Professor Michael Eric Dyson thinks that white people should have an "Individual Reparations Account" to make donations to black institutions and individuals.
The proposal is part of his forthcoming book, “Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America.”
Dyson, a professor at Georgetown University, made the argument in an interview with Ana Marie Cox in the January 8 edition of the New York Times Magazine.
At the end of your sermon, you do a “benediction” section, in which you talk about making reparations on the local and individual level: donating to groups like the United Negro College Fund or a scholarship program, but also, to cite your example from the book, paying “the black person who cuts your grass double what you might ordinarily pay.” That gave me pause!
Good! I used to say in church, “If the sermon ain’t making you a little bit uncomfortable, it ain’t effective.” Look, if it doesn’t cost you anything, you’re not really engaging in change; you’re engaging in convenience. You’re engaged in the overflow. I’m asking you to do stuff you wouldn’t ordinarily do. I’m asking you to think more seriously and strategically about why you possess what you possess.
I agree with reparations, but maybe this is my white privilege speaking: I can’t imagine actually doing that.
That is what I meant by an I.R.A.: an individual reparations account. You ain’t got to ask the government, you don’t have to ask your local politician — this is what you, an individual, conscientious, “woke” citizen can do.
But charity can’t be the end of it, right? The Koch brothers gave the United Negro College Fund $25 million, but I doubt you would consider them “woke.”
No. Martin Luther King Jr. believed that charity is a poor substitute for justice. But I ain’t turning $25 million down.