This essay argues that reparations for wrongs by one's ancestors can be justified. Differential benefits to those descended from victims of one's ancestors is discrimination which can be justified by one's right to be partial to one's ancestors, doing what they, with clearer thinking, would have done--namely compensating their victims. So, while there is no obligation to discriminate, one has a right to, in virtue of one's partiality towards one's ancestors.
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)
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)
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)
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)
The paper addresses the question of the appropriateness of a Congressional apology for American slavery. After offering an account of what an apology entails, I consider the claim that today's Congress fails to stand in the right relation to the guilt of American slavery to apologize for it. I argue that, while the current Congress and the constituency it represents do not bear a guilt that would permit it to apologize FOR slavery, it has inherited a guilt RELATED TO slavery (...) for which it is appropriate for it to apologize. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: Prelude -- Introduction -- Part I: A Cabinet of Diversity -- 1. Object 1: Diversity Doesn't Work? -- 2. Object 2: Dominance -- 3. Object 3: From Wunderkammner to the Majors -- 4. Object 4: Patrol/Willy -- 5. Object 5: Accumulation/Difference that Makes No Difference -- 6. Object 6: Colorblindness/Federalist Paper no.6 -- 7. Object 7: Partition/No. 76-811: A Grievance Not of Their Making -- 8. Object 8: The Morrill Acts: "The Land Grab University" -- 9. (...) Afterthoughts -- Part II: The Constellation of Reparation -- 10. Star 1: Attempted Remedies -- 11. Star 2: Outlines of Epistemic Reparation -- 12. Star 3: How is a University like a Light Switch? -- 13. Afterthoughts -- Part III: Reparative Endeavors -- 14. Thread 1: Why Poetics? -- 15. Thread 2: Breath-Taking Landscapes: Place based interventions -- 16. Thread 3: Counter-space as the dramatization of a poetics of refusal -- 17. Thread 4: Gates/Gatekeeping -- 18. Thread 5: Unraveling Patrol -- 19. Thread 6: From Rank to Rhizome -- 20. Afterthoughts -- Acknowledgements -- Bibliography -- Notes -- Index. (shrink)
Machine learning algorithms pervade contemporary society. They are integral to social institutions, inform processes of governance, and animate the mundane technologies of daily life. Consistently, the outcomes of machine learning reflect, reproduce, and amplify structural inequalities. The field of fair machine learning has emerged in response, developing mathematical techniques that increase fairness based on anti-classification, classification parity, and calibration standards. In practice, these computational correctives invariably fall short, operating from an algorithmic idealism that does not, and cannot, address systemic, Intersectional (...) stratifications. Taking present fair machine learning methods as our point of departure, we suggest instead the notion and practice of algorithmic reparation. Rooted in theories of Intersectionality, reparative algorithms name, unmask, and undo allocative and representational harms as they materialize in sociotechnical form. We propose algorithmic reparation as a foundation for building, evaluating, adjusting, and when necessary, omitting and eradicating machine learning systems. (shrink)
Positive law and problems with identifying beneficiaries confine reparations for U.S. slavery to the level of discourse. Within the discourse, the broader topic of rectification can be addressed. The rectification of slavery includes restoring full humanity to our ideas of the slaves and their descendants and it requires disabuse of the false biological idea of race. This is not racial eliminativism, because biological race never existed, but more importantly because African American racial identities and redress of present racism are (...) based on lifeworlds of race in contrast with which the biological idea has been an external imposition. (shrink)
In a recent paper, Thomas Carnes develops a novel argument for reparations for historical injustices. This Reply shows that Carnes succeeds only at the cost of invoking an implausible formalism. The Reply also presents in brief a simpler argument for reparations.
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)
Reparative Environmental Justice in a World of Wounds examines how we can repair human and biotic relationships damaged by environmental injustice, climate change, animal exploitation, and ecological destruction by arguing for the merits of a reparative approach to environmental justice and critically assessing challenges that come with it.
