We are finally talking about reparations
Apr 20, 2021
Episode 415

We are finally talking about reparations

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For the first time since Reconstruction, Congress has advanced a proposal to consider financial reparations for Black American descendants of slavery.

Just a note: We recorded this episode Tuesday morning, before Derek Chauvin was found guilty of the murder of George Floyd.

For nearly a decade, the Black Lives Matter movement has called attention to the everyday injustices Black Americans endure, helping to build understanding around issues from systemic racism in the criminal justice system to the racial wealth gap. Now Congress is starting to act. Last week, for the first time since the Reconstruction era’s failed “40 acres and a mule” plan, lawmakers advanced a proposal to consider providing financial reparations to Black American descendants of U.S. slavery. 

Today on “Make Me Smart,” we spoke with William A. Darity Jr. and A. Kirsten Mullen, co-authors of the book “From Here to Equality: Reparations for Black Americans in the Twenty-First Century,” about that proposal and others that seek to make amends for the harm inflicted on generations of Black citizens by discriminatory public policies. Darity and Mullen walked us through the history and laid out the central characteristics they believe a reparations plan should address. For example, “moving the Black share of wealth in America into consistency with the Black share of the population,” which would cost about $11 trillion, Darity estimated. 

Join us for this fascinating — and long-overdue — conversation. We’ll wrap up the episode with a marathon news fix covering everything from Black executives to Dogecoin, Mars, cannabis and money in politics. Phew! 
Here’s everything we talked about today:

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The team

Molly Wood Host
Donna Tam Interim Senior Producer
Tony Wagner Digital Producer
Marissa Cabrera Producer
Bridget Bodnar Senior producer