May 22, 2014

"The recovering alcoholic may well have to live with his illness for the rest of his life. But at least he is not living a drunken lie."

"Reparations beckons us to reject the intoxication of hubris and see America as it is—the work of fallible humans," writes Ta-Nehisi Coates in "The Case for Reparations."
Won’t reparations divide us? Not any more than we are already divided. The wealth gap merely puts a number on something we feel but cannot say—that American prosperity was ill-gotten and selective in its distribution. 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.
And here's Isaac Chotiner in "Get Ready for a National Debate About Slavery Reparations."
The best argument against Coates's proposals is simply that they will prove to be more trouble than they are worth, i.e. that their practical effect will be a negative one... But... [i]f we can't even have the conversation he wants because people are so defensive or unwilling (or plain racist), it's just more evidence for what his essay rightfully bemoans.
ADDED: Look at the fluid interchangeability of "reparations" and "the conversation." Are we talking about "the conversation about race" that we've been talking about (not) having for the last 2 decades? This almost feels like a negotiation about the conversation, where the demand for "reparations" is designed to get your attention and to prepare you to feel relieved that all you really need to submit to is the conversation.

But, as has often been observed, the supposedly desirable conversation isn't a real conversation. On one level, there's nothing to debate. No one who is to be taken seriously opposes the high level abstraction that is racial equality. On a less abstract level, debate isn't really wanted. The conversation-seekers want to teach lessons and have those lessons acknowledged and taken to heart. There is resistance to that kind of conversation, and I don't think it will be overcome by presenting it in terms of "reparations."

Coates speaks of "spiritual renewal." He professes concern about our national spirit, our our national "consciousness," and our national "self-image," our national "psyche." This is the stuff of religion and its substitutes. I don't believe in or really want awakenings on a grand scale. The human mind belongs to the individual. I would resist the charms of relocating psychic and spiritual matters to the nation.

AND: Coates's analogy to the recovering alcoholic makes my point. The recovering alcoholic is an individual, with an individual problem, going through a personal psychological (and physiological) process. It's imaginative but ultimately specious — and dangerous — to think of the nation as a person.

280 comments:

1 – 200 of 280   Newer›   Newest»
hawkeyedjb said...

"American prosperity was ill-gotten and selective in its distribution."

Yeah, the Windows operating system was programmed on the backs of the poor. 'Cause that's how wealth gets created.

John said...

My parents emigrated from Ireland in 1949. I don't owe Mr. Coates or anyone else anything. As seen on Twitter this morning, "why do reparations always involve non-slave owners paying non-slaves?'

SomeoneHasToSayIt said...

Reparations: money given to certain people to redress something that didn't happen to them, and paid by people who had no part in the actions that triggered the claim for redress, in the first place.

Perfect! Fair! Justice!

Expat(ish) said...

And the children of the alcoholic shall attend self criticism clinics sponsored by the state.

In the country, where clean living will help them think right.

-XC

PS - No hard boiled eggs or parking meters either.

Unknown said...

If there is some damage done to the psyche of blacks in America because of a history of slavery, how does reparations heal it? Or will it feel just feel (to the recipients) like a payoff? Will that be the end of it? Will all feelings of discrimination and charges of racism magically disappear?

What would the be the real consequences?

CWJ said...

An historical rationale for action is simultaneously the most emotionaly compelling and the worst for ultimate resolution. Its a lousy argument.

Once the solution is applied, the history still remains to be dredged up at some future time to start the process all over again.

Illuninati said...

I believe that any American Black who thinks that living as a minority is unbearable and who blames whitey for all his woes should indeed get reparations with one condition. The reparations should include a one way ticket to the African country of his/her choice with a path to citizenship in that country. That way the Black man or woman would have the money to start a new life in a glorious black continent where he/she will rarely have to see Whitey again.

SGT Ted said...

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.

Such self serving neo-Marxist bullshit. Quit advocating anti-American Marxism and European Socialism and wealth distribution and then calling yourself a "Patriot", Ta-Nehisi Coates.

This person wants to bend the entire nation to their whims and desires, restrict free speech and compel other into compliance using force and take other peoples money and call it "reparations". I call it totalitarian and fascist and reject it utterly. People like Ta-Nehisi Coates can go fuck themselves.

How's that for a conversation?

Ann, people like this don't want a "conversation". They want to lecture and then to rule over others.

adamsunderground said...

The Merchant of Penance

Christopher said...

What is needed is a healing of the American psyche and the banishment of white guilt.

Well, I've got the last one covered, no guilt here but thanks!

SteveR said...

It won't change anything, even if you actually decide how to do it, and make the case that indigenous people don't get some too.

Its just another topic for people writing for the victim class.

BDNYC said...

Hundreds of thousands of Americans died fighting for the end of slavery. The last sixty or so years have seen the rise and fall of hard race quotas and the entrenchment of preferential race policies, both in the private and public sectors (affirmative action, MBEs, etc). The government and the courts have been burdened by school busing, racial balancing, voting rights act compliance, and so forth.

Do reparations mean an end to all that? Can we finally call it even?

campy said...

Sure is great that Obama ended that racial divide we used to have in this country.

EDH said...

I take all these renewed attempts to stir-up racial division as evidence the left believes Obama and the Democrats are in deep shit the next couple of election cycles.

Because if all races did come together to ask why are so many people's economic prospects are so bleak at the moment, there's really nobody else to blame but Obama and his policy-driven malaise.

Aside from rancor and a few shake-down payments, here and there, nothing more will come of this other than an attempt to keep blacks on the Democrat plantation.

EDH said...
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EDH said...
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SJ said...

The City of Detroit suffered terribly from the after-effects of the riots of 1967.

A general push to move from City to suburbs; an increased level of criminal behavior becoming the norm even after the riots died down; the economic and physical losses sustained after the migration...

Should the City claim reparations from those who rioted? Or their descendants?

The City could use the money now.

Michael said...

OK.

What is the number? What we have been given by Crack, who speaks for all blacks other than a cab driver I met in Savannah recently, is based on hourly wages of $7.00 multiplied by the number of hours estimated worked by slaves over a period of two hundred years. The $7.00 is at a time when a blacksmith made around $1.00 an hour. President Jefferson made around $10 an hour.

Then the interest rate applied to the $7.00 per hour is 6% , a preposterous rate. The outcome of all of the Crack math is $2,500,000 per each of the 40 million blacks in the US.

