Leading reparations scholar weighs in on Georgetown's big vote

Students at Georgetown University vote on adding a tuition fee that would create a fund for the descendants of the slaves that were sold by the University.
3:58 | 04/11/19

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Transcript for Leading reparations scholar weighs in on Georgetown's big vote
We're never gonna this conversation now professor William Garrity junior he's a duke. University. Professor also a leading scholar on the economics. Of reparations professor thank you so much. For joining us today what want to get your take on on this student effort at Georgetown kind of the first of its kind what do you make of it will make a difference. Our I am extremely admiring. Of the students' moral concern over this issue and their efforts to try to craft a scheme of restitution. I do have a reservation. Which is the following. I think that. The context. For slavery and subsequently for Jim grew and for ongoing. Ongoing racism in the United States is long that's that's that's built by the legal. Authorities. In the United States of America. And in given that. Any universities. Or colleges that have a history of complicity would slavery. In the United States. Are our institutions that were a product. Of that context. And so I think that there's a wider responsibility. Then one that's associated with individual students. Or individual institutions. I think that what the colleges and universities. RRR. Could have a history of complicity with slavery and slave trade should actually do. Is form a consortium. To lobby for reparations for all. Black Americans at the congressional level. Because I think this is not a matter of the individual guilt I think this is a matter of national responsibility. And ice I would love to see the students make and makes them go beyond this. Towards pushing their university. To become part of a lobbying consortium. For the objective of achieving reparations at the national. And it does seem professor to your point that this will be a top topic during the democratic presidential primary already so many of the candidates talking about that very thing. On the national level some legislation we now has been drafted introduced up on Capitol Hill and this part of this movement. Bomb I guess is we talk about reparations sort of to your point we're talking about a sum of money and I've I wondered especially in light in my conversations today. How do you put a dollar figure on the wrong or slavery and it in how do you come to that conclusion where do you draw that line. So there are multiple ways in which we'd hood dollar figures on a variety of harms or damages that occur. In our society. We've put a dollar figure on the lives of individuals. Who were lost in the 911 tragedy. So we we have procedures for doing that. To try to do that in the context of the cost in damages associated with slavery was legal segregation in the United States and on going racism. Martin Ricard require some kind of of differential accounting for each of those phases. But let me recommend one strategy as a baseline. Which is to calculate the present value of the forty acres that word never given. To the formerly enslaved even though they were promised that amount as they stake in American society. When they were supposed to enter into citizenship after the civil war. So we could we could calculate the present value of that and we could use that as a baseline figure for the total reparations bill. And that certainly is one of the ideas on the table we know that this debate will continue. Robustly in two into the end of the year and through the campaign professor William Garrity junior from Duke University thank you so much sir for coming in appreciate your time today.

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