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The dead-end Case for Reparations: Ta-Nehisi Coates’ backwards looking road to nowhere
Legal Insurrection ^ | May 22, 2014 | Professor William A. Jacobson

Posted on 05/23/2014 12:53:38 AM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet

The 15,000+ word essay by Ta-Nehisi Coates in The Atlantic, The Case for Reparations, is getting completely predictable reactions.

It’s looooong, which gives it a perceived weight which just is not there.

In fact, there’s not much new there, except for historical anecdotes shedding detail but not light on what we already knew to be the history of slavery, segregation and discrimination:

"… the crime with which reparations activists charge the country implicates more than just a few towns or corporations. The crime indicts the American people themselves, at every level, and in nearly every configuration. A crime that implicates the entire American people deserves its hearing in the legislative body that represents them."

"…. No one can know what would come out of such a debate. Perhaps no number can fully capture the multi-century plunder of black people in America. Perhaps the number is so large that it can’t be imagined, let alone calculated and dispensed. But I believe that wrestling publicly with these questions matters as much as—if not more than—the specific answers that might be produced. An America that asks what it owes its most vulnerable citizens is improved and humane. An America that looks away is ignoring not just the sins of the past but the sins of the present and the certain sins of the future. More important than any single check cut to any African American, the payment of reparations would represent America’s maturation out of the childhood myth of its innocence into a wisdom worthy of its founders."

Coates never gives the answer as to who gets what and how.

And that’s ultimately the problem with reparations arguments that are not based upon the people causing the harm paying the people directly harmed by specific conduct soon after the conduct is remedied.

If you can’t answer the question of why a Vietnamese boat person has to pay reparations for the conduct of white plantation owners more than a century earlier, then you can’t make the argument.

If you can’t answer the question of why two successful black doctors living in a fashionable suburb should get reparations paid for by the white children of Appalachia, then you can’t make the argument.

If you can’t answer the question of why the adult black recent immigrant from Paris should be pay or be paid reparations based on the color of his skin for crimes committed in a land he did not grow up in, then you can’t make the argument.

And what about the increasing number of children of mixed race?

And I could go on and on.

Ultimately, Coates’ argument is a dead end.

And he seems to recognize that. He wants a permanent inquisition, a guilt commission:

"The popular mocking of reparations as a harebrained scheme authored by wild-eyed lefties and intellectually unserious black nationalists is fear masquerading as laughter. Black nationalists have always perceived something unmentionable about America that integrationists dare not acknowledge—that white supremacy is not merely the work of hotheaded demagogues, or a matter of false consciousness, but a force so fundamental to America that it is difficult to imagine the country without it…."

"What is needed is an airing of family secrets, a settling with old ghosts. What is needed is a healing of the American psyche and the banishment of white guilt."

"What I’m talking about is more than recompense for past injustices—more than a handout, a payoff, hush money, or a reluctant bribe. What I’m talking about is a national reckoning that would lead to spiritual renewal. Reparations would mean the end of scarfing hot dogs on the Fourth of July while denying the facts of our heritage. Reparations would mean the end of yelling “patriotism” while waving a Confederate flag. Reparations would mean a revolution of the American consciousness, a reconciling of our self-image as the great democratizer with the facts of our history."

…. as if we have not been having that conversation and playing on that collective guilt for three generations.

And as if we have not thrown trillions at the problem, and sullied ourselves with engaging in more racism to remedy past racism.

And as if we live in a static world were it’s always 1863, or at best 1963, and people are captive victims to history, including history in which they did not participate.

While Coates article will be celebrated because it so much fits the mainstream liberal narrative, it’s ultimately a backwards looking road to nowhere.

(VIDEO-AT-LINK)


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Government; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: blacks; economy; reparations
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1 posted on 05/23/2014 12:53:38 AM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

I have bad news for Coates. I just checked by white-guilt bank account. It is empty. Zero balance. Sorry.


2 posted on 05/23/2014 1:25:21 AM PDT by Jacquerie (To restore the 10th Amendment, repeal the 17th. Article V.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Reparations would amount to nothing less than economic slavery. Do two wrongs make a right? Or is it only wrong for someone of one skin color to do, but not another?