I somehow do not think this is going to be found acceptable by the American people. Is there another number that is proposed? Is there any number proposed or are we just listening to talk?

If the $2,500,000 per black figure ever gets in wide circulation that will be the end of any discussions about the topic.

Let us hear a number that will satisfy.

The recovering alcoholic makes amends for actions that she herself has taken. The analogy is not so good for the purposes of this article.






Sorun said...

Reparations: Black people get to live here in America instead of Africa, which, by the way, still has slavery.

damikesc said...

So, Coates is advocating a group of people for actions done by ancestors, whether there is any actual relation or not?

THAT is the conversation.

Can he prove MY family enslaved anybody (they did not, so no, he cannot)? Then what legitimate claim does he have to one red cent of MY money.

Can he prove that HIS family was enslaved? How many blacks have come here since slavery? Do THEY also deserve reparations?

What about descendants of black slave owners? What happens to them?

To be blunt, we've GIVEN blacks billions for decades and the black culture has turned to utter crap and their leadership is inept. We now have to clean up the messes that were done by black folks basically on their own (see Detroit).

If you want a balance sheet, blacks owe white folks money, not vice versa.

Hustlers like Coates don't want a conversation. They want me to apologize. Well, to be gentle, fuck that noise. When I hear apologies for the crimimal pathology running rampant in black culture, then they can hold their breath and wait for all I care.

I owe no black person one penny. I owe nobody anything period. You want a divided country? Do this. It's a long held piece of logic that you don't blame kids for their actions of their parents.

It's even MORE asinine to blame kids for the actions of other people's parents.

Soak whites to pay blacks and you'll have a race war. Plain and simple. And it'll be an earned one in this case.

Sorun said...

I suspect Coates thinks America is composed of only whites and blacks.

glenn said...

Mark my share "Paid in Full" courtesy of my paternal great grandfathers, both of whom joined the Union Army and went off to preserve the Union and free the slaves.

Kevin said...

Sorry, but I see no need for me or my family to pay reparations for something we had nothing to do with.

Unless you want to generalize about a whole race of people (white people) and assign collective guilt to them. Something that has been regularly seen as a huge no-no when applied to, say, black on black violence, or Islam and Muslims over violent jihad terrorism.

Besides, my family was too busy being oppressed by the British to be involved in the enslaving of Africans.

madAsHell said...

Will they surrender their EBT cards?

Nonapod said...

People who look at wealth, opportunity, and happiness as zero sum quantities will always think in terms of hurting others to achieve a "balance" rather than making life better for everyone. For them the highest values are equality and fairness, even if it means everyone is equally miserable. They seem incapable of learning from the copious past examples from the Holodomor to The Khmer Rouge.

Ian F. Shield said...

"Reparations would mean the end of yelling “patriotism” while waving a Confederate flag."

Translation: "waving a Confederate flag" = opposing Obamacare, or anything else on Obama's agenda

By the way, would black Americans like Obama and Colin Powell, who have no black American ancestors, eligible for reparations? Incidentally, while Obama is not descended from any American slaves, he is a descendant of white slaveholders.

Oso Negro said...

Reparations! I would think a good portion of my taxes these past forty years have been enough. But what about repatriation? Why can't we go all Marcus Garvey and ship the perpetually aggrieved back to the Motherland? Full disclosure requires me to observe that black slavers are once again seizing black slaves, though. It may not all turn out quite as well on the second go-round.

exhelodrvr1 said...

Since the country as a whole has suffered due to racism, and has failed to live up to it's full potential, I want reparations, too.

Tank said...

Like many others, my grandparents all came over to the US in about 1910. They had nothing. They were as poor as you could be. My father never slept alone in a bed until he joined the army. And they were Jewish and so discriminated against in many ways.

They worked in the classic clothing industry sweatshops for years and gradually lifted themselves out of it and into the middle class.

They, obviously, never had any slaves, and, being guilty Jewish types, worked hard for the civil rights for black people.

What exactly does my small extended family owe to black people?

Slavery was truly the worst thing America ever did to Blacks and Whites. What would America be like today if we did not have the 40 million black people who are here? Would the US be better off or worse?

Greg Hlatky said...

Slavery is the poisonous legacy of colonialism. Send the bill to the British.

Drago said...

This is the bestest most wonderfulest crack-bait evah!

Well played Althouse.

Well played.

My exit question:

How much, exactly, should garage be made to pay to Sasha and Malia for the crime of "whiteness"?

AJ Lynch said...

Is there any chance reparations would get Michele Obama and Eric Holder to stfu about racism?

Roughcoat said...

My great-grandfather and four great-grand uncles immigrated from Ireland to Illinois just before the outbreak of the Civil War. Upon the commencement of hostilities they all enlisted in the Union Army. They could barely speak English and served in all-Irish regiments in which Gaelic was the primary means of communication. They were all quite young, in their early twenties, yet nevertheless were married with children. They left their homes, families, and jobs to serve their country. Three were killed in the course of the war and are buried in mass graves. My great-grandfather, William Burke, died fairly young, at age 56, from complications of wounds suffered in the war. The surviving great grand-uncle was invalided and my grandmother was collecting on his meager pension into the 1940s.

Fuck Coates and his call for reparations.

traditionalguy said...

This could work out well if militarized Federal Bureaucrats first disarm white property owners, then confiscate their money, and ignore the Bill of Rights.

Which is exactly what Obama has started doing in the short time he has left since the last elections.

Skeptical Voter said...

I'll get Ta Nehisi 40 acres and a mule in the middle of the Mojave desert.

Ralph Hyatt said...

Hmong, Iranian, Mexican, Chinese, Japanese, Cuban, Venezuelan, Puerto Rican, Thai, Iraqi, etc immigrants are likely to say "Hell No!"

Unknown said...

Syllogisms in response to Ta Nehisi Coates, concerning "reparations" to the unwronged by the unguilty, for your consideration:

-Slave owners must pay all former slaves reparations.
-Slave owners and slaves are all dead.
-ERGO: Dead slave owners must pay dead slaves reparations.

-Living descendants of slave owners must pay reparations to dead slaves
-Dead slaves cannot accept reparations
-ERGO: Descendants of slave owners cannot pay slaves reparations.

-Livingescendents of slave owners must pay reparations to descendants of slaves.
-Mere descendants of slavers are not guilty of holding slaves and non-slaves have no right to slavery reparations from non-slavers.
-ERGO: Descendants of slave owners owe no reparations to non-slaves.

