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What Would Reparations Actually Look Like?

The Atlantic’s newest cover story has everyone talking about reparations, but what would reparations really look like? Are there certain social programs already in place that serve as a form of reparations?

Ta-Nehisi Coates also published an insider’s look into his thought process for what become “The Case for Reparations.”

In the the article, Coates included an email to his editor in which he asked if affirmative action could be a form of reparation.

“Very little of America ever stays anything. Change is the nature of things,” Coates wrote. “I’m thinking about it with the Supreme Court set to dismantle affirmative action… Isn’t the ‘diversity’ argument actually kind of weak? Isn’t the recompensation argument actually much more compelling?”

READ: “The Case for Reparations” by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Fusion’s Alicia Menendez posed the question to Slate writer Jamelle Bouie, who wrote a response piece to Coates’ story that explored a practical policy-based discussion about reparations.

“Even if we were looking at affirmative action–at least in part–as a form of recompense, it remains a fact this would benefit mainly middle-income and higher income African-Americans,” Bouie said. “You would need something much broader to give the African-American community.”

Menendez also asked ThinkProgress Econ Policy Editor Bryce Covert if it’s possible to expand the conversation about reparations to other groups that have been marginalized in American history.

CREDIT: Alicia Menendez, Victoria Moreno, and Johanna Rojas

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