Black leaders have been calling for reparations for Black Americans for the institution of American slavery for decades. Now due to an uptick in support from multi-ethnic groups a Brookings Institution Fellow believes it is a dreamt that could realize in 10 years.
Author Andre Perry is a scholar-in-residence at American University. He told Axios on HBO the idea seems now less far-fetched.
“What’s happening in the streets today is indicative of the attitude change that is occurring in America,” Perry said. “When I look out there, it’s a much more diverse coalition than I’ve ever seen before. And so, I’m encouraged that reparations is going to happen.”
Many scholars, including Perry, have called reparations “a moral debt that is owed to black people” for centuries of not only slavery, but systemic racism, oppression and discrimination by lay people and politicians alike. Perry posited that the racial wealth gap cannot be closed by efforts made by Black people alone.
“It is the choice of racist politicians to hurt and suppress Black people, but we don’t talk about those personal choices, we don’t talk about the personal choices that led to 95 percent of Black business owners not getting the PPP loan,” Perry told Axios. “So I get real peeved when people talk about personal responsibility and not talk about the policymakers that endorsed slavery, that endorsed housing discrimination, that endorsed a broken criminal justice system …Those are the choices that are creating wealth inequality at a scale that no one person … could ever do. … Don’t point to the personal responsibility of folks who were victimized by racist policy.”
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Though he’s in favor of direct cash payments to Black Americans – like the U.S. covid-19 stimulus checks sent to Americans by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) – Perry believes they are more likely to come in the form of funding for businesses, education and housing.
“I do think you’re going to see some type of demand and that demand will be heard ultimately,” Perry said. “So I think within 10 years you’re going to see some form of reparations distributed to Black Americans.”