576 CREATED EQUAL
what is necessary to accomplish anything approaching psychic and economic parity in the next half century will not only require a fundamental attitude shift in American thinking but massive amounts of money as well. Before the country in general can be made to understand, African Americans themselves must come to understand that this demand is not for charity. It is simply for what they are owed on a debt that is old but compellingiy obvious and valid still.
Anderson, S.E. The Black Holocaust for Beginners. New York: Writers and
Readers Publishing, 1995. Bittkcr, Boris. The Case for Black Reparations. New York: Random House,
1973. Franklin, John Hope. From Slavery to Freedom, New York: Knopf, 1947. Taylor, Yuval, ed. / was Bom a Slave (vol. 1). Chicago: Lawrence Hill, 1999. Updike, John. Brazil. New York: Knopf, 1994. Westley. Robert, "Many Billions Gone." Boston College Law Review, June 1999.
Engaging the Text
1. Outline Robinson's economic argument for reparations: What measurable monetary losses have African Americans suffered as a result of slavery and discrimination? Are there losses that cannot be measured in economic terms? If so, how might they be redressed?
2. How does Robinson counter the objection that it's too late to demand restitution for slavery? What evidence does he present to support his contention that African Americans today still feel the effects of slavery? How persuasive do you find his reasoning?
3. Why does Robinson feel that it's important for African Americans to fight for reparations even when there's little chance of success?
4. Robinson cites a number of historical and legal precedents for reparations. In what ways are these cases similar to or different from the case of slavery? To what extent do the precedents strengthen Randall's argument?
5. Debate Robinson's claim that unless the United States addresses the issue of reparations, "there is no chance that America can solve...