Tuesday, November 9, 2021 from 12:00 p.m. to 12:45 p.m.
Warren Hall, 131
BLSA and LS4CRU are holding a discussion and Q&A on Black Reparations with Professor Brooks on Tuesday, November 9th in WH 131. The discussion will include a Q&A and a recount of his experience testifying before the Governor's Task Force on Reparations.
About Professor Brooks
Roy L. Brooks is the Warren Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of San Diego.
Professor Brooks served as a senior editor of the Yale Law Journal, clerked for the Honorable Clifford Scott Green of the U.S. District Court in Philadelphia, and practiced corporate law with Cravath, Swaine & Moore in New York City. He joined the USD School of Law faculty in 1979.
Professor Brooks is a member of the American Law Institute and the Authors Guild. He has received national book awards including the Gustavus Myers Outstanding Book Award (twice) and the Brandeis University Library Learned Research Journal Award. He received the Thorsnes Prize for Excellence in Scholarship (twice) and the Thorsnes Prize for Excellence in Teaching (twice).
Professor Brooks was named a USD University Professor in 2005 and 2018. He teaches and writes in the areas of legal and critical theory, civil procedure, civil rights, employment discrimination, and international human rights.
Also available in print at the LRC and Copley Library.
Roy L. Brooks reframes one of the most important, controversial, and misunderstood issues of our time in this far-reaching reassessment of the growing debate on black reparation. Atonement and Forgiveness shifts the focus of the issue from the backward-looking question of compensation for victims to a more forward-looking racial reconciliation. Offering a comprehensive discussion of the history of the black redress movement, this book puts forward a powerful new plan for repairing the damaged relationship between the federal government and black Americans in the aftermath of 240 years of slavery and another 100 years of government-sanctioned racial segregation. Key to Brooks's vision is the government's clear signal that it understands the magnitude of the atrocity it committed against an innocent people, that it takes full responsibility, and that it publicly requests forgiveness--in other words, that it apologizes. The government must make that apology believable, Brooks explains, by a tangible act that turns the rhetoric of apology into a meaningful, material reality, that is, by reparation. Apology and reparation together constitute atonement. Atonement, in turn, imposes a reciprocal civic obligation on black Americans to forgive, which allows black Americans to start relinquishing racial resentment and to begin trusting the government's commitment to racial equality. Brooks's bold proposal situates the argument for reparations within a larger, international framework--namely, a post-Holocaust vision of government responsibility for genocide, slavery, apartheid, and similar acts of injustice. Atonement and Forgiveness makes a passionate, convincing case that only with this spirit of heightened morality, identity, egalitarianism, and restorative justice can genuine racial reconciliation take place in America.
Slavery and the Atlantic slave trade are among the most heinous crimes against humanity committed in the modern era. Yet, to this day no former slave society in the Americas has paid reparations to former slaves or their descendants. European countries have never compensated their former colonies in the Americas, whose wealth relied on slave labor, to a greater or lesser extent. Likewise, no African nation ever obtained any form of reparations for the Atlantic slave trade. Ana Lucia Araujo argues that these calls for reparations are not only not dead, but have a long and persevering history. She persuasively demonstrates that since the 18th century, enslaved and freed individuals started conceptualizing the idea of reparations in petitions, correspondences, pamphlets, public speeches, slave narratives, and judicial claims, written in English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese. In different periods, despite the legality of slavery, slaves and freed people were conscious of having been victims of a great injustice. This is the first book to offer a transnational narrative history of the financial, material, and symbolic reparations for slavery and the Atlantic slave trade. Drawing from the voices of various social actors who identified themselves as the victims of the Atlantic slave trade and slavery, Araujo illuminates the multiple dimensions of the demands of reparations, including the period of slavery, the emancipation era, the post-abolition period, and the present.
If affirmative action and other ethnicity-based social programs are justified, then J. Angelo Corlett believes it is important to come to an adequate understanding of the nature of ethnicity in general and ethnic group membership in particular. In Race, Racism, and Reparations, Corlett reconceptualizes traditional ideas of race in terms of ethnicity. As he makes clear, the answers to the questions "What is a Native American"? or "What is a Latino/a"? have important implications for public policy, especially for those programs designed to address historic injustices and economic and social imbalances among different groups in our society. Having supplanted "race" with a well-defined concept of ethnicity, the author then analyzes the nature and function of racism. Corlett argues for a notion of racism that must encompass not only racist beliefs but also racist actions, omissions, and attempted actions. His aim is to craft a definition of racism that will prove useful in legal and public policy contexts.Corlett places special emphasis on the broad questions of whether reparations for ethnic groups are desirable and what forms those reparations should take: land, money, social programs? He addresses the need for differential affirmative action programs and reparations policies--the experiences (and oppressors) of different ethnic groups vary greatly. Arguments for reparations to Native and African Americans are considered in light of a variety of objections that are or might be raised against them. Corlett articulates and critically analyzes a number of possible proposals for reparations.
