produce abusive mental ambients in settler colonial cultures in order to further the ends of cultural genocide and dispossession. I conclude by proposing a social epidemiological account of gaslighting that a) highlights the public health harms of abusive ambients for minority populations, b) illuminates the hidden rules of social structure in settler colonial societies, and c) amplifies the corresponding need for structural reparations. (shrink)
After a fatal police shooting in the United States, it is typical for city and police officials to view the family of the deceased through the lens of the law. If the family files a lawsuit, the city and police department consider it their legal right to defend themselves and to treat the plaintiffs as adversaries. However, reparations and the concept of “reparative justice” allow authorities to frame police killings in moral rather than legal terms. When a police officer kills (...) a person who was not liable to this outcome, officials should offer monetary reparations, an apology, and other redress measures to the victim’s family. To make this argument, the article presents a philosophical account of non-liability hailing from self-defense theory, centering the distinction between reasonableness and liability. Reparations provide a non-adversarial alternative to civil litigation after a non-liable person has been killed by a police officer. In cases where the officer nevertheless acted reasonably, “institutional agent-regret” rather than moral responsibility grounds the argument for reparations. Throughout the article, it is argued that there are distinct racial wrongs both when police kill a non-liable black person and when family members of a black victim are treated poorly by officials in the civil litigation process. (shrink)
America and the world are in the process of collapse from excessive population growth, most of it for the last century, and now all of it, due to 3rd world people. Consumption of resources and the addition of 4 billion more ca. 2100 will collapse industrial civilization and bring about starvation, disease, violence and war on a staggering scale. The earth loses about 2% of its topsoil every year, so as it nears 2100, most of its food growing capacity will (...) be gone. Billions will die and nuclear war is all but certain. In America, this is being hugely accelerated by massive immigration and immigrant reproduction, combined with abuses made possible by democracy. Depraved human nature inexorably turns the dream of democracy and diversity into a nightmare of crime and poverty. China will continue to overwhelm America and the world, as long as it maintains the dictatorship which limits selfishness. The root cause of collapse is the inability of our innate psychology to adapt to the modern world, which leads people to treat unrelated persons as though they had common interests. The idea of human rights is an evil fantasy promoted by leftists to draw attention away from the merciless destruction of the earth by unrestrained 3rd world motherhood. This, plus ignorance of basic biology and psychology, leads to the social engineering delusions of the partially educated who control democratic societies. Few understand that if you help one person you harm someone else—there is no free lunch and every single item anyone consumes destroys the earth beyond repair. Consequently, social policies everywhere are unsustainable and one by one all societies without stringent controls on selfishness will collapse into anarchy or dictatorship. The most basic facts, almost never mentioned, are that there are not enough resources in America or the world to lift a significant percentage of the poor out of poverty and keep them there. The attempt to do this is bankrupting America and destroying the world. The earth’s capacity to produce food decreases daily, as does our genetic quality. And now, as always, by far the greatest enemy of the poor is other poor and not the rich. Without dramatic and immediate changes, there is no hope for preventing the collapse of America, or any country that follows a democratic system. -/- Those interested in all my writings in their most recent versions may download from this site my e-book ‘Philosophy, Human Nature and the Collapse of Civilization Michael Starks (2016)- Articles and Reviews 2006-2016’ by Michael Starks First Ed. 662p (2016). -/- All of my papers and books have now been published in revised versions both in ebooks and in printed books. -/- Talking Monkeys: Philosophy, Psychology, Science, Religion and Politics on a Doomed Planet - Articles and Reviews 2006-2017 (2017) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B071HVC7YP. -/- The Logical Structure of Philosophy, Psychology, Mind and Language in Ludwig Wittgenstein and John Searle--Articles and Reviews 2006-2016 (2017) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B071P1RP1B. -/- Suicidal Utopian Delusions in the 21st century: Philosophy, Human Nature and the Collapse of Civilization - Articles and Reviews 2006-2017 (2017) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0711R5LGX . (shrink)
We identify the ethics of reparations policies as its own distinct field of inquiry, and consider several neglected ethical issues that arise in the process of devising reparations programmes. The problem of political instrumentalization has to do with the fact that reparations can be a way for the governments to bolster their legitimacy rather than achieve justice. The problem of exclusion refers to individuals with seemingly valid claims being turned away. Finally, the problem of inclusion has to do with including (...) would-be claimants who are not mobilized in making a reparations demand, as well as with reconciling competing reparations demands. (shrink)
