jamaica, get your reparations beloved

November 26, 2018

Imagine living in a world where a white institution takes responsibility for benefitting from the slave trade by making moves to reimburse the descendants of slaves in the spirit of retributive justice. It appears we do live in that world as Demerara Waves just reported that the University of Glasgow would be paying back £200 million in reparations to Jamaica in the form of money and partnerships that will aid the Jamaican public. No, this is not a joke. Yes, reparations are possible if you’re dealing with “people who happen to be white,” as coined by Amanda Seales.

According to the Chancellor of the University of West Indies Sir Hilary Beckles, “The University of Glasgow has recognized that Jamaican slave owners had adopted the University of Glasgow as their university of choice and that £200 million of value was extracted from Jamaica and the Caribbean.” The announcement was made on the Jamaican News Network (JNN) where Beckles revealed that Glasgow University Vice-Chancellor Sir Anton Muscatelli had gone into the universities records and discovered that Jamaican slave-owners had endowed the university with what is equivalent to £200 million when adjusted for inflation.

The revelation comes from a two-year-long report by the university titled “Slavery, Abolition and the University of Glasgow” that serves as the foundational document for a broader “reparative justice programme” that the university will be undertaking, involving other initiatives such as scholarships and exchange programmes for Jamaican and Caribbean students. Reparations aren’t merely a hand-out and Beckles makes this clear  when he mentions the partnerships on initiatives that affect Jamaican people. “They are looking at the possibility of partnering with us and having a massive institute for chronic disease research that is going to prevent the proliferation of these diseases in the future.”

That is what retributive justice looks like. This was ONE university in the UK. Just imagine the number that represents the amount of reparations owed to Africans on the continent and those throughout the diaspora. Look at it this way: if America gifted Apple (a trillion dollar company) to Black Americans, it still wouldn’t be enough.