Boston University School of Law

The End of Reparations? - Reparations in an Obama World
Kevin Outterson

57 Kansas L. Rev. 101 (2009)
Boston University School of Law Working Paper 09-16


Disparities in Black health began in slavery, were reinforced in segregation and racism, and persist today despite significant remedial efforts. In the last decade, the statistics about Black health disparities show no improvement. The caustic history of slavery, racism and segregation hasn't been completely undone. Fundamental changes are still necessary to repair deficits in Black health.

But the election of Barack Obama has changed the relevance of reparations as a political tool for making these changes. We elected a Black man as President, and he refused to apply reparations talk to social programs of uplift for disadvantaged communities. Obama struck broader themes, bypassing reparations for slavery. At this point, we should let reparations rest as a political agenda, although it retains some relevance as a heuristic tool.

Keywords: reparations, Obama, health disparities, disparities, racial disparities, slavery, segregation

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Suggested Citation:

Kevin Outterson, ""The End of Reparations?," Kansas Law Review, Vol. 57, No. 4, 2009.

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