Publisher: African Studies Association

Framing Reparations Claims: Differences Between The African and Jewish Social Movements For Reparations

Rhoda E. Howard-hassmann, Anthony P. Lombardo
KEYWORDS: Framing Reparations Claims: Differences between the African and Jewish Social Movements for Reparations


Africans interested in reparations from the West frequently ask why the Jewish movement for reparations for the Holocaust was successful, whereas Africans have been unable to obtain reparations for the slave trade, colonialism, and post-colonial relations with the West. This article addresses this question using social movement theory and argues that success depends to a large extent on how the claim for reparations is framed. Past treatment of Africans by the West violated key contemporary norms of bodily integrity, equality, and private property. Yet the victims are no longer living, the perpetrators are diffuse, some of the harms were legal when they were committed, and the causal chain of harm is long and complex.

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