Skip to comments.The dead-end Case for Reparations: Ta-Nehisi Coates’ backwards looking road to nowhere
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.
Its looooong, which gives it a perceived weight which just is not there.
In fact, theres 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 cant be imagined, let alone calculated and dispensed. But I believe that wrestling publicly with these questions matters as much asif not more thanthe 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 Americas 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 thats 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 cant 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 cant make the argument.
If you cant 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 cant make the argument.
If you cant 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 cant 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 acknowledgethat 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 Im talking about is more than recompense for past injusticesmore than a handout, a payoff, hush money, or a reluctant bribe. What Im 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 its 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, its ultimately a backwards looking road to nowhere.
I have bad news for Coates. I just checked by white-guilt bank account. It is empty. Zero balance. Sorry.
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?
You want reparations? It comes with repatriation!
Culture change and Ta-Nehisi Coatess 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 Americas 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 Coatess 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 Leutzes 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. ........
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.
"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.
I say give em one state.
Wall it off and be done.
My Polish grandparents came to America after WWI.
How much do I owe?
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.
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?
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?
This malicious lie is destroying the country.
He's got a bird's nest on the ground: a professional bitcher & whiner.
In fact, Republicans should also get reparations from Democrats for the losses they suffered fighting them to free the slaves.
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.
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?
(I took my American flag down on 1/20/09 and will not fly Old Glory again until The Present Occupant leaves office.)
“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, whats that to me?”
The unassimilated gibsmedats will say you only have what you own today because of what was donein 1690 (even if you started out homeless & penniless).
Any time someone pushes for “reparations”, then they have acknowledged that they have no hope blacks will ever assimilate or be productive. Blacks with their acts together don’t even mention this silliness. This book mentions 250 years of slavery; “black leaders” use 400. The fact is that this country had legalized slavery for less than 80 years (from the end of the Revolution until the Civil War); anyone using other time frams are being disingenuous (as though we owe blacks for Spain’s actions pre-dating out country).
This is one issue that keeps races divided; it serves the Dems well (until the other non-whites they reach out to realize they’d be getting the bill).
The South, and thereby the country as a whole, paid a terrible, terrible price for eradicating that original sin.
“All he has done successfully is beg on the corner for another handout.”
Some will never stop asking; much easier than learning a profession and getting a job. It is an acknowledgment of perpetual failure without hope.
The rationale behind affirmative action (in place now for decades, even putting an African mulatto in the White House) is that they are “owed”; how many generations exactly are “owed”? We’ve given unearned diplomas, degrees, jobs, and promotions to three generations already; is there a cut-off? (of course not)
“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.)”
Because that is practically a crime, I’d suggest any of the earlier American flags instead (Gadsen, bicentennial) - same idea (power to the states, limited federal government), less stigma. As far as the Union flag (Old Glory), I’ve never even owned one. While affirmative action is the law of the land, I’ll pass; someday those that want to maintain the illusion of a nation will realize the left doesn’t use Old Glory either...it has lost all meaning to far too many.
You're taking the "two parties" illusion a little too seriously, IMO.
I hear Burkina-Faso has some great acreage!
Other than the self-proclaimed freed slave CongressWO-MAN!! Sheila Jackson Lee, find me a live slave from The Civil War era, and, of course, they would get the money.
Any other discourse will entail any kind of generational entitlement, which is illegal.
which is my attitude about most college majors these days. One way to solve that problem would be for the government to forgive all education loans to people that get jobs within 6 months of gaining a bachelor's degree. No government agency job or government-subsidized job would count. You would see people absolutely RUNNING from useless majors. But, I realize that is only a dream.....
Fly the original Stars and Bars flag that was the banner of the Confederacy until 1863. Liberal idiots won’t recognize it and you’ll be making a deeper historical statement.
Look up the current Georgia state flag as a reference. We goobers in the South aren’t as dumb as we sound, y’all.
Meanwhile, if ol’ Ta’hini Chickpeas wants general racial war, then let’s bring it. Wants dem reparayshuns, den come an’ takes dem!
Do these folks hold the rest of the world to the same standard to which they hold America? or is America, to them, exceptional in its badness?
What, is it a grade school book report or something? How many pages is it single spaced? Does he get a gold star, a pat on the back and an "E" for effort? The word counting is juvenile, not impressive.
Liberia - that is the answer as far as I am concerned. The deal: give up US citizenship, one way free ticket to Liberia, one year of welfare benefits in cash up front. Be gone and don’t come back.
50 years of Affirmative Action “is” reparation. Too bad it was squandered away...
The day when Americans who never committed any crimes have to pay restitution to people who were never victims is the day logic has completely left America.
One finger and two words.
No, I'm just not falling for the trap of looking for an easy target by blaming the "GOPe" for replacing the Conservative candidates that Conservative America is voting for in the primaries with RINOs.
“One way to solve that problem would be for the government to forgive all education loans to people that get jobs within 6 months of gaining a bachelor’s degree. No government agency job or government-subsidized job would count. You would see people absolutely RUNNING from useless majors.”
I’m not interested in subsidizing ANY higher education today (after having to pay my own way 20 years ago). These majors will die off because the upper middle class and unassimilated lower class that took them can’t afford it any more - they know there is no future with the degree (outside of government work, which is out of money). I’d imagine those programs will be consolidated into an “unassimilated malcontent” degree.
When I was in school we had to take 3 credits in an “unassimilated malcontent” course (either ethnic or gender); to this day when the state college calls looking for money I tell them to ask “Professor H_” why I’m not giving. I’m glad the evil liberals in those areas are getting to see the traumatic failure of everything they believed in com to fruition; for a freak hippie she-professor to be on a campus increasingly surrounded by Arabs and Hispanics (the least gender-progressive groups around) warms my heart.
