Though he is one of the most respected reparations scholars of the day, Dr. Sandy Darity has been excluded from the witness list to testify at the second congressional hearing to further discuss the H.R. 40 bill on Wednesday, Feb. 17 at 10 a.m.
The current witness list includes: E. Tendayi Achiume, a UCLA law professor; Laurence ‘Larry’ Elder, attorney, author and radio host; researcher Dreisen Heath; Kamm Howard, National Male Co-Chair, National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America; Kathy Masaoka, co-chair of Nikkei for Civil Rights & Redress; Hilary O. Shelton, NAACP Director of Washington Bureau; former NFL player Herschel Walker; and Dr. Shirley N. Weber, California Secretary of State.
The Las Vegas chapter of American Descendants of Slavery (ADOS) posted a screenshot of the witness list to Twitter noting Darity’s absence. Nubai Ventures and Moguldom founder Jamarlin Martin noted that any serious conversation about the topic should include Darity.
“If you want to play games & make sure this starts off w/ BAD STRUCTURE, u keep Dr. Darity OUT. They don’t want his scholarship & intellectual authority dealing w/ the process,” Martin tweeted. “No transparent debate, no discussion. No edits. They “installed” an anti-reparations, Black DNC chair.”
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First introduced by late Congressman John Conyers in 1989, H. R. 40 was reintroduced by Rep. Sheila Jackson lee in 2019. The bill aims to establish “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 first hearing pertaining to passing the bill occurred last year on Juneteenth (June 19, 2020).
Darity and his wife Kirsten Mullen (also a well-respected reparations scholar who works alongside her husband) have been researching and working for over 30 years to get a federally funded reparations program implemented. Recently, they went public in an op-ed in The Boston Globe detailing the problems with the bill’s current wording and structure. They said it needs to be revised.
“Unfortunately, the bill, as last revised in 2017, gives the proposed commission complete discretion over the content of the reparations proposal it reports to Congress. This increases the possibility that it will fail to deliver justice,” the couple wrote. “We have learned a great deal about how best to structure a plan for Black reparations. … If a Congressional commission on reparations is established, it should be directed to produce a plan that meets what we now know are essential requirements.”
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Martin wasn’t the only one to criticize Darity’s exclusion.
“This is where we go to work aggressively highlighting that they do not speak for us or our lived experiences as black Americans who are the descendants of slaves. We nullify their testimonies all over the internet!!” user @issawomanista tweeted.
“These HR40 hearings never include Dr Claud Anderson or Dr Sandy Darity for a reason, they get that class on the right & left to undermine us & purposely don’t include scholars who have skin in the game,” user @donald_smither tweeted.
“You KNOW they ain’t letting THEM testify! That would be devastating to their anti-reparation agenda. All they actually want is political theater, which they are providing. They got Herschel. They’ll put his “son” on next. Lol,” user @BlakRein1 wrote in response.
When one ADOS member asked why Walker was on the list, Darity himself weighed in, tweeting in response Walker was the “Republican Party choice. Hostile toward reparations.” Darity then added, “I anticipate that no one except NCOBRA’s Kamm Howard will say anything about the content of HR40–and, of course, he will say it’s a jewel.”