2020 presidential candidate Marianne Williamson has a clear, detailed case for reparations.
“You know Catholics go to confession, and Jews on the day of Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year, is the day of atonement,” she said. “That is a spiritual principle. Until you clean something up, it will continue to cause effects. So you have to deal with things on the level of cause.”
Williamson says that the United States’ original character defect is racism and that Americans today are rarely properly educated about the real history of race in the country. After over two decades of suffering through slavery, slaves were promised 40 acres and a mule as reparations for the pain and suffering. Not only were many reparations never paid, but Black Code Laws, Jim Crow Laws and other racist justice systems followed, along with the Ku Klux Klan, lynchings institutionalized racism and white supremacy.
In 1988, Ronald Reagan’s Civil Liberties Act promised between $20,000 and $22,000 to every surviving prisoner of Japanese internment camps. And since the end of World War II, Germany has paid billions in reparations to Jewish organizations. Williamson believes Americans should implement similar reparations for slavery.
“There is an inherent acknowledgment of harm that was done, and debt that was owed, and willingness to pay it,” she explained. “I’m not saying reparations is going to fix everything, because we also know how much inner work has to be done—issues of privilege, etc. But it will go a far way.”