This year, the City of Detroit Reparations Task Force begins its work developing potential housing and economic development programs to address historical discrimination against Black residents in the city. Since 2021 when residents overwhelming approved its creation, many are imagining how reparations could be implemented in the city.
There is no direct template for what a federal program directed towards African Americans would look like. Internationally, however, German reparations for Israel following World War II represent a large-scale historical undertaking in efforts to address past discrimination.
But how did it occur and are there any historical analogues that Americans can learn from these efforts?
Ronald Zweig, a professor of Israel Studies at New York University, joined Detroit Today to discuss how reparations should be carefully thought out.
Listen: The history of German reparations and the Jewish world
Ronald Zweig is a professor of Israel Studies at New York University. He is also the author of many books, including “German Reparations and the Jewish World: A History of the Claims Conference.” He says reparations must be a tool for constructive relations.
“Reparations are not a one-time hit,” says Zweig. “They should be a process that is conceived of in a constructive way, played out over years.”