Writing in the 2010 New York Times op-ed “Ending the Slavery Blame-Game,” Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. hoped to a provide a corrective to what he regarded as the prevailing view of the transatlantic slave, namely, that Europeans were alone responsible and therefore alone culpable for the capture, sale, and transfer of millions of Africans during the transatlantic slave trade. In an effort to reframe the recent debate regarding slave reparations, Gates hoped to place responsibility for the slave trade where it truly belonged, “to white people and black people, on both sides of the Atlantic, complicit alike in one of the greatest evils in the history of civilization.” In particular, Gates emphasized the role Africans played in the trade, noting that “90 percent of those shipped to the New World were enslaved by Africans and then sold to European traders.” Given this, “the problem with reparations,” Gates concluded,...

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