There’s doing good. And then there’s making good.
The first can be about altruism, or about reputation management. The second can be a heavier lift. It requires acknowledgment of an old injustice and a will to redress it.
That fights a human tendency to want to leave the past behind, and it tends to carry some cost even for those who weren’t a party to the problem.
Democrats eyeing 2020 presidential runs are now testing new approaches, including subsidies and other tax credits, to the idea of monetarily compensating African-Americans for slavery’s brutal legacy.
Other bids to shift thought come with the power and agility of celebrity. Jon Stewart, for example, has taken up a fight to get 9/11 first responders compensated for health problems attributed to their heroic work. “The fact that we continue to need to do this,” he wrote, “is beyond my comprehension.”
And still others are acting from a sense of knowing that reparation can come with a focus on what can be gained rather on what must be given up.
Septuagenarian Florence Schlonger represents the fifth generation of her family to occupy a 320-acre Kansas farm. When it came time to leave, the Wichita Eagle reports, she reflected on this: The original prairie homestead stood on the hunting grounds of the Kaw Nation.
So when the property sold, she cut a $10,000 check – gratefully received – to an organization dedicated to preserving Kaw heritage. She called it “a small acknowledgement … that the pride in our farm passed down through our family came at a great cost to your people.”
That act, Ms. Schlonger says, was “a privilege.”
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