Intelligence Squared Debate: Is It Time for the Redress for Slavery?


Between 1525 and 1866, more than 12 million Africans were shipped to the New World as slaves. After about 200 years, slavery was abolished, and another century of Jim Crow, coupled with discriminatory housing and credit policies, added to its legacy.

Dealing with the relics of this flaw in American history is part of the national dilemma. But how exactly does it work is the question; something that Washington lawmakers are now also debating. A senior adviser to President Joe Biden recently said that the White House “will now begin acting on making amends for African Americans.” Some say it is long overdue.

They say that reparations are important in combating the moral harm caused by slavery. Others say direct payments to African Americans will divide the black community, exaggerate racial tensions, and prove impossible to manage.

The speakers are:

  • Cornell William Brooks, Professor at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and past President and CEO of NAACP. He says reparations are the way to go.

  • Randall LeRoy Kennedy, Author and law professor at Harvard University, argues that direct payments are not the most effective means of addressing the legacy of slavery and that they could have unintended consequences.

The US Intelligence Squared debate host is John Donvan.

Use the audio player above to listen to the pgoram.

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