Two Harvard doctors openly calling for racial discrimination in the provisioning of health care:
Building on calls for reparations, we call this a vision for medical restitution. Federally paid reparations—urgent and long overdue—would help to mitigate racial health inequities (including those seen in COVID-19), but they would not, on their own, end institutional and structural racism. We believe we must pursue restitution programs at the institutional level while also advocating for federal reparations.
Our case for medical restitution extends calls for reparations for Black Americans, which have a long history in the United States. (As the historian Robin D. G. Kelley notes in his 2002 book Freedom Dreams, they stretch back well before the Civil War.) Their visibility has grown in recent years, with much momentum building on Ta-Nehisi Coates’s influential 2014 Atlantic essay “The Case for Reparations,” and they are reaching a new pitch in the wake of COVID-19 and renewed protests over police brutality against Black Americans. (A recent House Judiciary Committee hearing on H.R. 40, a bill to create a commission to study reparations, is another positive sign.) Few have done more to develop the case than Duke University economist William Darity, Jr., whose recent book with A. Kirsten Mullen, From Here to Equality: Reparations for Black Americans in the Twenty-First Century, advances a vision of reparations as “a program of acknowledgment, redress, and closure for a grievous injustice.”