How Do You Say Sorry?

April 2, 2021

Discrimination is when a particular group is unjustly treated because of race, sex, or age. Did discrimination based on race happen in the past? Absolutely. Does it continue to happen? Not like it used to, but there’s still work to do.

via Pixabay

But when you treat someone unfairly, the first step toward fixing it is to say sorry. We know this from basic playground rules, right? But sometimes, it takes more than that. One way is by repatriation (or when you return something that’s been unfairly taken away). So, if people have lost access to homes or resources because of their race, repatriation would mean paying them back, even if it’s decades later! Or, if one country takes gold and other resources from another country, repatriation would mean returning those resources, even after many years.

The city of Evanston, Illinois, is taking repatriation one step further. Evanston is offering money to African-American families who suffered racial injustice in the past, especially if they were denied access to housing and other resources. Households can use the money to buy homes, repair homes, or to pay penalties or fees from late payments. This is one way the city is making up for racism in its past policies, and one that the city has been thinking about for a long time!