A Call for Reparations: How America Might Narrow the Racial Wealth Gap
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones on the racial wealth gap — and why she believes it’s time for reparations. Her new piece published in New York Times magazine.
The killing of George Floyd has ignited protests and inspired conversations — and changes — across the globe. But New York Times Magazine writer Nikole Hannah-Jones says more needs to be done to address America’s racial wealth gap.
“Very few Americans have created all of their wealth on their own; it’s passed down through generations and then built upon,” Hannah-Jones says. “Black Americans never really had a chance to do that.”
Hannah-Jones traces the wealth gap to slavery, and the fact that enslaved people were not allowed to own property. She notes that the legalized segregation and racial terrorism that followed slavery exacerbated the problem and “prevented generation after generation of Black Americans from acquiring the type of wealth or foothold in the economy that allows you to live a life that is much more typical of white Americans.”
Hannah-Jones won a Pulitzer Prize for creating the 1619 project at The New York Times, which tracks the legacy of slavery. Her latest article for the Times Magazine, What is Owed, makes the case for economic reparations for Black Americans.
Very few Americans have created all of their wealth on their own; it’s passed down through generations and then built upon. Black Americans never really had a chance to do that.
There are stories of mass starvation of Black people after they had been freed, having to leave the plantation and find shelter in burned out buildings, trying to forage for food in burned-out fields. It was a devastating period for Black people. This country decided that it was going to do nothing, that it owed these people nothing.