There are many commonalities between the goals of transitional justice and domestic redress movements. We look at the movement for reparations for enslavement and Jim Crow in the United States as an example of a domestic reparations movement, and argue for the usefulness of the concept of transitional justice. We are particularly interested in showing that a future democratic transition – the end of mass incarceration – could animate a renewed push for reparations and a formal investigation into America’s legacy (...) of racial injustice. (shrink)
In recent years, campaigns across the globe have called for the removal of objects symbolic of white supremacy. This paper examines the ethics of altering or removing such objects. Do these strategies sanitize history, destroy heritage and suppress freedom of speech? Or are they important steps towards justice? Does removing monuments and renaming schools reflect a lack of parity and unfairly erase local identities? Or can it sometimes be morally required, as an expression of respect for the memories of people (...) who endured past injustices; a recognition of this history's ongoing legacies; and a repudiation of unjust social hierarchies? (shrink)
This article argues against privileging the expectations of settlers over those of dispossessed peoples. I assume in this article that historical rights to occupancy do not persist through all changes in circumstances, but a theory of justice should reduce perverse incentives to unjustly settle on land in hopes of legitimating occupancy. Margaret Moore, in her 2015 book, A Political Theory of Territory, tries to balance these intuitions through an argument based on legitimate expectations. I argue that Moore’s attempt to reduce (...) perverse incentives (through expectation-altering institutional design) fails. Moore unduly privileges settler expectations, especially over those of indigenous peoples. I criticize United States court decisions resurrecting the expectations of past settlers in the allotment era (which share structural features with Moore’s arguments). Lastly, distinguishing between ‘final’ supersession of historical injustice through changing circumstances, and ‘dormant’ supersession, shows how indigenous claims to land and jurisdiction may revive. (shrink)
This article adapts John Rawls’s writings, arguing that past injustice can change what we ought to publicly affirm as the standard of justice today. My approach differs from forward-looking approaches based on alleviating prospective disadvantage and backward-looking historical entitlement approaches. In different contexts, Rawls’s own concern for the ‘social bases of self-respect’ and equal citizenship may require public endorsement of different principles or specifications of the standard of justice. Rawls’s difference principle focuses on the least advantaged socioeconomic group. I argue (...) that a historicized difference principle considers the relative standing of racial, gender, and other historically stigmatized groups; provides their members assurance by weakening incentives to manipulate justice to another group’s advantage; and may result in policies resembling reparations, though justified by forward-looking considerations of self-respect and public assurance. I then examine how disrespectful justifications were historically used to forcibly include indigenous peoples as citizens. While Rawls thinks providing citizens one package of basic liberties signals respect, indigenous self-government could better support self-respect. I invoke Rawlsian international justice, which calls for mutual respect between peoples. Indigenous peoples’ status should reflect their past and persisting peoplehood, providing assurance by weakening incentives to unjustly transform international into domestic contexts. (shrink)
Digges, Matthew Review(s) of: Take off your shoes, walk on the ground: The journey towards reconciliation in Australia, by Lyn Henderson-Yates, Brian McCoy SJ, Melissa Brickell, Catholic Social Justice Series No 71, Alexandria NSW: Australian Catholic Social Justice Council, 2012, pp.32, $6.60.
Packing his case with moral argument and relevant facts, Angelo Corlett offers the most comprehensive defense to date in favor of reparations for African Americans and American Indians. As Corlett see it, the heirs of oppression are both the descendants of the oppressors and the descendants of their victims. Corlett delves deeply into the philosophically related issues of collective responsibility, forgiveness and apology, and reparations as a human right in ways that no other book or article to date has done.
A recent development in philosophical scholarship on reparations for black chattel slavery and Jim Crow segregation is reliance upon social science in normative arguments for reparations. Although there are certainly positive things to be said in favor of an empirically informed normative argument for black reparations, given the depth of empirical disagreement about the causes of persistent racial inequalities, and the ethos of 'post-racial' America, the strongest normative argument for reparations may be one that goes through irrespective of how we (...) ultimately explain the causes of racial inequalities. By illuminating the interplay between normative political philosophy and social scientific explanations of racial inequality in the prevailing corrective justice argument for black reparations, I shall explain why an alternative normative argument, which is not tethered to a particular empirical explanation of racial inequality, may be more appealing. (shrink)
Abstract: This article provides an account of the meaning of reparations and presents a brief explanation as to why African Americans believe they are entitled to reparations from the United States government. It then goes on to explain why reparations are necessary to address the distrust that is thought to exist between many African Americans and their government. Finally, it rejects the belief that reparations require reconciliation.
