Money alone can’t right the monumental wrong of slavery. But reparations are justifiable and affordable, and they’d give the economy a needed jolt.
I attended recently a rally in my town that should have left me filled with hope. I heard a policeman telling a neighbor that he estimated the crowd to be more than a thousand people — that’s about 10% of the town’s population.
Even more inspiring was the abundance of young people in the throng. But their signs and placards bore slogans that I’ve seen for years in demonstrations, and the chants and slogans sounded all too familiar: “Black Lives Matter,” “No Justice, No Peace,” “I Can’t Breathe.” And as I thought about this outpouring of grief for the death of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis police, what first came to mind is how little lasting influence demonstrations such as this one have had beyond letting people vent some steam and make others feel virtuous. What remains of them is a lot of debris to clean up but no serious changes in public policy.