Decrying a refusal by banks implicated in the US slave trade to pay reparations to the descendents of enslaved blacks, a collection of religious, community, student and political groups yesterday called for a boycott of student loans backed by finance companies with historical ties to slavery.
The banks named are JP Morgan Chase, Wachovia and Bank of America, all of whom are accused of having accepted slaves as collateral on loans; JP Morgan apologized and put up $5 million in scholarship $, Wachovia apologized, Bank of America denied it.
Complicated. I was on a panel about slavery reparations this fall at Medgar Evars College. The African-American individuals in attendance expressed the view that reparations are an explosive issue representing their hope for an end to their continuing economic and social disadvantages and a powerful and successful future for their community--perhaps even a revolutionary ideal. This was totally news to me because for the white people I know, the issue of reparations is a nonissue--considered only in the abstract, easily dismissed. A serious disconnect, to say the least.