Also available in print at the LRC.
An investigation of America's failure to atone for the wrongs of slavery Ever since the unfulfilled promise of "forty acres and a mule" after the Civil War, America has consistently failed to compensate Black Americans for the wrongs of slavery. Exploring why America has struggled to confront the issue of racial injustice, Long Overdue provides a history of the racial reparations movement and shows why it is more relevant now than ever. Through an examination of Americans' unwillingness to address economic injustice, Charles P. Henry crafts a skillful moral, political, economic, and historical argument for African American reparations, focusing on successful political cases. In the wake of successes in South Africa and New Zealand, new models for reparations have found traction in a number of American cities and states, from Dallas to Baltimore and Virginia to California. By looking at other dispossessed groups--Native Americans, Holocaust survivors, and Japanese internment victims in the 1940s--Henry shows how some groups have won the fight for reparations, and explores new ways forward for Black Americans. From Hurricane Katrina to Hurricane Harvey, the events of the 21st century continue to show that the legacy of racial segregation and economic disadvantage is never far below the surface in America. As the issue of reparations is brought to the national stage by figures such as Ta-Nehisi Coates and Kamala Harris, Long Overdue provides a must-read survey of the political and legislative efforts made toward reparations over the course of American history, and offers a new path toward establishing equality for all Black Americans.
Racism and discrimination have choked economic opportunity for African Americans at nearly every turn. At several historic moments, the trajectory of racial inequality could have been altered dramatically. Perhaps no moment was more opportune than the early days of Reconstruction, when the U.S. government temporarily implemented a major redistribution of land from former slaveholders to the newly emancipated enslaved. But neither Reconstruction nor the New Deal nor the civil rights struggle led to an economically just and fair nation. Today, systematic inequality persists in the form of housing discrimination, unequal education, police brutality, mass incarceration, employment discrimination, and massive wealth and opportunity gaps. Economic data indicates that for every dollar the average white household holds in wealth the average black household possesses a mere ten cents. In From Here to Equality, William Darity Jr. and A. Kirsten Mullen confront these injustices head-on and make the most comprehensive case to date for economic reparations for U.S. descendants of slavery. After opening the book with a stark assessment of the intergenerational effects of white supremacy on black economic well-being, Darity and Mullen look to both the past and the present to measure the inequalities borne of slavery. Using innovative methods that link monetary values to historical wrongs, they next assess the literal and figurative costs of justice denied in the 155 years since the end of the Civil War. Finally, Darity and Mullen offer a detailed roadmap for an effective reparations program, including a substantial payment to each documented U.S. black descendant of slavery. Taken individually, any one of the three eras of injustice outlined by Darity and Mullen--slavery, Jim Crow, and modern-day discrimination--makes a powerful case for black reparations. Taken collectively, they are impossible to ignore.
This fourth edition of Racist America is significantly revised and updated, with an eye toward racism issues arising regularly in our contemporary era. This edition incorporates many recent research studies and reports on U.S. racial issues that update and enhance the last edition's chapters. It expands the discussion and data on social science concepts such as intersectionality and gendered racism, as well as the concepts of the white racial frame, systemic racism, and the elite-white-male dominance system from research studies by Joe Feagin and his colleagues. The authors have further polished the book and added more examples, anecdotes, and narratives about contemporary racism to make it yet more readable for undergraduates.
This book considers how white U.S.-Americans may participate in racial justice-making, and shows how 'white' identities embody problematic moral realities, arguing that reparations for people of African descent and sovereignty for Native peoples are critical for racial justice and transformation of what it means to be white in the United States.
In this Article, I examine why large-scale reparations should be made to African Americans and how that task might be accomplished. In a pioneering 1973 book, The Case for Black Reparations, Yale law professor Boris Bittker argued that the oppression faced by African Americans was more extensive than that faced by other racial groups and required major reparations in compensation. At the time, almost no one paid any attention to his analysis. Today, however, many analysts have finally resurrected the idea of reparations and have begun to take action on that idea. There are many voices concerned about the high costs of anti-black oppression that have continued over four centuries. It seems ever more likely that reparations in some form will be paid to African Americans over the next half century.
