Dian Meakin

Faculty Mentor

Natalie Cisneros, PhD

Faculty Editor

Serena Cosgrove, PhD

Student Editor

Emma Foster


This paper explores the intersection between American politics and the Black American experience. The exploration of this topic was inspired by critical race scholar and philosopher Dr. Cornel West. In his book Race Matters, West states that the essence of Black struggle in the United States is directly related to the generational effects of slavery. This concept has become more compelling given our current societal discourse concerning race relations in the United States. Branching off of this concept, this paper seeks to lay a foundation that connects the generational effects of slavery to the societal resistance toward reparations as a realistic path to equity. I argue that the predominantly white American government has long been working to maintain a systemic order of domination in an effort to thwart the rise of Black American belonging. I construct a concept called “Collective Love,” align it with the power of conceptual belonging, and unpack its relationship to equality. A look at Black American historical progress and the resulting political push-back is examined in relation to Collective Love. I argue that our inability to see remedies for gross civil rights deprivations as an all-encompassing public good keeps us from the greatness we profess as a nation. The constraints to and setbacks suffered by the Black American individual and culture are witnessed daily in America. But what would happen if we remedied the wrongs of our nation in a meaningful and lasting way? What would the possibilities of investing in our common human capital look like? Might we be able to face each other, to recognize our shared human potential? I will address our societal taboo against discussing reparations, and offer a new perspective for healing: free college for all Black Americans.