[eDebate] Reparations Topic

Andy Ellis andy.edebate
Sat Apr 5 20:45:17 CDT 2008

I am thinking about   a paper that focuses around the controversy of
reparations.It could be as narrow as to be tied to a specific aggrieved
community or it could be expanded to include more. Inclusion and exclusion
make for core ground in a wide variety of  disciplines.

There are a few reasons this is good

1) Mainstream Policy Literature- Plainly there is a ton, reparations for
various American injustices have been a wildly popular discussion in law
reviews and policy literature for at least the last 50 years, there is so
much internal disagreement amongst various scholars that there is a nuance
to the debate that can sustain year round debates. The fact that we as a
community may find that claim dubious until we do some research or see the
topic paper is perhaps even more reason to debate this topic.

2) Literature based impact comparisons that get to the heart of the
discussion. The full big stick reparations for slavery case links hard to
politics, hege, econ disads, and extinction level link chains...Give back
the land does too. No contrived links, but instead a head on literature
based debate between risk calculus based authors and justice calculus based
authors. This is the best in depth risk calculus debate we will ever have.

3)This community often builds mechanisms of skirting or relegating the
debate about race to the teams that want to engage it, as some of you found
out in the last few weeks this literature base is deep and responsive, yet
many of us dont have to touch into the depth of scholarship ever if we dont
want to. This topic provides a good entry point into the core of the
literature with a specific policy focus.

4)Uniquely timely--There has not been a time in the last 200 years when
reparations for injustices would not be a timely topic, but perhaps here and
now in a community that may be well poised to talk about the racialized
nature of its practices, we have a unique opportunity. Perhaps though we
will push the uncomfortable topic to the side...again.

5) Stupid Stem and branch topics and an over determined focus on terms of
art do not rob as much from this topic as others. For example at its worst:

r: the usfg should provide one or more of the following aggrieved
communities: people of African descent: Asian American immigrants:
indigenous Americans; middle eastern Americans, or Latino/as reparations
consisting of:land, sovereignty, wealth transfers, social institutions.

Because of where it starts it survives that process better.

much better wordings than that can be crafted.

6) Recruiting. Tell people the topic is reparations. i guarantee they will
have a stance on it. Honestly i cannot think of a better topic for on campus
recruiting. I know some of you will say but not on my campus...i think urban
reform or intellegence reform are less likely to excite interest than

7) More to come as the paper gets written
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