Eric J. Miller

Document Type

Symposium Article

First Page



Much of the current debate over African-American reparations is characterized by a posture of confrontation and demand, and is exemplified in the law by seeking redress using the doctrines of tort and unjust enrichment. This confrontational posture presents a variety of legal, political. and ethical problems for reparations advocates, and has alienated potential allies from the reparations movement. This Article examines and exposes the confrontation model's shortcomings, proposing as an alternative a "conversational" model for reparations debate and advocacy. The conversational framework is not only a superior litigation strategy that more closely approximates traditional civil rights litigation, it also embraces the complexity of the current debate on race, permitting the nation to engage in a more inclusive discussion of the future of race in America.