This paper sketches an account of reparative justice for climate refugees, focusing on total land loss due to sea-level rise. I begin by outlining the harm of this loss in terms of self-determination and cultural heritage. I then consider, first, who is owed these reparations? Second, who should pay such reparations? Third, in what form should the reparations be paid? I end with thoughts on the project of reparative justice more generally, arguing that such obligations do not (...) depend upon a perfect account of how reparations might be fulfilled; we simply have an obligation to shoot the arrow as close to the target as we can. (shrink)
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)
The paper adopts philosophical research methodologies of conceptual clarification, critical analysis, and extensive argumentation. It attempts to jointly employ African metaphysical and epistemological grounds to address the problem of finding appropriate justification for reparations for Africa on the issue of past slavery and slave trade. The paper states that the crux of the problem is how to formulate a coherent theoretical framework, which provides a strong connection between the direct victims of slavery and slave trade and their descendants in (...) Africa, on the basis of which the latter could justifiably claim for restitutive justice against the wrong done to the former. Western traditional accounts usually define reparations such that the concept only intelligibly applies to moral relations among contemporaries, not between the departed and the living. This reasoning, therefore, forecloses any moral relations between the departed and the living, making it morally unjustifiable for the latter to claim for restitutive justice on behalf of the former. However, this study re-thinks the concept of reparations, using two core areas of African philosophy. African metaphysics recognizes that an experiential being is ontologically connected to the other, that is, any other experiential being and spirits, inclusive of ancestors. This relationship also invariably closes the epistemological gap between the experiential and non-experiential worlds, making them a unity within African cosmology. Situated within the present study, the foregoing shows that the living could justifiably claim for restitutive justice on behalf of the departed, the direct victims of slavery and slave trade. (shrink)
The debate concerning the legitimacy of awarding reparations for historical injustices focuses on the issue of finding a proper moral justification for granting reparations to the descendants of the victims of injustices which took place in the remote past. Regarding the case of Romanian communism as a more recent injustice, and analyzing the moral problems entailed by this historical lapse, within this paper I argue that overcoming such a legacy cannot be carried out, as in the case of (...) historical injustices situated more remotely in time, through the means of selective reparations, such as restitutions or compensations. For, even though they are justified from the perspective of rectificatory justice, selective reparations do not fulfill the requirements of social justice. Rather, I argue that the fall of the Romanian communist regime should have been followed by an equal distribution of all properties illegitimately seized by the state, to all adult Romanian citizens at that time, in order to attain the imperative of equal distribution of property among all citizens. The equal distribution thesis is the only way through which the Romanian society could have complied, at that moment of political and social renewal, with the requirements of justice. I also aim at explaining why other principles of justice, which either have or could have been implemented, cannot be properly justified. Finally, I analyze two main objections which could be invoked against my thesis, namely the economic efficiency objection and the legal realist objection. (shrink)
Offering the most comprehensive book-length study to-date of reparation programs, this handbook contains an innovative blend of case-study analysis, thematic papers, and national legislation documents from leading scholars and practitioners. This landmark work will make a genuine contribution to the theory and practice of reparations.
This paper assesses recent trends in international law regarding the availability and character of reparations. Presently, reparations issues have arisen particularly in domestic societies searching for transitional justice in the aftermath of authoritarian rule. These issues are shaped by national legal systems, but are also influenced by international practice. In these transitional settings, the search for justice is affected by political preoccupations such as the persistent influence of displaced prior authoritarian leadership as well as by real and alleged (...) limitations on the financial capabilities of transitional states. No general approach can address the interplay between national and international law at this stage. Reliance must be placed on a case by case approach, considering matters of context such as the degree of suffering and disability inflicted on particular categories of claimants, the balance of claims versus the State’s demands for resources to fund sustainable and equitable development. Remoteness in time bears on the credibility of the claimants as present victims tend to be given priority over victims in the distant past when assessing relative merits. Scale and selectivity suggests that if the total of claims overwhelms the administrative capacity of the state, there will be a tendency to substitute apology and symbolic gestures for material ones, and award reparations based on individual need associated with the prior deprivation. International law informs background moral and political thinking about reparations, but practical considerations of capability and prudence are decisive in most instances, making the influence of international law indirect and sometimes marginal. (shrink)
