Prof wants whites to open up slavery 'reparation accounts'
- Georgetown University professor Michael Eric Dyson recently suggested that white people should open up “individual reparations accounts” to literally pay back African Americans for slavery.
- Although he "ain't turning $25 million down," Dyson explained that the larger purpose of the idea is to force white people to confront their own privilege and consider "why you possess what you possess."
Georgetown University professor Michael Eric Dyson recently suggested that white people should open up “individual reparations accounts” to literally pay back African Americans for slavery.
In an interview with New York Times Magazine, Dyson asserted that such an account, which he dubs an “I.R.A.” for short, would be a concrete means to compensate for the damages of slavery, though later in the interview he suggests that the main purpose behind the idea is to force white people to confront their privilege.
“Look, if it doesn’t cost you anything, you’re not really engaging in change; you’re engaging in convenience,” he explained. “I’m asking you to do stuff you wouldn’t ordinarily do. I’m asking you to think more seriously and strategically about why you possess what you possess.”
When asked to elaborate on how such an ideal would actually be carried out, he pointed to an idea he proposes in his latest book, Tears We Cannot Stop, noting that “that is what [he] meant by an I.R.A.: an individual reparations account. You ain’t got to ask the government, you don’t have to ask your local politician—this is what you, an individual, conscientious, ‘woke’ citizen can do.”
At the conclusion of the interview, though, reporter Ana Marie Cox pressed Dyson on his idea, pointing out that the Koch Brothers donated $25 million to the United Negro College Fund.
“But charity can’t be the end of it, right?” she asked. “The Koch Brother gave the United Negro College Fund $25 million, but I doubt you would consider them ‘woke.’”
“No. Martin Luther King Jr. believed that charity is a poor substitute for justice,” Dyson replied. “But I ain’t turning $25 million down.”
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @AGockowski