Sunday September 03, 2017

Saying sorry with stuff: One website tries to make reparations to people of colour

A screenshot of a request posted on reparations.me

A screenshot of a request posted on reparations.me (reparations.me)

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Seattle artist Natasha Marin created Reparations because she thought everyone could do something to help ease racial tensions, especially white people.

"The idea is: instead of thinking about how well-meaning you are, moving into the process of being a well-doing person. Somebody who backs their words up with actions," she says, "Like, yeah, you think black lives matter but are you willing to take a black person to the airport?" 

Kristy and Jasmine

Kristy Duff and Jasmine Reed became friends after they participated in an exchange on the website Reparations. (Kristy Duff)

Some of the offers posted on the website include mental health services, a warm coat, and a massage. There are requests for food, Christmas gifts for young children, and odd jobs.

Kristy Duff and Jasmine Reed participated in an exchange.

Jasmine is a black woman who asked for art supplies. Kristy is a white woman who sent her art supplies.

Kristy says it wasn't about easing white guilt or saying sorry for historical wrongs, but a a gesture to acknowledge racism today.

"It's a tense time right now in our country. It was a way for me to say I'm sorry that this is happening to you and I hope that you can find some relief from painting."

Jasmine, who describes the area she lives as less diverse than she's used to, says Kristy's gesture helped restore her faith in humanity.

"Her being that generous and nice to me and wanting to help me, it really touched me. It softened my heart and made me feel not everybody is the same."

This story originally aired on January 15, 2017