Ta-Nehisi Coates Responds to Mitch McConnell’s Dismissal of Reparations in Five Riveting Minutes

One of the best writers of the times, impassioned, articulate, and thoughtful. This 5 minute response to McConnell is a great introduction if you have not heard or read him. The post also includes video of McConnell’s comments (2 minutes) and a link to Medium who assembled 8 of the best essays by Coates, including his epic Letter to My Son describing the black experience in the USA..

If the video below inspires you, please take a look at this link which provides eight essays by Coates including an extended piece making a case for reparations, an assessment of the Obama presidency, The First White President (an inciteful essay on whiteness, the presidency and Donald Trump, and Letter to My Son.  Click here to get to all eight essays.

If you would like a bit of background on the case for reparations, this Slate piece comments on David Brooks recent op-ed in the NY Times describing his “conversion” to supporting reparations.  A moderate Republican, that Brooks could have found his way to support for reparations, is significant. Slate actually takes on Brooks as being late to the party and overlooking quite a bit in his op-ed  To read Brooks’ original NY Times op-ed, click here.  Since Brooks’ op-ed is in the NY Times and many do not subscribe and can only read 10 NY Times articles a month online, The Slate article gives you the gist of Brooks’ position with the critique from Slate.

After reading and/or reviewing the video, please offer comment on your view of reparations and / or the value of this Sunday focus on one issue via video. I decided this week to offer supplementary reading offerings to amplify or introduce the issues.  Was this a good idea?

Enjoy your Sunday.

Paul & Roxanne

First McConnell’s Comments (1 minute).

While they are unfortunately and predictably obtuse, they offered a perfect launching for Coates comments to Congress that follow.

Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Response

 

6 thoughts on “Ta-Nehisi Coates Responds to Mitch McConnell’s Dismissal of Reparations in Five Riveting Minutes

  1. Hi Roxanne and Paul. Ironically, this topic cruised through my consciousness last week, for about the 1000th time in my life. I did not grow up with any African American folks. Occasionally, a male adult would arrive by car in the small, isolated village I lived in, almost dead center in the usa. They would sell wares of all kinds from their cars, traveling from town to town. My dad had a business on the small main street, and a number of times I was there to witness his very challenging attitude about people of color, in relationship to the prevailing attitude of most in the village. He was a conservative man, an Eisenhower Republican, but he would not tolerate racial discrimination in his business from other citizens when these sales people came to shop their wares.

    He also was president of the school board for many years, and he hired the only African American teacher that had ever taught in that district. She just happened to be my teacher in the 7th grade. Most of the townspeople were overtly racist about Blacks and Native Americans, and Jews to some extent. Dad told me several times to judge people by their character, not their color, or their religion.

    First Nations peoples had populated my home state for many centuries, and they were virtually wiped out in the 1800s by white supremacist expansion. Two of my classmates in high school had Native moms, but this info was never spoken of, I had to intuit it across a time period of several years. But after I did, the history and culture of Native America became very central to my thinking when I went to college, and I learned of the devastating consequences of that near genocide.

    At certain times in my life, these topics have surfaced in white culture, and questions were asked about the responsibility and/or guilt/shame the living white folk might have about their ancestor’s treatment of Natives. I always came down on the side of shame, and embarrassment, and some grief about the past, but I never felt that those tragic actions were my responsibility personally. I just had to comport my own life in a completely different way, which, for the most part, I have.

    But in the past few years my attitude has evolved. Just as I have learned many wise and decent things from my ancestry, I also was indoctrinated by their very supremacist attitudes, and even though I shed them years ago, they are still my ancestry, and I am the designated survivor of the culture I was born into.

    So now I must agree with Coates, and many others of color whose ancestries were terrorized by white ethnic cleansing. It is absolutely NOT too much to ask that ‘Equality under the law’ be brought to bear when it comes to balancing the scales of social and economic justice.

    And I have a perfect place to start. Last year the taxpayers of the usa subsidized the oil and gas industry to the tune of 650+ billion dollars. All for the sake of forcing the ancient addiction of fossil fuels on a captive public. The major airlines also received several hundred billion in similar subsidies. We have consistently robbed Peter to pay Paul. It has led us to the edge of extinction. Time for yet another big jump to Light Speed. There is only one race of humans, homo sapiens sapiens, which translates as the wise human.

    Time to admit our wisdom has been mostly absent, in so many behaviors across the centuries.

    Mick NIckel

    • Great comment covering the slow evolution of a way of thinking. I hope this Sunday Movie post evolves into a community discussion of challenging issues. thanks, Mick

  2. very informative video by Na’Tehisi Coates and company. I didn’t realize that TYT was a podcast.

  3. Great summation by Coates of the racist legacy of our country that too few white Americans want to discuss

    Rick

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