3 posted on 05/23/2014 1:39:01 AM PDT by Telepathic Intruder (The only thing the Left has learned from the failures of socialism is not to call it that)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Give em 40 acres and a mule.
40 acres in the everglades. . . . The 40 acres might not be together. Acre here acre there. . .
4 posted on 05/23/2014 1:40:15 AM PDT by DeaconRed (# GIVE US OUR COUNTRY BACK- NOW! ! ! ! ! ! ! !)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

You want reparations? It comes with repatriation!


5 posted on 05/23/2014 2:02:45 AM PDT by rawcatslyentist (Jeremiah 50:32 "The arrogant one will stumble and fall ; / ?)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
From the Washington Post:

Culture change and Ta-Nehisi Coates’s ‘The Case For Reparations’ "In “The Case for Reparations,” the long-brewing cover story of the June issue of the Atlantic, Ta-Nehisi Coates makes a painstaking argument that the gap in wealth, achievement, and a wide range of health and wellbeing outcomes between black and white Americans is the result of deliberate policy decisions. Those decisions, he says, lead to an inevitable conclusion: “An America that asks what it owes its most vulnerable citizens is improved and humane. An America that looks away is ignoring not just the sins of the past but the sins of the present and the certain sins of the future,” Coates writes. “More important than any single check cut to any African American, the payment of reparations would represent America’s maturation out of the childhood myth of its innocence into a wisdom worthy of its founders.”........

....But reading “The Case for Reparations,” I found myself thinking about another question that haunts Coates’s history. How might culture have to change in order to make the sort of reckoning he calls for possible? And what sorts of cultural forces might it take to make these enormous shifts?

“The Case for Reparations” is deeply focused on economic injuries and recompenses. But in imagining solutions, the piece repeatedly returns to the importance of images and cultural narratives. “A nation outlives its generations. We were not there when Washington crossed the Delaware, but Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze’s rendering has meaning to us,” Coates writes. He imagines changes to traditions both wide-spread and particular: “Reparations would mean the end of scarfing hot dogs on the Fourth of July while denying the facts of our heritage. Reparations would mean the end of yelling ‘patriotism’ while waving a Confederate flag.” ........

6 posted on 05/23/2014 2:06:04 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Hand Coates the bill for the treasury cost of the Civil War, including Reformation, adjusted for inflation, while asking how much additional value is to be put on each life lost, on both sides, to erradicate slavery from one of the few places on earth it actually remains eradicated. Debt paid in full.


7 posted on 05/23/2014 2:06:28 AM PDT by blueplum
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
"The popular mocking of reparations as a harebrained scheme authored by wild-eyed lefties and intellectually unserious black nationalists is fear masquerading as laughter. Black nationalists have always perceived something unmentionable about America that integrationists dare not acknowledge—that white supremacy is not merely the work of hotheaded demagogues, or a matter of false consciousness, but a force so fundamental to America that it is difficult to imagine the country without it…."

"What is needed is an airing of family secrets, a settling with old ghosts. What is needed is a healing of the American psyche and the banishment of white guilt."

Really, Mr. Coates. If you feel so strongly about the matter, I will personally pay for you and your family to be re-settled in the African nation of your choice. I will do this not to banish any sense of "white guilt", but simply to rid the nation of a bad apple.

8 posted on 05/23/2014 2:37:09 AM PDT by okie01 (The Mainstream Media: Ignorance on parade.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

I say give em one state.
Wall it off and be done.


9 posted on 05/23/2014 3:04:04 AM PDT by Post5203 (For the first time in my life, I despise this country.)
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To: Jacquerie
It's time to end affirmative action...
10 posted on 05/23/2014 3:05:51 AM PDT by GOPJ (If dems will "death panel" our vets they'll damn sure death panel the rest of us...)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

My Polish grandparents came to America after WWI.

How much do I owe?


