Ta-Nehisi Coates

By Dorothy Wickenden, The New Yorker

When Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote “The Case for Reparations” for The Atlantic, in 2014, he didn’t expect the government to make reparations anytime soon. He told David Remnick that he had a more modest goal. “My notion,” Coates says, “was you could get people to stop laughing.” For Coates, to treat reparations as a punch line is to misunderstand their purpose. He argues that reparations weren’t only meant to atone for the horror of chattel slavery but to address racial inequities and the economic impact that has persisted since emancipation, more than a century ago. “The case I’m trying to make is, within the lifetime of a large number of Americans in this country, there was theft.”

“The Case for Reparations” was an intellectual sensation, and Coates did change the conversation; of the more than twenty candidates in the 2020 Democratic Presidential race, eight have said they’re in favor of at least establishing a commission to study the subject. He points to Senator Elizabeth Warren, who sought out Coates to discuss his article years before she was considered a candidate. But Coates’s own hopes for America truly making amends remain modest. “It may be true that this is something folks rally around,” he says, “but that’s never been my sense.”

Source: The Institute of the Black World 21st Century (IBW21). The content of this article does not necessarily reflect the views or opinion of Global Diaspora News (www.GlobalDiasporaNews.com).