Dr. William’ Sandy’ Darity sparked a debate about how to best advocate for reparations for Black Americans earlier this week on Twitter.
As one of the foremost reparations scholars in the country, Darity said he doesn’t support state, local or personal reparations. According to Darity, providing reparations at those levels harms national efforts to obtain “pure reparations.”
“If people devoted the time and energy to pushing #purereparations at the national level as they do to piecemeal (state, local, personal) ‘reparations,’ they’d be surprised at how much progress could be made. Piecemeal “reparations” is tantamount to surrender on a national plan,” Darity tweeted on Monday, Aug. 1.
Some agreed with Darity that there is no substitute for pure national reparations but questioned why he feels that way about making progress at the state and local levels. Others disagreed with him altogether.
“AGREED HOWEVER, due to this government being a federalist one, do u thtink STATE ACTS OF ATONEMENT can lay precedence for #PureReparations on a NATIONAL LEVEL?” @DieOrRevolt asked. “It will only be a surrender if us FREEDMEN surrender & the #Freedmen will NEVER quit. Respectfully, I kno I wont.”
“Nope. State actions ultimately will be treated as a substitute for federal action, despite the fact that the combined budgets of state and local governments are distant from the amounts needed to eliminate the racial wealth gap,” Darity responded.
“Agreed. Since certain individuals fractured an entire movement, state reparations has been a logical response,” @The1stLadyLove wrote. “The Lineage reparations precedent has been set,” But, there should STILL be a Federal push simultaneously, by the reparationist collective. but we’re still fractured.”
“We need something to get us all on one accord, a rally, a conference of ALL the Reparationist groups would be nice but…that would take willing compromise by leadership with boots on the ground, and humility. IMHO,” @The1stLadyLove wrote in a follow-up tweet.
“I disagree that this isn’t precedent setting,” @RealNyheim replied to Darity. “What California did with its task force, the report, & disaggregation legislation, can absolutely be used as a Blueprint federally. Add to the fact that we don’t need congress to establish a commission, an EO can create one.”
“While most advocates on the ground agree that state level reparations will NEVER be a substitute for reparations on the federal level I am of the mind that leveraging local politics to push the federal level is as good a strategy as any,” @blackdetta tweeted. “If not that, how do we apply pressure?”
“By mounting a coalition across cities, states, private organizations like churches, like-minded individuals to lobby and petition Congress for a #purereparations plan,” Darity replied.
“Yet if we did that without securing the local reparations initiatives that are goin to happen ANYWAY We would have local pan-africanist bills in cali, NY & and other cities that would be used as leverage against that national coalition you’re referencing,” @blackdetta retorted. “I think we do both.”
PHOTO: Chris Lodgson, left, with the Coalition for a Just and Equitable California, speaks about the California Assembly Bill AB 3121, a bill that established a task force to study and develop reparation proposals for African Americans, during a Juneteenth commemoration on Saturday, June 18, 2022, at Leimert Park in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)