In spite of some revisionist attempts to rationalise slavery as just another form of trade between interested parties, there is an overwhelming conviction that it represented an age of man’s highest inhumanity to fellow man. Accordingly, calls have been loud and persistent as to the need for reparation which though will never compensate for actual loss, nevertheless has the possibility of symbolising penitence and serve as cushion for some of the debilitating damages done. This paper examines the moral basis of (...) the call for reparation. In agreeing with the moral validity of the claims, the paper probes further in a realistic manner and argue that African states in their present situation cannot make a serious case for reparation. The paper argues further that for African states to position themselves for genuine reparation struggles in this age of political realism, urgent steps must be taken to ensure the useful and productive deployment of available resources in Africa and remove the continent from its appendage status with the west. The paper concludes that only when African states are able to break the cycle of poverty and underdevelopment, freeing themselves from external manipulations can a credible and rewarding case for reparation be made. Keywords : Reparation, Slavery, Realism, Africa, Leadership. (shrink)
All of these claims for reparations have mobilized popular support, and all share a degree of intuitive plausibility. The challenge to the theorist is to judge whether and which of such demands are grounded in sound principles of political normativity, so as to be able to select out the valid claims and to measure how the urgency of these claims compares with other demands on the public agenda. The most basic question for those considering the justiﬁcations of reparations (...) is how to orient their theories within the space of reasons. Do valid claims for reparation rest at the deepest level on reasons we have for redressing a past injustice? Or do they rather rest on reasons we have to improve our current relations so that we can get along better in the future? Are valid reparative demands backward- or forward-looking? (shrink)
This introduction to our special section of Human Rights Review on Reparations and Peacebuilding gives an overview of the challenges currently confronting both peacebuilding and reparations. The special section aims to explore the relationship between these two mechanisms and examines the role that reparations schemes can play in salving or exacerbating conflict.
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)
This article proposes a normative theory of reparations for political violence from the standpoint of contemporary critical theory debates on recognition and redistribution. I argue that any satisfactory reparations theory should aspire to ‘status parity’, a term coined by Nancy Fraser, and should include symbolic and material components for both individuals and groups. The essay argues that reparations can promote a number of worthy goals, including the reaffirmation of moral respect and dignity of victims.
Between 1904 and 1908, German colonialists in German South West Africa (GSWA, known today as Namibia) committed genocide and other international crimes against two indigenous groups, the Herero and the Nama. From the late 1990s, the Herero have sought reparations from the German government and several German corporations for what occurred more than a hundred years ago. This article examines and contextualizes the issues concerning reparations for historical human rights claims. It describes and analyzes the events in GSWA (...) at the time. It further explores whether international humanitarian law and international human rights law today permit reparatations to be obtained. The article therefore examines the origins of international criminal law, as well as international human rights and humanitarian law, to determine whether what occurred then were violations of the law already in force. Finally, the article examines and evaluates the Herero reparations cases, as well as the potential impact of the cases on the wider reparations movement that sees an increasing number of claims for events that occurred during colonial times. (shrink)
This paper describes the reparations programs implemented in Chile from 1990 to 2004. These programs target the victims of human rights violations committed during the military regime. These include the relatives of the missing and executed persons; people who were dismissed from their jobs for political motives; peasants who participated in land reform and were expelled from the land for political reasons; and Chilean exiles returning to the country. Political prisoners and torture victims were considered only in 2003. The (...) creation of the Commission for Political Imprisonment and Torture was followed by a law which provides pensions to political prisoners and torture victims identified by the Commission. Created with different kinds of victims in mind, these programs were based on pensions, social services, educational benefits, and public recognition of the violations of the victims’ rights, monuments, sites of memory, and health assistance, mainly in the form of mental health services. The Program for Reparation and Integral Health Assistance for Victims of Human Rights Violations, created in 1991 and reinforced by a law at the end of 2004, has been the reparation measure for all kinds of victims of human rights violations, including third-generation relatives. (shrink)
Reparations whether to blacks for slavery, or to Indians for land theft, or to settle any number of other conflicts, has an interesting political background. Analysts on the left, who are usually no friend of private property rights, nevertheless rely on this doctrine to support their case for reparations. Those on the right, in contrast, who supposedly defend the institution of property rights, jettison them when it comes to reparations. It is only libertarians, such as the present (...) authors, who both favor private property rights in general, and, also, apply them to the issue of reparations, who are logically consistent. (shrink)
Given the basic tenets of just war theory and those of United States law regard- ing compensatory justice, it is argued that the U.S. invasion of Iraq from 2003-present is morally unjust and that the U.S. owes substantial reparations to Iraq.
