Tooting Market

Podcast: Adolph Reed on why reparations are a waste of time

Reed, who has long pushed back against what he calls race reductionism — the tendency to use only race to explain Black people’s life outcomes — told me that reparations wouldn’t address the societal inequalities it seeks to tackle. 

Reed, a political scientist and professor emeritus at the University of Pennsylvania, comes to this conversation as a member of the last age cohort for which Jim Crow was a lived experience. He recounts his upbringing in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and New Orleans in his new book The South: Jim Crow and Its Afterlives. In the episode, Reed explains how the regime enforced racism and upheld white supremacy, defining the boundaries of his daily life, from what stores he could shop in to what rides he could get on at the amusement park.


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