The Successes and Failures of the United States to Grant Reparations to Greenwood, Oklahoma following the 1921 Destruction of Black Wall Street
Why is it so difficult to get reparations for Greenwood? The United States has struggled with giving reparations for certain groups although they are an international standard for human rights outlined by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. However, the United Nations does not address the issue of white supremacy, which I believe to be the critical factor in addressing this question. My thesis addresses the issue of white supremacy and specifically how it blocks groups that have experienced a violation of human rights such as a massacre, from seeking justice in the form of reparations. Specifically, I will be looking at how white supremacy influences the government and political structure of the United States, in order to show why the Black victims of the Greenwood massacre have been denied justice for almost 100 years. I will discuss the failed attempts made by Black victims of the massacre to get reparations against the successful attempts made by Japanese-Americans to receive reparations after World War II. I will do this in order to reveal the previously misunderstood connections between the United States and its inability to provide reparations through the appropriate legal, state, and federal procedures. I argue that it is not the case that the United States cannot grant reparations, but that the United States will not grant reparations for Black victims. In conclusion, this thesis, by closely examining the connection between reparations and human rights, will shed new light on the neglected issue of how whether or not reparations are provided in a given instance depends on white supremacy and its impact on that instance.