-Today’s white American population is a mixture of descendants of slave owners, descendants of non-slave-owners, and descendants of those who were not in America during slavery times.
-Some white Americans are married to and fathers/mothers of descendants of slaves.
-ERGO: ??????

The syllogism was invented by the Western world many centuries ago. It is a way of expressing simple truths in order to come to logical conclusions.

(A similar comment was posted by me at Balloon Juice.)

Fred Oobop Shabam Beloit

Unknown said...

Syllogisms in response to Ta Nehisi Coates, concerning "reparations" to the unwronged by the unguilty, for your consideration:

-Slave owners must pay all former slaves reparations.
-Slave owners and slaves are all dead.
-ERGO: Dead slave owners must pay dead slaves reparations.

-Living descendants of slave owners must pay reparations to dead slaves
-Dead slaves cannot accept reparations
-ERGO: Descendants of slave owners cannot pay slaves reparations.

-Livingescendents of slave owners must pay reparations to descendants of slaves.
-Mere descendants of slavers are not guilty of holding slaves and non-slaves have no right to slavery reparations from non-slavers.
-ERGO: Descendants of slave owners owe no reparations to non-slaves.

-Today’s white American population is a mixture of descendants of slave owners, descendants of non-slave-owners, and descendants of those who were not in America during slavery times.
-Some white Americans are married to and fathers/mothers of descendants of slaves.
-ERGO: ??????

The syllogism was invented by the Western world many centuries ago. It is a way of expressing simple truths in order to come to logical conclusions.

(A similar comment was posted by me at Balloon Juice.)

Fred Oobop Shabam Beloit

MrCharlie2 said...

Do I get credit for my abolitionist and Union soldier ancestors? And exemption for the portion of my ancestry that arrived after 1864?

gerry said...

I like a post here the other day: the white man wasn't the first to enslave others, but he was the first to try to end it.

After all the trillions spent on the black and other permanent underclass members since LBJ, I think the reparations have already been paid.

It's a moot point, anyway. After Obama slumps out of office, the deficit crisis will mean there's no money for reparations, anyway.

And the middle class will be really pissed. The Democrat Party formed an alliance netween the poor and the very rich during the Obamalamadingdong administration, and this is just another appeal to the ruined souls below and the untouchable ones above. Screw the ones in the middle.

The Crack Emcee said...

BDNYC,

"Hundreds of thousands of Americans died fighting for the end of slavery."

And then, a mere decade later, the racists reversed everything Americans died for - why do you leave that part out? Isn't the story incomplete without that fact? That white actions (after the Civil War they're so proud of) made those hundreds of thousands of American deaths - black and white - almost for nothing but white bragging rights?

And you're not the only white who leaves such things out - that's also what reparations are for - making blacks endure listening to, and responding to the physical results of, these insane lies in our contemporary world today.

Someone, with power, who leaves out whole swaths of American history - which is what whites do in America - is still capable, today, of doing a lot of damage. Examples abound, starting with the killers of Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis.

"Can we finally call it even?"

When racist whites stop fighting us every step of the way (so we can stop black's insane one-step-forward/two-steps-back progress) we might get there. But, as long as whites stay defiant, I doubt it:

We blacks will ALWAYS fight back.

MadisonMan said...

Oh Dear Lord, another "National Debate" wherein white men are lectured.

I'd love to be on the Committee to decide the amount paid, and by whom. It will involve a lot of math, that I'm good at, and I suspect the people proposing reparations include many xxxx Studies majors who didn't have to take any math at all.

In my own case, about 2/5th of the family line dates to the Revolution. Dad's grandfather came over from Sweden in after the Civil War though, Mom's great-great-grandfather came over from Norway in the 1840s. No one ever held a slave, and my great-great-grandfather (Dad's Mom's side) was crippled for life fighting against slavery in the Civil War. How does one prorate my guilt?

Are all Asians exempt? How about mixed-race couples? Hispanics?

Even without the intractability of the entire problem, this is a bad idea as it propagates an idea that anyone -- anyone -- is owed anything by anybody. That's is counter to the American ideal that people can pull themselves up and make a big deal of themselves.

Ralph Hyatt said...

Also, I am 1/8th Cherokee. Never identified as that since I, like Elizabeth Warren, never have suffered the slightest bit from it, but unlike Warren, I have some honor and realize that using others suffering as a means to advance myself in some way is wrong.

But if reparations do come about, do I receive them or pay them?

Since every African-American has white ancestry, how is their compensation to be ascertained? Will their be boards to determine individuals "blackness?" Will it matter if the white ancestor is before or after the civil war? Slave owner or not?

El Camino Real said...

Anglo-Saxons unite! Norman Reparations NOW! No justice No PEACE!!!

grackle said...

A question for every politician: Do you favor black reparation? Yes or no, please.

Relax folks. This will never happen. It's fun for some people to talk about, akin to, "What if I won the lottery" fanaticizing; it establishes "street cred" for others, sort of like street-awkward Harvard educated Community Organizer Obama dutifully sitting through Rev. Wright sermons, it allows the Left to feel morally superior by publicly favoring something they know will never happen and keeps some African-Americans on the Entitlements Expectation Plantation where they can be more easily manipulated by their Race Industry overseers. The Big Payoff will never come. It's a device, a tool, a dreamy fantasy, nothing more.

In my darkest moments I feel that America will never achieve racial/ethnic unity. But then I smile at my two happy granddaughters, products of a happy marriage, whose father is Mexican American and I notice mixed-race couples and their children and I brighten up and think, "Eventually nature will take care of this problem."

It'll take a long time but eventually this problem will fade into history.

Basil said...

How about a payment to the dead soldiers of the Union Army who were drafted into the Army and then died to free the slaves??? These are my relatives and now I am asked to pay reparations?????

Paul Zrimsek said...

Sorry, but I see no need for me or my family to pay reparations for something we had nothing to do with.

Coates' counter-argument is that this is a collective debt owed by all Americans. Except that the collective premise vanishes without a trace once we turn to the question of who's entitled to collect: now, all of a sudden, it does matter which particular ancestors you have. Just being American entitles you to a share of the guilt, but not of the proceeds, because shut up.

rhhardin said...

How about a bus ticket to Africa, if you can't hack it as an American.

exhelodrvr1 said...

