Object 1: ‘The case for reparations’ – an article from The Atlantic

May 28, 2021


The case for Reparations, by Ta-Nehisi Coates, was published in June 2014; discussing the fight for reparations and racism experienced in America. This article gives an insight into the widespread issue of the intergenerational trauma of knowledge of black people, and how it’s portrayed to different communities of knowers. One of which is a community who believe that it is necessary to be educated on this matter and another, who agree that the knowledge originating from their ancestral trees should only belong to them.

From the perspective of theory of knowledge, the insight into these uprising issues allows for people not of or relating to African Americans to be informed about the ‘two hundred and fifty years of slavery’ and ‘thirty five years of racist housing policy’. This knowledge, especially regarding the slave trade, does not only belong to a particular community of knowers, as it’s a catastrophic issue which was initiated by the white, powerful, privileged society. While particular communities of knowers do not face racist micro-aggressions on a daily basis, they should be mindful of those that do. It is crucial that this knowledge is shared with people of all races, or there will never be hope for change. This article encourages readers to think about what they’re doing (physically and verbally), and to distinguish between things which may be interpreted as racist, disrespectful and prejudice.

This object further enriches this exhibition because despite systematic racism still being a prominent problem, this article is significant and will remain so until reparations are repaid. Certain individuals, especially those in positions of authority, will misuse the knowledge depicted in this article in order to have people view themselves as inclusive and considerate. Ignorance is presented by people whose ancestors did not have to live in such inhumane circumstances. This is because they believe that the suffering they have endured is exclusive to a certain community of knowers.

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