This collection of essays examines the question of how injustices of the past affect entire groups of people today and outlines the current beneficiaries of these injustices. Although discriminatory practices can be based on ethnicity, religion, and gender, this book focuses on one important type--racial discrimination--and deals with the way it affects both blacks and whites. The authors address the question from different perspectives and, although there is real consensus as to what extent unjust enrichments currently exist because of past discrimination, the focus of several essays is on the need to systematically and equitably redistribute wealth. In beginning to explore these questions, the volume addresses the larger issues of how the costs and benefits of past practices can be measured and how historical injustices should affect current public policy matters. The volume is organized in a straightforward manner intended to create an integrated discussion. An introductory essay charts the development of the project and offers a summary and critique of each essay. The first section explores the issue of slavery and current policy and considers the caution required when developing policy based on disputed models and assumptions. The second section examines the ecomic impact of slavery and discrimination on the functioning of the labor market. In the final section, some of the implications of redistribution policies are considered in relation to the various cost and benefit analyses. A final essay and conclusion sum up the study and outline the broad policy setting in which this work can take place. The book will be an important resource for courses in history, sociology, and public policy and an important addition to public and university libraries.
RICHARD F. AMERICA is a policy analyst in Washington, D.C. He is coauthor of Moving Ahead: Black Managers in American Businessand author of Developing the Afro-American Economy.
Richard F. America
Date of Publication
Sociology & Anthropology: Professional
Contributions in Afro-American and African Studies: Contemporary Black Poets