Some claim slavery did not harm the descendants of slaves since, without slavery, its descendants would never have been born and a life worth living, even one including the subsequent harms of past slavery, is preferable to never having been born at all. This creates a classic puzzle known as the non-identity argument, applied to reject the validity of claims for historic justice based on harms to descendants of victims of historic wrongs: since descendants are never harmed by historic wrongs, (...) they have no right to rectification. This conclusion is unintuitive. This article explains the nature of harm involved in historic injustice, overcoming the hurdle the non-identity argument poses to historic justice claims. Historic injustice and the harms it generates are best understood as group harms. Claims for historic justice can be grounded in harms currently living individuals suffer as a function of the harms their group or community currently suffers as a consequence of historic wrongs. One form of harm, constitutive harm, differs from the aggregative account of harm assumed by the non-identity argument and is immune to it. It is the type of harm people suffer as members of certain historically wronged groups and communities. Therefore, the constitutive harm people suffer in cases of historic injustice may serve as a basis for justifying claims for historic justice. (shrink)
Suppose a person lives in a sub-Saharan country that has won its independence from colonial powers in the last 50 years or so. Suppose also that that person has become a high-ranking government official who makes decisions on how to allocate goods, such as civil service jobs and contracts with private firms. Should such a person refrain from considering any particulars about potential recipients or might it be appropriate to consider, for example, family membership, party affiliation, race or revolutionary stature (...) as reasons to benefit certain individuals at some cost to the general public? Which of these factors should be considered unjust, or even corrupt, as a basis on which to allocate state goods and which should not? This chapter outlines an attractive moral theory with African content that forbids both impartialism and a strong form of partialism that would permit government officials to favour members of their families or political parties. Between these two extremes, a moderate partialism is prescribed. This permits government agents to occasionally favour veterans and victims of state injustices at some cost to the general public. This chapter seeks to provide a new, unified explanation of why sub-Saharan values permit some forms of partiality, such as the preferential hiring of those who struggled against colonialism, but prohibit other nepotistic forms of partiality. (shrink)
John Arthur philosophically addresses the problems of racism and the legacy of past racial discrimination in the United States. Offering a thorough analysis of the concepts of race and racism, Arthur also discusses racial equality, poverty and race, reparations and affirmative action, and merit in ways that cut across the usual political lines. A philosopher, former civil-rights plaintiff and professor at an historically black college in the South, Arthur draws on both his personal experiences as well as his rigorous philosophical (...) training in this account. His conclusions about the meaning of merit, the defects of affirmative action, the importance of apology, and the need for true equality deal productively with one of America's most vexing problems. His book is also relevant to any society struggling with racial differences and past injustices. (shrink)
The renewed interest in the issue of black reparations, both in the public sphere and among scholars, is a welcome development because the racial injustices of the past continue to shape American society by disadvantaging African Americans in a variety of ways. Attention to the past and how it has shaped present-day inequality seems essential both to understanding our predicament and to justifying policies that would address and undermine racial inequality. Given this, any argument for policies designed to pursue racial (...) justice must be, at least in part, backward-looking, justifi ed partly as compensation for the effects of the wrongs of the past. However, some arguments about black reparations, both pro and con, are focused too far in the past. An unspoken assumption of much of the debate about black reparations is that these would be reparations for slavery. This, we argue, is a mistake. Racial inequality in the United States today may, ultimately, be based on slavery, but it is also based on the failure of the country to take effective steps since slavery to undermine the structural racial inequality that slavery put in place. From the latter part of the nineteenth century through the fi rst half of the twentieth century, the Jim Crow system continued to keep Blacks “in their place,” and even during and after the civil rights era no policies were adopted to dismantle the racial hierarchy that already existed. An important part of the story of racial inequality today is the history of housing and lending discrimination in the second half of the twentieth century (McCarthy 2002; 2004). Home equity, for many Americans, is a very important source of wealth, and the decades after World War II were ones of rapid home equity growth. They were the decades that saw the creation of a large, mostly suburban, middle class. But the middle class that was created was also mostly White, and this was due largely to government policies that (in many cases intentionally) excluded Blacks from the opportunities to get into the home market and benefi t from home equity growth. In this paper we argue that recent housing and lending discrimination constitutes an important basis for black reparations.. (shrink)
Reparations is an idea whose time has come. From civilian victims of war in Iraq and South America to descendents of slaves in the US to citizens of colonized nations in Africa and south Asia to indigenous peoples around the world--these groups and their advocates are increasingly arguing for the importance of addressing historical injustices that have long been either ignored or denied. This volume contributes to these debates by focusing the attention of a group of highly distinguished international experts (...) on the ways that reparations claims figure in contemporary political and social justice movements. Four broad types of reparations claims are examined, those involving indigenous peoples, the legacy of slavery in the United States, victims of war and conflict, and colonialism. In each instance, scholars and activists argue about the character of the injustice for which reparations are owed, why it is important to take these demands seriously, and what form redress should take. The aim is not consensus but to exhibit better the complexity of the issues involved--a goal which the interdisciplinary nature of the volume furthers--as well as the importance of taking seriously both conceptual issues and the actual politics of reparations. (shrink)
Contemporary white Americans cannot meaningfully ask forgiveness from present-day African Americans for slavery, because such a group apology does not have the mental state needed to communicate regret and intend that listeners forgive the group. Even if the requisite mental state were present, contemporary white Americans are not responsible for the wrong and cannot apologize for wrongs for which they are not responsible. Additionally, such a purported apology is not directed to the victims of the wrong but instead seeks forgiveness (...) from present-day citizens who were not enslaved and could not therefore accept such an apology on behalf of the slaves. (shrink)
The end of the twentieth century witnessed a resurgence of demands for reparations for slavery and segregation in the United States. At the same time, a chorus of prominent political theorists warned against the threat "identity politics" poses for democratic politics. This essay considers whether it is possible to construct an argument for reparations that responds to these concerns, particularly as they are articulated by Wendy Brown. To do so, I explore how Brown's analysis of the dangers of political organizing (...) around "wounded identities" and of appealing to the state for redress might inform and be informed by arguments for black reparations. (shrink)