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Reparations Conference at TJSL

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11 Responses

  1. wow….sounds like a great conference. Attendees will be hearing from a diverse group of scholars and a wide range of opinions….from those who think reparations are a good idea all the way across the spectrum to those who think they’re a great idea. I just hope tempers don’t flare up too much among the panelists.

  2. wow….sounds like a great conference. Attendees will be hearing from a diverse group of scholars and a wide range of opinions….from those who think reparations are a good idea all the way across the spectrum to those who think they’re a great idea. I just hope tempers don’t flare up too much among the panelists.

  3. jd politely declines says:

    Dearest “Conservatarian” – *play*nice*

  4. Kaimi says:

    Um, Conservatarian,

    As an organizer of the conference, and someone with knowledge of the panelists’ papers and their opinions on the subject, I can absolutely say that your statement does not reflect reality.

    Next time you opine about a conference, you may want to begin with a small amount of research into the speakers’ writings, or perhaps some level of actual knowledge about panelists’ existing statements and writings on the topic. It might save you from further embarrassment.

  5. Ok – I’m ready to be embarrassed – so which of these panelists is likely to sit on the panel and be the David Horowitz of the conference? Although my knowledge of the speakers no doubt pales in comparison to Mr. Wenger, I didn’t write my comments on the fly – I was certainly familiar with some of them (Mr. Greenberg, Congressman Conyers, Mr. Brophy)and I did at least a cursory review of the others’ outstanding scholarship.

    I can appreciate that some panelists may discuss the difficulties involved in reparations, others may discuss the scope of reparations (i.e. who gets them & how much)- I can even imagine a panelist stating that reparations may not be a practical priority. But I have a hard time believing any of those listed panelists is going to sit on the dais and state flatly: “Reparations are a bad idea and here’s why”

    If I’m wrong, enlighten me – point me to some writings by one of these panelists that makes that case. If so, I’ll return to this site and deliver a mea maxima culpa. Otherwise, I stand by my original implication that this conference begins with an accepted premise that reparations are a good idea and now we’re just discussing how to get there.

  6. Kaimi says:

    Conservatarian:

    I didn’t say that any of the panelists would be a David Horowitz. You’ve softened your argument from its original phrasing — that panelists range from those who think it’s a good idea to those who think it’s a great idea. You’re still off-base, however.

    Jack Greenberg, who you cite as a proponent of reparations, has written:

    “Cash payments to descendants of slaves as reparations, however, would not be a practical way to proceed without difficulty, unfairness, and resentment. Most blacks and most descendants would not be able to establish entitlement.”

    Not exactly reparations-is-a-good-idea. In addition to Greenberg, Finkelman falls outside any “good idea” camp — he has spoken previously on the topic, arguing that the pro-slavery nature of the constitution severely impacts claims for reparations. Those are two examples of panelists who cannot be categorized as ranging from “those who think it’s a good idea to those who think it’s a great idea.” I hasten to add that neither of those speakers is by any means a demagogue like Horowitz – but they are examples of discussants who are not reparations proponents, in the most simple, “is it a good idea?” sense.

    There are multiple other speakers at the conference of whom I must say, I really don’t know where they fall on the ultimate question of whether reparations for slavery is a good or a bad idea. And there were other speakers invited who could not make it for whatever reason, who definitely cannot be characterized as in favor of reparations.

    Ultimately, however, the “good idea / bad idea” dichotomy is not particularly enlightening. I didn’t use any results-based litmus test in assembling conference speakers. I invited a number of people who I thought could contribute to a discussion, without testing them as to whether they were “pro” or “con” on any level. I hope that the speakers can focus on particular legal questions and elements of the matter, not coffee-shop-level “is it a good idea?” vagaries. Frankly, if any of our speakers says “reparations is a good idea” — or for that matter “reparations is a bad idea” — and stop there, I will be deeply disappointed. Ideally, the speakers will move beyond simple sound bites and discuss particular points of the issue — causation, unjust enrichment, distribution, and so on — in a way that advances the discussion.

    (In this sense, this conference is not unlike other reparations conferences. For example, the recent B.U. conference included articles by scholars like Epstein, Sebok, and Sherwin, none of which could be characterized as “pro” in outcome. But the articles they presented were important and interesting not because they fell on some particular side of some pro/con ledger, but because they discussed particular issues — unjust enrichment claims, statutes of limitation, standing — in ways that added to the discussion).

  7. Kaimi says:

    By the way, I should be clear, I can’t speak for other panelists. I haven’t asked them this time around how the fall on any particular divide, and I don’t know that anyone will be speaking against reparations at this particular conference. Their remarks are for them (not me) to decide.

    My prior comment is meant only to indicate the wrongness of the suggestion that based on past history, all of the attendees are reparations cheerleaders. As I note, there is past history to suggest otherwise.

  8. ideally, the speakers will move beyond simple sound bites and discuss particular points of the issue — causation, unjust enrichment, distribution, and so on — in a way that advances the discussion

    Gee, you would think this is an academic conference ;)

  9. BTW, many of the arguments against reparations look like straw men, many do not. For the run of the mill arguments that current theory has pretty much dealt with, you can see a summary at:

    http://www.timesandseasons.org/?p=2967#comment-123137

  10. Olaniyan Adefumi says:

    When will we be strong with our name Alkebu-lan not Africa, the name of a European son who was probably from Greece?

  11. Olaniyan Adefumi says:

    When will we be strong with our name Alkebu-lan not Africa, the name of a European son who was probably from Greece?