“Fly the original Stars and Bars flag that was the banner of the Confederacy until 1863. Liberal idiots wont recognize it and youll be making a deeper historical statement.”
Probably doesn’t make sense for a non-Southerner; the bicentennial flag was for the whole country at independence. I have a 3’x5’ Georgia flag from before the change; very sharp.
REPARATIONS? SEND THE BILL TO THE KKK PARTY!!!
Soros and Hollywood will put the dough
An Open Letter to the Democratic Party (From Black Republican Woman)
Lincoln Heritage Institute ^ | 3-18-08 | Lt. Colonel Frances Rice,
We, African American citizens of the United States, declare and assert:
Whereas in the early 1600s 20 African men and women were landed in Virginia from a Dutch ship as slaves and from that tiny seed grew the poisoned fruit of plantation slavery which shaped the course of American development,
Whereas reconciliation and healing always begin with an apology and an effort to repay those who have been wronged,
Whereas the Democratic Party has never apologized for their horrific atrocities and racist practices committed against African Americans during the past two hundred years, nor for the residual impact that those atrocities and practices and current soft bigotry of low expectations are having on us today,
Whereas the Democratic Party fought to expand slavery and, after the Civil War, established Jim Crow Laws, Black Codes and other repressive legislation that were designed to disenfranchise African Americans,
Whereas the Ku Klux Klan was the terrorist arm of the Democratic Party, and their primary goal was to intimidate and terrorize African American voters, Republicans who moved South to protect African Americans and any other whites who supported them,
Whereas, according to leading historians (both black and white), the horrific atrocities committed against African Americans during slavery and Reconstruction were financed, sponsored, and promoted by the Democratic Party and their Ku Klux Klan supporters,
Whereas from 1870 to 1930, in an effort to deny African Americans their civil rights and to keep African Americans from voting Republican, thousands of African Americans were shot, beaten, lynched, mutilated, and burned to death by Ku Klux Klan terrorists from the Democratic Party,
Whereas Democratic Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry Truman rejected anti-lynching laws and efforts to establish a permanent Civil Rights Commission,
Whereas the Democratic party has used racist demagoguery to deceive African Americans about the history of the Republican Party that: (a) started as the anti-slavery party in 1854, (b) fought to free African Americans from slavery, (c) designed Reconstruction, a ten-year period of unprecedented political power for African Americans, (d) passed the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments to the U. S. Constitution granting African Americans freedom, citizenship, and the right to vote, (e) passed the Civil Rights Acts of 1866 and 1875 granting African Americans protection from the Black Codes and prohibiting racial discrimination in public accommodations, (f) passed the Civil Rights Act of 1957 and the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and 1965 granting African Americans protection from the Jim Crow laws, (g) established Affirmative Action programs to help African Americans proper with Republican President Richard Nixons 1969 Philadelphia Plan that set the first goals and timetables and his 1972 Equal Employment Opportunity Act that made Affirmative Action Programs the law of our nation, and (h) never sponsored or launched a program, passed laws, or engaged in practices that resulted in the death of millions of African Americans,
Whereas Brown vs. the Board of Education of Topeka (a 1954 decision by Chief Justice Earl Warren who was appointed by Republican President Dwight Eisenhower) was a landmark civil rights case that was designed to overturn the racist practices that were established by the Democratic Party,
Whereas after Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt received the vote of African Americans, he banned African American newspapers from the military shortly after taking office because he was convinced the newspapers were communists,
Whereas Democratic President John F. Kennedy voted against the 1957 Civil Rights Law, opposed the 1963 March on Washington by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and was later criticized by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. for ignoring civil rights issues.
Whereas Democratic President John F. Kennedy authorized the FBI (supervised by his brother, Attorney General Robert Kennedy) to investigate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on suspicion of being a communist,
Whereas Democratic Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia, a former member of the Ku Klux Klan, made a 14-hour filibuster speech in the Senate in June 1964 in an unsuccessful effort to block passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and was heralded in April 2004 by Democratic Senator Christopher Dodd as a senator who would have been a great leader during the Civil War,
Whereas when the 1964 Civil Rights Act came up for vote, Senator Al Gore, Sr. and the rest of the Southern Democrats voted against the bill,
Whereas in the House of Representatives only 61 percent of the Democrats voted for the 1964 Civil Rights Act as compared to 80 percent of Republicans, and in the Senate only 69 percent of the Democrats voted for the 1964 Civil Rights Act, compared to 82 percent of the Republicans,
Whereas Democratic President Bill Clinton sent troops to Europe to protect the citizens of Bosnia and Kosovo while allowing an estimated 800,000 black Rwandans to be massacred in Africa, vetoed the welfare reform law twice before signing it, and refused to comply with a court order to have shipping companies develop an Affirmative Action Plan,
Whereas Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore created harmful racial division when he falsely claimed that the 2000 presidential election was stolen from him and that African Americans in Florida were disenfranchised, even though a second recount of Florida votes by the Miami Herald and a consortium of major news organizations confirmed that he lost the election, and a ruling by the U.S. Civil Rights Commission declared that African Americans were not denied the right to vote,
Whereas the Democratic Partys soft bigotry of low expectations and social promotions have consigned African Americans to economic bondage and created a culture of dependency on government social programs,
Whereas the Democratic Partys use of deception and fear to block welfare reform, the faith-based initiative and school choice that would help African Americans prosper is consistent with the Democratic Partys heritage of racism that included sanctioning of slavery and kukluxery, a perversion of moral sentiment among leaders of the Democratic Party whose racist legacy bode ill until this generation of African Americans,
Now, therefore, for the above and other documented atrocities and accumulated wrongs inflicted upon African Americans, we demand a formal written apology and other appropriate remuneration from the leadership of the Democratic party.