The UK is responsible for a significant portion of this, since they were in charge until 1783.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

"Who, whom?"

B said...

To ignore the fact that one of the oldest republics in the world was erected on a foundation of white supremacy, to pretend that the problems of a dual society are the same as the problems of unregulated capitalism, is to cover the sin of national plunder with the sin of national lying.

Coates couldn't resist the temptation to add some ignorant populist economics rhetoric. What an idiot.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

"American prosperity was ill-gotten and selective in its distribution."


Unlike every other nation's prosperity, I guess. Wait, if you take American out of the sentence and it's still true doesn't that mean the problem isn't ameanable to solution via American-only action? Sorry, logic got in the way.

Practically, though, to what year are we going back, balance-of-power-wise? It makes a difference...

RAH said...

Mr Coates can pay me for the damage done by blacks for the corrupt government of DC and Detroit. He also owes for all the multi billions paid for welfare and EBT and housing for blacks. How about paying for the bad education system that black liberalism destroyed.

I never owner slaves and I do not owe him one cent. He wants my money then he can try to steal it like any other thief and suffer the buckshot of consequences.

RAH said...

Mr Coates can pay me for the damage done by blacks for the corrupt government of DC and Detroit. He also owes for all the multi billions paid for welfare and EBT and housing for blacks. How about paying for the bad education system that black liberalism destroyed.

I never owner slaves and I do not owe him one cent. He wants my money then he can try to steal it like any other thief and suffer the buckshot of consequences.

MadisonMan said...

My problem with Coates' article: It plays into the notion that Blacks are hapless pawns in the hands of Whites.

Rather than focusing on oppression in the past, why not focus on successes of the present day, give people a goal to aim for? No! He has to say look how terrible things were -- the implication being that terrible things continue now. Might as well give up! The long odds are stacked against you.

That may or may not be true. But what good comes from dwelling on how difficult your life might be? Work hard and take advantage of any minuscule breaks and good things just might happen.

Call me Pollyanna.

Brando said...

Here's the big problem with reparations--who should have to pay and who should be entitled to receive. "Who should pay" is easy when you have a living former slaveowner, who you could determine has derived X value over Y time from slaves, and "who should receive" is also easy when you have a living slave who you could determine produced X value over Y time for the slaveowner.

How on earth do you decide any of that now? Saying "all Americans today derive benefit from the efforts of slaves" may be true, but then again that means ALL Americans, including many who were also descended in part from slaves, and not only because many if not most of them are mixed-race. And does a descendant of a slaveholder who inherited a lot of money passed down from those days get assessed at the same level as some Vietnamese immigrant who just got here two years ago? Certainly it's not fair to treat them alike, but there's also no reasonable way to even measure how much anyone today benefitted from something from so long ago.

Then of course it's not only slaves who suffered for the arguably unfair benefit of others to which this country benefits--most laborers at that time were underpaid and worked under abysmal conditions, while certain moneyed classes benefitted unfairly. By the same argument we're using for reparations shouldn't we be providing reparations to the descendants of those laboring classes? But again, how do we even determine who owes whom?

Coates is just your everyday race hustler, feeding on racial resentment and fetishization from guilt-ridden leftists. It'd be nice if he'd actually advance some new ideas, but it seems all he has is warmed over arguments that have been done to death fifty years ago.

Thorley Winston said...

Perhaps Mr. Coates should first go to the descendants of those who originally captured and sold his ancestors into slavery and ask them for “reparations” before trying to shake down those of us who had nothing to do with slavery.

Larry J said...



madAsHell said...
Will they surrender their EBT cards?


We're paying a trillion dollars a year for social welfare programs and they still want reparations? OK, accept reparations and give up eligibility for welfare programs for life. Deal?

Original Mike said...

"Then the interest rate applied to the $7.00 per hour is 6% , a preposterous rate. The outcome of all of the Crack math is $2,500,000 per each of the 40 million blacks in the US."

Think of the economic stimulus! All that money would be spent in the economy. What's the multiplier? 2.0? 3.0? The economy would boom! And the tax receipts! Money rolling into the Treasury. Paul Krugman should get right on this.

RecChief said...

so, if we pay reparations, with money the government doesn't have by the way, will this bullshit end?

Not going to go into my family history, there isn't any point. 'Cause no matter what, somehow I am bad based on the color of my skin. Ironic, eh?

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Then answered all the [American] people, [their] blood be on us, and on our children!

RecChief said...

I just love it when Althouse trolls her own blog.

RecChief said...

What I’m talking about is a national reckoning that would lead to spiritual renewal.

I'm so old, I remember when electing Obama was supposed to do that.

tim in vermont said...

Well, whatever reparations we owe Blacks, we owe Indians ten times over.

Chef Mojo said...

Reparations after WWI. That worked out real fine.

Reparations breed resentment, and if you want to see a huge majority of Americans angry and resentful, and preparing to do something about it, just go ahead and impose reparations on them. You'll see an ugliness and level of violence you cannot conceive of; another civil war that will make the last one pale in comparison. Make a people angry enough and resentful enough, and that's what you're going to get. It's not right, but there is a great deal of historic precedent for it. Think it can't happen here? That's where your hubris is locked up.

Michael K said...

I thought reparations were the reason for the "Great Society" which transferred trillions to blacks and wrecked the black family. Mark that bill "Paid."

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Right after the checks go out everything will be fine and Crack et al. won't have anything else to say, right? Just like the way President Obama's historic election(s) quieted accustaions of American society's racism, I'm sure. And if the Pigford and Pigford II settlements have taught us anything it's that the Federal gov will rigorously verify all claims, ensure that only deserving recipients are awarded funds, and turn the spigot off quickly and with finality once the efficient settlement process has been completed. You remember all the mainstream media coverage about Pigford fraud, right?

Sam L. said...

Ah, the permanently offended. TNC could move to Africa and see if life is so much better there. and was it whites who went into the jungles (or wherever) to capture and enslave the Africans?

I'm pretty sure some of my ancestors were enslaved by somebody, there having been a lot of that in the old days.

And would 40 Acres and a Mule be acceptable to those living in the inner city?

Chef Mojo said...

Perhaps a better solution could be borrowed from the Clinton/Lewinsky days.

Maybe blacks should just "get over it" and "move on."

gregq said...

"Reparations" are yet another attempt by leftists to destroy the concept of individual responsibility.

