Congresswoman Cori Bush Introduces New Reparations Bill, Top Scholar Dr. Darity Weighs In

Congresswoman Cori Bush Introduces New Reparations Bill, Top Scholar Dr. Darity Weighs In


Rep. Cori Bush, D-Mo., Dec. 8, 2022, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib)/Prof. William Darity

The push for reparations got a new voice. Rep. Cori Bush has introduced legislation to revive federal reparations for Black Americans. The Missouri Democrat introduced a resolution on May 17 calling for $14 trillion in reparations to compensate Black Americans for the chattel slavery of their ancestors and for the many decades of government-approved racist policies that followed.

But reparations advocate William Darity, the Samuel DuBois Cook Professor of Public Policy, African and African American Studies, and Economics at Duke University, said there are concerns about the resolution. Darity said the eligibility criteria need to be more specific.

“There are problems with the resolution also, esp. the convoluted eligibility criteria which makes it possible for persons living as white who have African ancestry to receive reparations and the endorsement of egregious HR40. Please contact Rep. Bush’s office for the bill,” he pointed out in a tweet.

“The United States has a moral and legal obligation to provide reparations for the enslavement of Africans and its lasting harm on the lives of millions of Black people in the United States,” a draft of the resolution reads, according to The Washington Post.

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“The only way we get closer to [reparations] is if we start putting forward those bills that speak to it and are very clear about what reparations could look like,” Bush told The Post.

Darity and many other reparations activists want reparations to be given out on a lineage basis, meaning that only Black Americans who can prove slave ancestry would be eligible.

In his book, “From Here To Equality: Reparations For Black Americans In The Twenty-First Century,” which he co-wrote with A. Kirsten Mullen, Darity lays out who should receive reparations.

“We propose that there are two criteria for eligibility. The first is what we refer to as a lineage standard. An individual would have to demonstrate that they have at least one ancestor who was enslaved in the United States. And then the second is an identity standard,” he explained in an interview with NPR.

He continued, “An individual would have to demonstrate that for at least 12 years before the enactment of a reparations program, the individual would’ve had to have self-identified as black, Negro or African American.”

Bush maintains the time is now for reparations.

“America must provide reparations if we desire a prosperous future for all,” Bush said.
“We know that we continue to live under slavery’s vestiges. We know how slavery has perpetuated Jim Crow. We know how slavery’s impacts live on today,” Bush said, as reported by NPR.

Rep. Cori Bush, D-Mo., speaks during a news conference as advocates call on the Senate to affirm the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) as the 28th Amendment to the Constitution, Dec. 8, 2022, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib)/Prof. William Darity, https://sanford.duke.edu/profile/william-darity/