The twentieth century ended with the vindication of many of its most mistreated victims' cries for reparation. Holocaust survivors retrieved over $8 billion in assets frozen in bank accounts or looted by the Nazis; Japanese Americans interned during World War II received compensation from the U.S. government; Chile compensated descendants of Pinochet's victims; Japan redressed Korean "comfort women"; and Canada paid damages to Aboriginals for forced assimilation of their children. Absent from the list was the longest suffering and most visible of groups seeking repair - African Americans.
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.
This Article has democracy as its starting point. First, this Article will discuss the theories of democracy and argue that true democracy incorporates both majoritarian and substantive democracy. Next, this Article will argue that substantive democracy requires each citizen to be valued and heard equally, which cannot happen if some citizens are oppressed or languishing under the vestiges of oppression. This Article will then present a summary of slavery, the Jim Crow Era's de jure discrimination, and their continuing legacies. It will argue that the effects of the U.S. government's oppression of and discrimination against Africans and their descendants during slavery and Jim Crow persist today. This Article will also argue that because this oppression exists, the United States is not a true democracy. Next, this Article will outline the history of resistance to oppression and discrimination, as well as demands for reparations. The Author will assert that there is a need for assessment and remedy formulation for this oppression in the form of reparations and that substantive democracy requires reparations-a sincere effort to identify the continuing injuries and develop reparative remedies, both material and symbolic, to address these continuing injuries that result in U.S. society treating African descendants as citizens, yet, not equal to whites. This Article also argues that the United States' failure to make reparations maintains the myth of white superiority and black inferiority. This Article concludes that in making reparations, the United States can become a true democracy.
This Article examines the relationship between public memory, rectificatory justice, and reparations. To accomplish this it explores how social memory studies, the philosophical examination of injustice and rectification, and reparations jurisprudence bear on the question of governmental accountability for America's two-century history of chattel slavery. Rather than a comprehensive study, this Article represents my initial effort to sketch the intersection of these areas of research in relation to the subject.
States have long demanded reparations from other states at the end of wars. More recently non-state actors such as the Aborigines of Australia, the Maori of New Zealand, and the Native Americans of North America are demanding the return of their tribal lands from Europeans as reparation; Eastern Europeans dispossessed by socialist governments are demanding the return of their property as reparation; and African Americans are demanding reparation for the injuries of slavery and its aftermath. The last of these demands is our subject.
In the spring of the 2019, the Columbia Journal of Race and Law invited activist, attorney and scholar, Nkechi Taifa, to Columbia Law School for a public lecture on the topic of Reparations for descendent of enslaved Africans in the United States. Reparations has been a subject to much public discourse over the years and, in the last decade in particular, there has been a renewed interest on the political viability of establishing a federal commission to study the harm caused by slavery and develop recommendations to repairing those lingering harms on living African Americans today. On June 19, 2019, the House of Representatives held a historic public hearing, where prominent African American scholars, activists, writers, lawyers, amongst others, shared their thoughts on the topic of reparations. This renewed interest is a culmination of over a century long struggle by the reparations’ movement in the United States.
Ms. Taifa offers that historical view of the reparation’s movement in the United States. In her captivating address to the Columbia Law School community, Ms. Taifa articulates the passions, courage, vision, successes, frustrations and resilience of the Reparations movement in the United States from the late 1800s to the present. At the conclusion of Ms. Taifa’s remark, it was obvious to us at CJRL that Ms. Taifa’s timely messages was much a much-needed intervention in the Reparations discourse. It is with that aim that the CJRL editorial board, in consultation with Ms. Taifa, decided to publish her remarks. Aside from the citations and annotation, the text below is largely as she delivered it a Columbia Law school audience on March 26, 2019. We are grateful to Ms. Taifa for allowing us to publish her speech and for working with us through the editorial process. We are overjoyed to be able to share her work with the world.
Some reparations commentators are concerned that money is not enough, but we believe that money is exactly what is required to eliminate the black-white wealth gap—the most glaring indicator of racial injustice in America. Ultimately, respect for black Americans as people and as citizens—and acknowledgment, redress, and closure for the history and financial hardship they have endured—requires monetary compensation.
Discusses historical background and legislative proposals concerning reparations for the enslavement of African Americans, including H.R. 40, to establish a commission to study the institution of slavery and racial discrimination against African Americans and to recommend remedies to Congress; and H.Res. 194 to apologize for the enslavement of African Americans and their racial segregation. Reviews arguments for and against issuing reparations to African Americans.
