This week, we presented an Oxford-style debate organized by Boston University's College of Communications on whether the United States should pay reparations for slavery.
Arguing for paying reparations were Alexander Pires, an attorney for the Department of Justice; Christopher Hitchins, a contributing editor for Vanity Fair magazine and columnist for The Nation, and Matt Brown, a sophomore at the Boston University School of Management.
Pires started his argument by stating he intends to file a lawsuit against the government in order to determine the truth surrounding slave reparations. Christopher Hitchens argued that while reparations cannot fix all the social problems caused by slavery, society should still do what can be done. Matt Brown contended that reparations could be given in the form of money, or as apologies, education and prevention.
Arguing against the reparations were Professor Glen Loury, of Boston University; Deroy Murdock, a columnist for the Scripps Howard News Service, and Amy Margolius, a junior majoring in journalism at Boston University.
Professor Loury argued against the ethics and racial politics of reparations. Murdock questioned the plausibility of reparations and the justice of asking descendants of whites who fought against slavery to pay reparations.
This program aired on December 9, 2001.