There's a hell of a lot of immigrants who came to the US with nothing, who've made something of their lives. See: the Vietnamese boat people for a recent example. Racism? Discrimination? "No dogs or Irish need apply" (or look at what Chinese workers faced in California).

Blacks aren't failing today because some ancestor 160 years ago was a slave. Blacks are failing today because the policies of the Left, of the Democrat Party, and of "high end" blacks are uniformly destructive, and because of a whining bullshit culture that looks for excuses, instead of demanding results.

Which is exactly what's driving the "reparations" movement: more of the same.

When the Democrats, the Left, and the "high end" blacks decide that educating inner city kids is more important than pandering to the Teachers' unions, come talk to me. When those same people stop putting the interests of social workers above the interests of the poor (which is the only reason for fighting against the successful 1996 welfare reforms), come talk to me.

Until then, they can take their whining, and get stuffed.

Andrew said...

Be honest: none of you wingnuts actually read the article.

William said...

Reparations will not diminish but rather exacerbate racial tensions. Maybe that is their ultimate purpose.....This has something to do with the legalization of gay marriage. If one heretofore outlandish idea becomes mainstream, what to keep some other outlandish idea from becoming validated.

mccullough said...

Republicans should push for this. It would be a sure way to lock up the black vote for 50 years.

richard mcenroe said...

By the same logic of "reparations" I am entitled to 40 acres of Ireland.

No one alive in America today has ever been oppressed by a slave-owner, although many are forced to live in ghettos on pittances and crumbs courtesy of the Democratic Party.

If any good liberal wants to write a black family a check, go right ahead.

Chef Mojo said...

But let's just say for the sake of argument that blacks get their reparations.

How comfortable will they feel in a country where they will be resented and hated for their exceptional treatment. How will a single racial group made up of multi-millionaires deal with being constantly and easily targeted by criminals and gangs. Attacks by their own, who'll want more and more. Do blacks really think they'll be more secure after reparations?

Careful what you wish for.

Andrew said...

Until any of you actually read the article in full you are responding to strawmen.

richard mcenroe said...

Tank, we're fining you for your melanin deficiency.

And while your ancestors were slaving in the garment sweat shops. I hope they remembered to check their privilege.

Scott M said...

But... [i]f we can't even have the conversation he wants because people are so defensive or unwilling (or plain racist), it's just more evidence for what his essay rightfully bemoans.

How does this logic sit with all of the commencement address cancellations we've had recently?

Xmas said...

Michael,

What you're proposing is just a $100 million payout to make up for years of repression, that's not too bad. Let's make it $200 million to cover Native Americans, Chinese rail road laborers, Japanese WWII internees, and any other racial minorities that were oppressed during the comparatively brief history of the United States.

I'm okay with that. That's less than what's dumped into the failing inner-city school systems every year.

The ultimate question is if a sudden cash infusion will do anything to fix the obviously broken black social structure. We will still have drug and other laws that are disproportionately used against blacks. We'll still have broken school systems in black neighborhoods. We'll still have an underclass that falls into criminality because any pillar of decency in their community is simply bashed down, morally, mentally or mortally, by a system that prefers blacks remain in their place.

It's not Republicans that are racist. It's the whole system that's racist. Democrats don't want blacks to have better lives, neither do Republicans. Both prefer the system as it stands now. Democrats pour money into failing school systems and inner city "improvement" programs and that money goes into the pockets of unions, cronies and bureaucrats. Meanwhile the quality of life for inner city blacks continues to decline. You don't see Democrats working to change the laws used to punish blacks. They'll get on TV and decry some action by police that happens to make it on the national news, but they won't lift a finger to end the laws that empower the police to bash the heads in of any blacks that look "suspicious".

Paul said...

Reporter, "Now that you've been to Africa what do you think?"

Muhammad Ali, "Thank God my granddaddy got on that boat."

richard mcenroe said...

Don't gay people deserve reparations for our cities being insufficiently fabulous the last two centuries?

William said...

Ireland suffered seven hundred years of maltreatment from the English. Famine and malnutrition were endemic for all those seven hundred years. During the potato famine years, one out of seven people in Ireland starved to death. The English spent more money to feed their horses during the Crimean War than they did for famine relief during those years of crop failure......People say that they would prefer death to slavery, but the historical record shows that people sell themselves and their children into slavery to avoid starvation. Blacks in America have had their share of misery, but the world has many sad stories and many of them are far sadder than the plight of American blacks today.

The Crack Emcee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
K in Colorado said...

Lets see, some of my ancestors in Tennessee owned a total of 4 or 5 slaves at the time of the Civil War. After the Civil War, those slaves received some land from my ancestors. My family on that side, for the next 100 years, were poor subsistence tobacco farmers.

I think the land that was given, followed by three generations of extreme poverty by the slave owners and their descendants is enough. I don't think I or my son and future descendants owe anything else.

Further, the argument that white people are still benefitting from slavery, and that black people built this country (I had someone tell me that with a straight face - my counter was tell that to the Irish, Italians, Chinese, ... immigrants - I don't think they sat around doing nothing)is a bunch of d_ s_.

Capt. Schmoe said...

Where will it stop?

chillblaine said...

"Shake it off! Stop complaining! Stop grumbling! Stop crying!"

BHO

Stop ridiculing scholastic achievement as acting white.

Matt

garage mahal said...

How much, exactly, should garage be made to pay to Sasha and Malia for the crime of "whiteness"?

I'll pay as soon as you pay up for your chronic stupid takes.

Shouting Thomas said...

Paying off the race extortionists does not stop the extortion attempts.

You really think Coates and Crack are going to stop begging, accusing, whining and bitching if you pay them off on what is supposed to be the final bill?

They'll be back for more after they've blown their take on Air Jordans, baby mommas, cocaine, record tours, etc.

There are always chumps willing to pay off the race extortionists in the hope that they will avoid the Evil Eye, i.e., Althouse and Meade.

Crack will bounce to the bottom again, and he'll take plenty of people with him. And, he'll be back again, whining and begging.

Extortionists enjoy the game. There is no amount of money that will buy off the race extortionists. Each demand is just the prelude to the next.

MadisonMan said...

Until any of you actually read the article in full you are responding to strawmen.

I read it, and my second comment is my reaction to it.

campy said...

"I just love it when Althouse trolls her own blog."

Then you love about 75% of her posts lately.

Shouting Thomas said...

Crack comes along, as usual, to prove that every imaginable "stereotype" of black men is true in individual cases.

