Atonement: The Jewish Case For Black Reparations
Recent reparations debates for African American descendants of slaves have shone a light into the darkest times in the country’s history: 250 years of Black enslavement, followed by systemic discrimination in housing, education and jobs that continues to this day.
The Jewish experience of the Holocaust offers a great case for African American reparations as a way to right historical wrongs.
The design of reparations for Black people in the U.S. would have to be “very unique” to the historical circumstances and not completely modeled after Holocaust reparations, according to Rabbi Peretz Wolf-Prusan of Hamaqom – The Place, a Berkeley, California-based educational institution.
“Our greatest perpetrator of calamity in Jewish history could be our greatest teacher as to how we, as American Jews, deal with racism in America,” Wolf-Prusan told The Jewish News.
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African American reparations to close wealth gap
One of the most important aspects of reparations is that it might help close the growing wealth gap between Black and white Americans that continues to grow from hundreds of years of systemic mistreatment of Blacks, often legalized and sanctioned by public policy.
According to federal data from 2017, a white family’s median wealth is 9.7 times higher than that of Black families.
Using the Holocaust as an example, reparations for slavery in the U.S. may take different forms to determine who would be eligible and how they will be compensated.
The idea of some form of reparations — whether individual payments or financial support for Black institutions, or a mix of the two — has been around since slavery was fornally ended in 1865.