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Gilens on Building Public Support for Black Reparations

An Associated Press story about efforts to win public support for reparations made to Black Americans cited Martin Gilens, professor of public policy, social welfare and political science. The article focused on a new philanthropic initiative that is providing financial support to smaller nonprofits advocating for reparations to atone for the nation’s legacy of slavery and systemic racism. Opponents of reparations argue that current taxpayers should not be responsible for damages for historical wrongs. “It’s kind of a foreign concept to Americans, this idea of collective reparations for collective harms,” said Gilens, whose books include “Affluence & Influence: Economic Inequality and Political Power in America” and “Why Americans Hate Welfare: Race, Media and the Politics of Antipoverty Policy.” Gilens added, however, that support increases when parameters are set that direct potential benefits to specific groups rather than a broad population. 


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