This paper provides an overview of psychosocial and mental health theory and practice as it has emerged in contexts of war, post-war, and transitional situations. It identifies several models that have guided much of this work until now, critically examines their underlying assumptions, and posits a series of limitations inherent in the dominant paradigm of post-traumatic stress disorder, especially as applied in the aftermath of political violence. It argues that psychosocial work as part of reparations processes must be designed (...) and enacted within specific historical, cultural, sociopolitical contexts, with singular individuals and their particular communities. This perspective permits more effective ways of responding to and working within the diversity of challenges facing societies seeking to reconstruct in the wake of war and other forms of organized political violence. An alternative framework for this work is proposed, which must be articulated and shaped in practice by individuals, families, and groups in their neighborhoods, communities, and societies. Exhumations and reburials, in two distinct contexts, are examined as sites for psychosocial work within reparation processes. The paper concludes by describing ongoing questions that challenge psychosocial workers hoping to contribute to reparations work. (shrink)
Richard Swinburne (in his "Responsibility and Atonement") argues for a sacrificial version of the Atonement, in which the individual penitent offers the life of Christ to God in (partial) reparation for his sins. I argue that any version of this account is both conceptually incoherent and morally unsatisfying and offer in its place a version of the exemplary theory of the Atonement which, I claim, meets the conditions he lays down for any satisfactory account.
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)
ABSTRACT The aim of this article is to offer a reparative framework for current feminist approaches, most of which seek to inhabit rather than assimilate previous forms of inclusivity or intersectionality, by vindicating the pioneering role of past feminisms. For this purpose, I will stick to a double-edged methodological tool that has been an object of dispute in feminist and literary studies for the last decades, namely, critique and postcritique, two concepts that could be said to bear witness to old (...) and new ways of doing feminism. My aim is not to dismiss recent feminist work but to render visible forgotten critiques that have been an essential heritage of feminism. To acknowledge such debts is part of the reparative reading I present here, for I hold that the desire for deep knowledge is accretive and demands a closer and more respectful attention to past practices and theoretical positions. (shrink)
This article addresses the question of whether present day individuals can inherit rights to compensation from their ancestors. It argues that contemporary writing on compensatory justice in general, and on the inheritability of rights to compensation in particular, has mischaracterized what is at stake in contexts where those responsible for wrongdoing continually refuse to make reparation for their unjust actions, and has subsequently misunderstood how later generations can advance claims rooted in the past mistreatment of their forebears. In particular, a (...) full consideration of the wrongful character of non-rectification needs to take account of the multiplicity of temporal points at which compensation could have been, but was not, paid, each with potentially significant consequences for the victims of injustice. This has relevance for what is owed to those who have been wrongfully denied compensation for wrongs that caused them direct harm, and can be extended to others, such as their direct heirs, who are likewise affected by non-rectification. This opens the door to the endorsement of potentially extensive contemporary claims on behalf of the heirs of victims of wrongdoing. (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)
One of the least studied aspects of programs of reparation, both in theory and in practice, is financing. This is odd given the fact that mobilizing resources, both domestic and foreign, is politically one of the most difficult tasks any society can undertake. This paper centers on the subject of financing reparation programs and attempts to answer the following questions: Which factors play a role in the process of mobilizing domestic and foreign resources to finance reparations? Is financing solely (...) a technical-economic problem, or does it involve political, social, and cultural factors? Why do governments prefer financing social programs instead of programs of reparation? How do the proposals made by truth commissions regarding financing affect the viability of programs of reparation? Which factors explain the efficacy of financing models of reparation programs? In order to address these questions, the paper has been divided into three main sections. In the first, programs of reparation are analyzed from the perspective of political economy, which means that both economic and non-economic factors that influence the mobilization of domestic and foreign resources by a transitional society are taken into consideration. The second section focuses on international experiences in the area of financing programs of reparation, with the purpose of extracting some lessons. The third section presents the main conclusions of the study. (shrink)