After being first proposed more than 30 years ago by Rep. John Conyers, D-Michigan, the 116th Congress of the United States voted last week to advance H.R. 40, the Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-American Act. Aided by the Democratic Party’s control of the executive and legislative branches of government, the current sentiment in the country regarding racial justice and equity may provide the bill’s proponents the opening they seek.
To start, it’s worth noting reparations are not without precedent. The United States paid reparations to Japanese-Americans as restitution for their internment during World War II. It also made reparations to American Indians for seizing their land and mismanaging natural resources.
Yet paying reparations to black Americans who are the descendants of slaves is likely to prove more contentious for a multitude of reasons, not the least of which is the vast length of time that has passed since slavery ended, coupled with the fact no