Abstract

Africans interested in reparations from the West frequently ask why the Jewish movement for reparations for the Holocaust was successful, whereas Africans have been unable to obtain reparations for the slave trade, colonialism, and postcolonial relations with the West. This article addresses this question using social movement theory and argues that success depends to a large extent on how the claim for reparations is framed. Past treatment of Africans by the West violated key contemporary norms of bodily integrity, equality, and private property. Yet the victims are no longer living, the perpetrators are diffuse, some of the harms were legal when they were committed, and the causal chain of harm is long and complex.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1555-2462
Print ISSN
0002-0206
Pages
pp. 27-48
Launched on MUSE
2007-04-25
Open Access
No
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