This essay draws on Jovan Scott Lewis’s Scammer’s Yard: The Crime of Black Repair in Jamaica (2020), a rich ethnographic study of lottery scammers in Jamaica and the ethical logic they use to justify scamming as a form of reparations, to think about the limits of Black reparative claims. Specifically, it draws on various theorizings of Black insurgent life to explore the inherent challenges in engendering a radical politics of change premised around principles of repair, alterity, and fugitivity. The author argues that theorizing Blackness and, by extension, Black repair necessitates exploring questions of the unimaginable, the liminal, and the otherwise.

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