This policy report from the Brookings Institute "provide[s] a history of reparations in the United States, missed opportunities to redress the racial wealth gap, and specific details of a viable reparations package for Black Americans."
Established in April, 2015, the National African American Reparations Commission (NAARC) is a group of distinguished professionals from across the country with outstanding accomplishments in the fields of law, medicine, journalism, academia, history, civil rights and social justice advocacy.
They are united in a common commitment to fight for reparatory justice, compensation and restoration of African American communities that were plundered by the historical crimes of slavery, segregation and colonialism and that continue to be victimized by the legacies of slavery and American apartheid.
This bill establishes the Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans. The commission shall examine slavery and discrimination in the colonies and the United States from 1619 to the present and recommend appropriate remedies.
The commission shall identify (1) the role of the federal and state governments in supporting the institution of slavery, (2) forms of discrimination in the public and private sectors against freed slaves and their descendants, and (3) lingering negative effects of slavery on living African Americans and society.
This book considers institutional racism as a problem that exists within modern societies. Its roots lie with the transatlantic slave trade and slavery and the solution involves ridding society of the problem. It is argued here that, first, there needs to be an acceptance of its existence, then developing the tools needed to deal with it and, finally, to implement those tools so that institutional racism can be permanently removed from society. The book has four themes: the first considers the nature of institutional racism, the second theme looks at instances of institutional racism through matters such as deaths in custody and skin lightening, the third considers the concept of reparations and the final area looks at the development of social movements as a way of pushing institutional racism up the political agenda. The development of a social movement is part of a social discourse which would, for example, push mentoring as a form of reparations. There is a need for more research on the manifestations of institutional racism and this book is part of that discourse. It is argued that the legacy of the slave trade and slavery is continuing and contemporary through the presence of institutional racism in society. This problem has not been addressed through legislation and policies devised to combat racial discrimination. Institutional racism needs to be understood as being located in the processes and procedures of societal institutions.
Today, the debate over reparations--whether African-Americans should be compensated for decades of racial subjugation--stands as the most racially divisive issue in American politics. In this short, definitive work, Alfred L. Brophy, an expert on racial violence, regards the debate overreparations from the 1700s to the present, examining the arguments on both sides of the current debate. Taking us inside litigation and legislatures past and present, examining failed and successful lawsuits, and reparations actions by legislatures, newspapers, schools, and businesses, includingapologies and truth commissions, this book offers a valuable historical and legal perspective for reparations advocates and critics alike.
In this fascinating book, George Schedler offers fresh moral and legal perspectives on two legacies of the Civil War: the adoption of the Confederate battle flag by Southern states and the question of African American reparations. Schedler demonstrates that constitutional objections to Southern states' display of the battle flag are without merit, arguing that either the flag is not a racist symbol or there is a similar case for attaching racist significance to the stars and stripes. Drawing on scholarship of the Civil War and its aftermath, the author concludes that the Confederate battle flag can actually be seen as a multicultural symbol. Schedler's analysis of reparations focuses on the principle that whatever the enslaved would have earned and enjoyed had they not been enslaved should determine compensation. Highly original and thought-provoking, this book will be of interest to students and scholars of the Civil War, moral philosophy, and constitutional law.
Growing interest in reparations for African Americans has prompted a range of responses, from lawsuits against major American corporations and a march in Washington to an anti-reparations ad campaign. As a result, the historical link between slavery and contemporary race relations is more potent and obvious than ever. Lawmakers, distinguished academics, and grassroots organizers have embraced the idea that reparations should be pursued vigorously in courts of law and legislative bodies. But others ask, Who should pay? And how would reparations help heal the wounds of the past? This comprehensive collection -- the only one of its kind -- gathers together the seminal essays and key participants in the debate. Pro-reparations essays by an array of contributors, including Congressman John Conyers Jr., Christopher Hitchens, Professor Molefi Kete Asante, and activist Deadria C. Farmer-Paellmann, are balanced by counterarguments by Shelby Steele, Armstrong Williams, and linguist John McWhorter, among others. Also included are important documents such as the First Congressional Reparations Bill of 1867 and the Dakar Declaration of 2001. Whether you are for or against reparations, Should America Pay? is the definitive sourcebook for future discussions on the subject and is invaluable to anyone looking for historical and legal insight into one of America's most urgent and passionate debates.