The Scholar: St. Mary's Law Review on Race and Social Justice


Reparations are vital to enfranchise a group historically denied access to the opportunities required to enjoy the civil and political rights every United States citizen possesses. However, before African Americans will receive reparations, underlying issues of race must be resolved. The United States has provided reparations for some domestic groups, as well as support for at least one international group. Unfortunately, neither the Supreme Court, nor Congress seems willing to grant the same relief to African Americans. Because of this, outside of small settings and academic arenas, little debate has occurred. The resulting stalemate reveals underlying problems that stem from three roots: White America, Black America, and other communities of color. For the conversation on African American reparations to be productive, these stalemates must first be solved. Power politics within White America continue to hamper the efforts for reparations due in large part to the fear of the leveling effects of reparations. Growing divisions within the African American community further frustrate the conversation. As more barriers are overcome, the experiences of African Americans can no longer be homogeneously categorized and disunity of perspectives and goals compound the difficulty in creating comprehensive solutions. Further, the unresolved tensions that exist within the larger community of color work to pit those in most need of unity against each other. Unfortunately, without dismantling white supremacy, conflicts between the larger communities of color will continue. Finally, the massive economic gap systemic racism fosters must be closed, and the interpersonal effects created through its maintenance must be dealt with.

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The Scholar: St. Mary's Law Review on Race and Social Justice

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St. Mary's University School of Law