Crack is every kind of lazy, racist, useless, whining beggar and race hustler you can imagine.

Fortunately, I work with and know decent black men.

Don't believe that all black men are contemptible pieces of garbage like Crack. My personal experience has taught me otherwise.

Clayton Hennesey said...

Who is foolish enough to believe that this extortion attempt, like any extortion attempt, would ever be the end of it? Besides, my ancestors arrived in America in the 1920's. Why do I owe anyone anything?

I think we can see why stronger, smarter Africans sold off Ta-Nehisi Coates' ancestors at their first opportunity: to rid their own villages of such scheming.

Todd said...

OK, I will "bite"...

the Crack Emcee said:

Examples abound, starting with the killers of Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis.


Sorry but Trayvon did not die by the hand of a "killer", Trayvon committed suicide. He attacked someone he failed to reason might be armed and paid the final price.

Michael K said...

More insane musings:

"When racist whites stop fighting us every step of the way (so we can stop black's insane one-step-forward/two-steps-back progress) we might get there. But, as long as whites stay defiant, I doubt it:"

Fighting you how ? By refusing to be robbed if we go in the wrong neighborhood ?

Trying to get your kids into voucher supported private schools, like my former high school which has 96% graduation and over 90% college acceptance ?

It's in a blue collar neighborhood and the tuition isn't cheap but the parents pay it and are almost all current.

No, you just want the plantation redecorated.

Jason said...

I think it's Democrats who should pay reparations. They are the ones who enslaved blacks, who formed the KKK, who formed lynch mobs, who conceived, passed and enforced the Jim Crow laws. Democrats.

It was Democrats (Wilson) who segregated the Navy.

It was Republicans who put their lives on the line to end all these things. Not Democrats.

REPARATIONS FROM DEMOCRATS NOW!!

HoodlumDoodlum said...

The Crack Emcee said...
But, as long as whites stay defiant, I doubt it


"Submit!" he argued.

Or how about From almost any page of [most Crack Emcee comments], a voice can be heard, from painful necessity, commanding: " To the gas chambers — go!"

richard mcenroe said...

"And then, a mere decade later, the racists reversed everything Americans died for - why do you leave that part out?"

Crack, why do you leave the part out where blacks vote overwhelmingly for the party that did just that?

Dr Weevil said...

Has no one done the arithmetic? I did it a couple of months ago and posted my results in a comment on this site, to deafening silence from supporters of reparations. Crack wants 100 trillion dollars in reparations, which comes to $2,500,000 each for 40 million black Americans. (By the way, does Obama get $1,250,000 since he's only half-black?)

As I pointed out a few months ago, 100 trillion dollars is more than the entire wealth of the entire world. Estimates vary, but the wealth of the entire world seems to be somewhere in the 65 to 85 trillion dollars range, depending on who's doing the estimating.

So Crack thinks white Americans should conquer all the people in the rest of the world - including Africa - take all their stuff, and give it to black Americans, then give all the stuff white Americans own or control to black Americans. Result: everyone in the world except those 40 million black Americans starves to death in a week or two, and those 40 million still complain because they only got 65 or 75 or 85 trillion dollars (probably much less, since wars are very expensive) when they were owed 100 trillion.

Anyone who seriously demands 100 trillion dollars from anyone for anyone for any reason whatsoever is either (a) utterly ignorant of basic arithmetic and simple facts about the world, (b) too stupid to follow a simple argument, (c) utterly insane, or (d) some combination of those three things.

Perhaps they want us to conquer other planets before starving ourselves to death, to make up the full 100 trillion dollars.

Smilin' Jack said...

We blacks will ALWAYS fight back.

Hee...the reason we enslaved you blacks, who had to be first bought from black slave traders in Africa and then shipped thousands of miles across the ocean at great expense, rather than enslaving native Americans, who were already here for the taking, is that blacks wouldn't fight back. Owing to the long tradition of slavery in Africa (which, BTW, only white men have ever made any attempt to end), your ancestors proved very adept at learning the phrase "Yassuh, Massuh!")

The Crack Emcee said...

Chef Mojo,

"Let's just say for the sake of argument that blacks get their reparations.

How comfortable will they feel in a country where they will be resented and hated for their exceptional treatment."

The same way we feel now but with money - because that's how we're treated, now, but without.

Archie said...

I'd support reparations at some level for those that experienced actual harm albeit historically as long as the rest of the deal is that they completely and pleasantly STFU about this and related topics in the future under pain of having their bounty repossessed.

tim in vermont said...

I guess we could always borrow the money off of the Chinese and then inflate away the debt since it is well known that "what can't be repaid won't be repaid." Let the Chinese pay for it, those who didn't come over here as "coolies" anyway. They owe us.

grackle said...

Until any of you actually read the article in full you are responding to strawmen.

Straw man: a fabricated or conveniently weak or innocuous person, object, matter, etc., used as a seeming adversary or argument: The issue she railed about was no more than a straw man.

Inform us, please. List the straw man arguments so skillfully detected. We'll be waiting …

Democrats don't want blacks to have better lives, neither do Republicans.

Ah … the moral high ground. Lovely up there I hear. We down here in the shit look longingly upon the glowing visage and are filled with tearful admiration.

My family on that side, for the next 100 years, were poor subsistence tobacco farmers.

Hey! Don't all those lung cancer victims and their descendents deserve reparations too?

Carried to it's logical extreme, this where the concept of reparation ends up – straight into the Realm of the Ridiculous.

MayBee said...

I have found a way for the nation to heal! And it has to do with me, my friends, and my family getting money from other people!
I feel really good about this!

President-Mom-Jeans said...

How's your rash, Crack?

No reparations for you today, try again tomorrow.

garage mahal said...

Hee...the reason we enslaved you blacks, who had to be first bought from black slave traders in Africa and then shipped thousands of miles across the ocean at great expense, rather than enslaving native Americans, who were already here for the taking, is that blacks wouldn't fight back. Owing to the long tradition of slavery in Africa (which, BTW, only white men have ever made any attempt to end), your ancestors proved very adept at learning the phrase "Yassuh, Massuh!")

Remember, conservatives are colorblind.

Xmas said...

Oof. I just realized my math was way off. 2.5 million times 40 million is 100 trillion not 100 million.

Rusty said...

Because, lord knows, black folk can't figure it out on their own.

Michael said...

Crack

So what is the number? What dollar amount to you would be considered adequate in reparations?

