Achieving democratic equality: Forgiveness, reconciliation, and reparations

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13 Scopus citations


This paper provides an account of reparations in general and then presents briefly one explanation of why many present day African Americans believe they are entitled to reparations from the U.S. Government. This explanation should not be seen as a final justification, but only as an indication why the demand for reparations for African Americans might be seen a plausible. Next, if it is reasonable to assume that reparations to African Americans are plausible, I then go on to explain why reparations might be necessary to fill the breech that is perceived to exist between many African Americans and their government. This explanation will involve an examination of the relationship between three concepts: forgiveness, reconciliation, and reparations. Then I explore why an apology or reparations for slavery and Jim Crow might be necessary for reconciliation between many African Americans and their government. Finally, I examine the contention that the legislative process can be used to obtain an apology or reparations from the government.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)93-113
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Ethics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Philosophy


  • African Americans
  • Apology
  • Compensation
  • Democracy
  • Equality
  • Forgiveness
  • Reconciliation
  • Rectification
  • Reparations

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