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The Daily Tar Heel

Op-ed Writer Wishes To Clarify Position On Slave Reparations

Since the running of my op-ed in the April 16 edition of The Daily Tar Heel "Redistribute Poker Chips for Cheating Retribution," I've been inundated with e-mail responses.

But I have two clarification points. First, the poker game analogy is not mine. It is the "brainchild" of Prof. Roy L. Brooks, co-author of "Civil Rights Litigation" (2000). I used it because I thought it would provide a practical understanding of the fundamental problem. Secondly, it seems as though I have inadvertently offended some Native Americans by claiming they are awarded reparations. Their claim, as I understand it, is that any money paid to them is not reparations per se, but merely a fulfillment of a contract that their ancestors had with the American government.

Moreover, this money allocation is dependent upon a finding of federal recognition by the government -- this requirement prevents many Native Americans from getting any such relief. I apologize if I in fact offended any Native Americans by referring to their contract with the government as "reparations." However, I still do think the parallel between the Native-American and African-American experience is relevant.

In the post-Civil War era, black families were offered 40 acres and a mule as a means of essentially redistributing the poker chips. The American government, however, later defaulted on this obligation.

Adam Aberra

Second-Year Law Student

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