Don't need a speech, just a dollar amount.

Thanks

Michael

MadisonMan said...

The same way we feel now but with money - because that's how we're treated, now, but without.

But they won't have it for long, because those tricky white men will steal it back!

Something given to you was never really yours to begin with.

garage mahal said...

Hee...the reason we enslaved you blacks, who had to be first bought from black slave traders in Africa and then shipped thousands of miles across the ocean at great expense, rather than enslaving native Americans, who were already here for the taking, is that blacks wouldn't fight back. Owing to the long tradition of slavery in Africa (which, BTW, only white men have ever made any attempt to end), your ancestors proved very adept at learning the phrase "Yassuh, Massuh!")

Remember, conservatives are colorblind.

The Crack Emcee said...

richard mcenroe,

"Crack, why do you leave the part out where blacks vote overwhelmingly for the party that did just that?"

Martin Luther King told blacks to abandon The Republican Party - specifically for racial reasons.

Am I leaving that out, or the Republicans who lie and regularly try to imply MLK supports them in their battle against blacks and "race hustlers" like him?

Am I leaving out the Republican Party's adoption of the racist Southern Strategy - or are the Republicans? That (plus MLK's admonition) could help explain black voting patterns, couldn't it?

Or am I leaving something out?

Like the Republican Party's recent admission it has a race problem after Romney loss? Could that, plus the Southern Strategy, PLUS Martin Luther King's leadership, have something to do with it?

And is it I who is trying not to include this in our history and dialogue - or those standing in defiance to blacks as some always have historically?

Who have those people been, BTW?

The willingness of those in The Republican Party to pretend this is not the true story of the last 50 years compounds the problem for all of us.

Why white Republicans aren't talking about THAT - and not changing the subject until they understand it - is the real question.

B said...

I suggest Ta Nehisi Coates and the Crazy Street Corner Guy Off His Meds go to the south side of Chicago Irish bars where many of the clientele still have enlistment tintypes of ancestors in Union blue who never made it home.

Try to start a guilt trip there and see what it gets you.

BDNYC said...

While accusing me of leaving out the post-Civil War oppression of blacks, Crack ignores the other half of my argument, i.e., the decades of preferential treatment showered on blacks by guilty whites.

If blacks get reparations now for what happened to them in past centuries, then maybe my descendents will have cause to receive reparations in the future. The precedent will be set.

Here's an interesting idea. The government should get out of the race business entirely.

tim in vermont said...

Even the Chinese can't afford to lend us 100 trillion dollars that we would never be able to pay back.

2.5 * 40 = 100
1 million * 1 million = 1 trillion

100 trillion dollars.

US GDP is what? 15.68 trillion?

These are the kind of reparations that Germany was required to repay that led to a world war.

"This resulted in the Young Plan that established the total German reparation requirements at 112 billion marks (26.3 billion dollars) and created a schedule of payments that would see Germany complete payments by 1988. With the collapse of the German economy in 1931, reparations were suspended for a year and then in 1932 cancelled altogether during the Lausanne Conference. In total, between 1919 and 1932, Germany paid less than 21 billion marks in reparations.

The German people saw reparations as a national humiliation,"

Who would have ever thought that reparations could lead to economic collapse?

mrs.e said...

I took Coate’s analogy to the recovering alcoholic as drawing parallels in psychological denial. I believe a group can be in denial, as much as the individual. There’s much to learn about ourselves through humility – be searching, fearless and listen – acknowledge the past, don’t regret, but dammit, learn from it. His ‘reparations’ conversation sounds like a request for an amends – problem is it’s hard to get the attention of a drunk.

B said...

Damnedest thing is that blacks, native or immigrant, who down the years have taken advantage of opportunities and worked hard do seem to have money, get ahead, and pass that success and work ethic onto their descendents.

They may take any 'reparation' money handed to them - who wouldn't take money for noting - but would resent like hell the idea that they couldn't make it without it.

BDNYC said...

"It's imaginative but ultimately specious — and dangerous — to think of the nation as a person."

That is, of course, the basic principle of fascism and its ideological cousin, corporatism. Once you start thinking of the whole country as a single organism, the government becomes the brain which directs all the actions of the body's other parts ... for the good of the corpus.

MayBee said...

Women couldn't vote slavery into being, and in great part couldn't own any. So as a woman, I don't think I should have to pay.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Once you start thinking of the whole country as a single organism, the government becomes the brain which directs all the actions of the body's other parts ... for the good of the corpus.

And you also-- to return to my earlier point-- reduce to nonsense the very idea of reparations, which obviously requires at least two people, one paying and one receiving. If the whole country is one person, what purpose does it serve for him to have his left pocket pay reparations to his right pocket?

cassandra lite said...

I thought Obama's election and reelection were reparations. That's all I'm in for. And if the growing racial divide in this country caused by his presidency is any indication--and it is--there are unintended consequences galore of reparations proper.

Chef Mojo said...

The same way we feel now but with money - because that's how we're treated, now, but without.

Well then, Crack. That brings it all back to square one. So you'll have money. For how long? But the hatred and resentment will be stronger and far more virulent. All those black multimillionaires? Up against the wall, motherfuckas, come the revolution or rebellion.

You'll be wishing and praying for the good ole days of Jim Crow, if that comes about. Think it can't happen here?

Careful what you wish for, Crack.

tim in vermont said...

I have to agree with Garage on one of the few occasions, but some of the racism on this tread is pretty disgusting.

Freeman Hunt said...

Women have been oppressed longer than any individual race. Feel free to send us money as your guilt leads you.

Skyler said...

Reparations are a violation of the Corruption of Blood clause in the Constitution.

That argument makes at least as much sense as the one offered, anyway.

Mike Lang said...

Everyday we get farther and farther away from the past and its injustices and in turn the rare possibility
of granting reparations move farther and farther away from ever occuring. Coates needs to give up his bleating. It is boring.

Freeman Hunt said...

A billion dollars per woman would be good. I arrived at this number by imaging how cool it would be to have a billion dollars.

tim in vermont said...

http://activistteacher.blogspot.com/2013/01/calculated-minimum-reparation-due-to.html

The above link is to a more reasonable number of merely 60 trillion dollars.

"The latter one-time payment would be easy for the USA to make, since its annual GDP is $15 trillion. (Think of a wealthy person's annual salary relative to buying a house in a safe neighbourhood.) The USA would not even need to sell any assets to achieve this modest payment."