11 posted on 05/23/2014 3:06:06 AM PDT by samtheman
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To: blueplum
Hand Coates the bill for the treasury cost of the Civil War, including Reformation, adjusted for inflation, while asking how much additional value is to be put on each life lost, on both sides, to erradicate slavery from one of the few places on earth it actually remains eradicated. Debt paid in full.
Not to mention the fact that if I was an African American I would thank my lucky stars for whatever set of circumstances put my ancestors on the boat and kept me from growing up anywhere on the sh*t-hole continent of Africa.
12 posted on 05/23/2014 3:11:06 AM PDT by samtheman
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To: okie01

He and his family ain’t goin’ nowhere. They know when they’ve got a good thing goin’. Blacks in this country (even the poorest) are far better off than almost all blacks in any other place. Who in the world would pay him mid-six-figures to scribble his nonsense anywhere but here?


13 posted on 05/23/2014 3:12:37 AM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet (I will raise $2Million USD for Cruz and/or Palin's next run, what will you do?)
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To: samtheman

The same as me. Some of my ancestors came here in 1690, but they never owned a slave that I can find. But even if they owned thousands, what’s that to me?


14 posted on 05/23/2014 3:14:30 AM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet (I will raise $2Million USD for Cruz and/or Palin's next run, what will you do?)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
Ta-Nehisi Coates makes a painstaking argument that the gap in wealth, achievement, and a wide range of health and wellbeing outcomes between black and white Americans is the result of deliberate policy decisions

Oops.

This malicious lie is destroying the country.

15 posted on 05/23/2014 3:17:27 AM PDT by Jim Noble (When strong, avoid them. Attack their weaknesses. Emerge to their surprise.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
I figured it was a no risk offer.

He's got a bird's nest on the ground: a professional bitcher & whiner.

16 posted on 05/23/2014 3:22:14 AM PDT by okie01 (The Mainstream Media: Ignorance on parade.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
I’m all for making the Democrats pay reparations for what they did. Republicans, on the other hand, freed the slaves, so we should be exempt.

In fact, Republicans should also get reparations from Democrats for the losses they suffered fighting them to free the slaves.

17 posted on 05/23/2014 3:22:28 AM PDT by TwelveOfTwenty (See my home page for some of my answers to the left's talking points.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
His essay would seem more to be a case against the Democrat party, rather than one in favor of reparations.

One more thought - We, as a nation have already paid the price of slavery in the form of a war that killed more Americans than any other conflict in which we have been involved. In the case of my family, one branch lost a father in the Battle of the Wilderness. And another branch, which favored the Union but lived in Missouri, had to abandon the family farm and move to another part of the state to avoid continuous raids by Southern sympathizers.

Before that point, and afterwards, we have bodily defended this nation. I seriously doubt that the essayist can say the same. All he has done successfully is beg on the corner for another handout.

18 posted on 05/23/2014 3:23:13 AM PDT by Pecos (The Chicago Way: Kill the Constitution, one step at a time.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
The 15,000+ word essay by Ta-Nehisi Coates in The Atlantic, The Case for Reparations, is getting completely predictable reactions.

I wonder if the essay addressed the Muslim slave traders who are still operating today? They are the ones who kidnapped and sold people into slavery for immense profits.

I wonder if the essay takes into account the current economic conditions in slave countries of origin compared to the economic conditions in our country today of descendants of former slaves? Many, if not all, slave countries of origin have people living in abject poverty.

If the educational levels and economic conditions today show significant improvement, should the offspring of former slaves themselves pay reparations to our government and the descendants of the civil war soldiers who freed them?

19 posted on 05/23/2014 3:29:34 AM PDT by olezip (Time obliterates the fictions of opinion and confirms the decisions of nature. ~ Cicero)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
I live in Maine and have always been a pro-Union man, but crap like this makes me want to fly the Confederate flag from my front porch.

(I took my American flag down on 1/20/09 and will not fly Old Glory again until The Present Occupant leaves office.)

20 posted on 05/23/2014 3:41:07 AM PDT by metesky (My investment program is holding steady @ $0.05 cents a can.)
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