The guy doesn't even spell like an American.

And he continues:

"Yup, the same minimal reparation calculation can be applied to any group or individual (and their descendants) whose labor has been stolen by not paying a fair value for the labor, under circumstances where the "value" is determined by the powerful buyer of the labor rather than via a just negotiation on a level negotiating field. "

There is no end to where this logic can go.

Meade said...

Shouting Thomas said...
"Go ahead and put $2.5 million in Crack's hands."

$2.5 million in Crack's hand would be a good investment. He's smart, very talented, moral, and hard working.

tim in vermont said...

" problem is it’s hard to get the attention of a drunk."

LOL. I love these kinds of analogies that people who are trying to force their own way of thinking on others use to describe people who think differently.

hombre said...

I never owned a slave and three of my ancestors died while fighting for the North during the Civil War along with thousands of others who perished, at least in part, to end slavery.

In the city where I spent my working life, African-Americans were about 10% of the population and allegedly committed more than a third of the reported crime. There and elsewhere they also collected a vastly disproportionate share of welfare in all its various forms.

When reparation time comes, Crack, any chance of getting an offset for lack of involvement, services and deaths rendered, victimization suffered or prepayment?

Michael said...

tim in vermont

The 100 trillion dollar number is one that happens to equal 2.5 million for each of the 40 million blacks in this country. The inputs were backwards engineered. Rather like a global warming model where you start with the answer and work backwards.

I have asked a couple of times what number would be acceptable but none has been forthcoming. I suppose we could poll the black population and see what number each member would find acceptable as reparations. Coates would not like the answer we got. Neither would Crack.

Sorun said...

"But they won't have it for long, because those tricky white men will steal it back!"

The money comes from the Chinese, and ultimately ends up in my pocket. I now think I'm in favor of reparations.

hombre said...

Wow! I missed this part.

Crack: "And then, a mere decade later, the racists reversed everything Americans died for - why do you leave that part out?"

"Everything?"

He left it out because it is stupid, hyperbolic bullshit!

CWJ said...

Andrew,

I'm sure this comment will be lost in the flood, but I read the article and it only reinforced my comment near the top of the thread. If your point was to get people to see that Coates' argument was even less rigorously reasoned than Althouse's post presents him, you succeeded.

Mike Lang said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paul Zrimsek said...

There is indeed much to learn about ourselves through humility. I learned that I'm not only humble, but searching and fearless as well. You'll learn that you're drunk.

Larry Nelson said...

The black man in America has a larger cross to bear than others, no doubt.
The legacy of slavery will curse this nation long past those tribes that enslave the same race.
Black race hustlers and white bigots need each other.
Meanwhile, reasonable people will get along.

BigFire said...

I arrived in America in 1980. My ancestors are in Taiwan. What have I or my ancestors ever done to any slaves in America?

Meade said...

Come to think of it, $2.5 million invested in Crack would be a bargain.

Rusty said...

$2.5 million in Crack's hand would be a good investment.

It'll be gone in two years and back in the hands of those that gave it to him.


's smart, very talented, moral, and hard working.


And displays poor judgement.

Michael said...

Meade:

Outstanding! You go first. Pay off Crack and then the rest of us can negotiate our own deals on a one by one basis.

I think the "invested" is the part you are missing here.

Gahrie said...

2.5 million in Crack's hand would be a good investment. He's smart, very talented, moral, and hard working

Thern why is he such a pathetic loser?

Oh I know...White racism!

CWJ said...

Meade@2:25,

Great! Give him the money or help him get a loan. Perhaps you've already done so, then kudos to you.

Otherwise, you realy ought to study for your series 7 before giving investment advise of this scale to ofhers.

chickelit said...

Reparations = malice towards all and charity for none.

Chef Mojo said...

@Meade:

Do you consider those of us that argue against Crack to be immoral?

AJ Lynch said...

It could make for a damn funny movie plot....how long would it take for Crack to blow his $2.5 Million? Does most of his money end up in Rich Whitey's hands?

DrSquid said...

I find the serious discussion of reparations for slavery very troubling. Coates' harrowing article of the countless privations of black Americans both slave and free is certainly compelling. Still the response of virtually every commenter that followed denounces the idea that repayment the descendants of slaves is necessary or justified. The troubling part is that the issue--and Coates' piece is certainly the most cogent argument I've ever read in favor of it--just never seems to go away. It seems like it only needs a slight impetus, say from a credible and respected authority on race issues to become mainstream. When rejection of the notion of reparations is viewed as evidence of a closed mind, or sign of poorly disguised racism, be ready to breakout your checkbook and sing your grateful praise to those who have devised a way to alleviate your white guilt. Could BHO, Eric Holder, the congressional black caucus, Father Pfluger and a host of others not wheedle this idea into the national conscience. Hammer away at it until support for reparations becomes the de riguer badge of honor of all true progressives. I sure hope not, but then I also thought the idea of gay marriage was preposterous, until all of a sudden it wasn't.

The Coates article needs to refuted loudly and forcefully, and not just by the followers of a fairly obscure blog. We need the national conversation alright, but not with the self-selected moderators we are getting.

chickelit said...

I take all these renewed attempts to stir-up racial division as evidence the left believes Obama and the Democrats are in deep shit the next couple of election cycles.

This. And I'd add that that the Crack-Nehisis among us sense that Obama may actually be the last black President for some time and that the time is now or never for the big shakedown.

CWJ said...

Mrs.e@1:28

I think your comment and Coates' article reflect what I perceive as the latest version of keeping guilt alive. Namely, that we somehow don't know the evils committed in the past. If people have somehow worked out the problem, then equally somehow they must have never known that the problem existed. Awareness and ribbons (black?) must be raised/worn.

We can each pick our analogies, but for me a healing wound seems more appropriate. Its healing. We can't have that. Better pick at the scar before its too late.

Hyphenated American said...

Does it mean that Africa needs to pay back all the money that it got for selling slaves? How about reparations from Africa to slaves sold to America? Should I assume that Barack Obama will be forced to pay reparations for his Kenyan relatives to American blacks?

Don't forget to ask crack what he thinks about the responsibility of black Africa for American slavery. This is the question that shuts him up. Without black slaveholders in Africa, there would have been no black slaves in America.

chickelit said...

Michael said...
Crack

So what is the number? What dollar amount to you would be considered adequate in reparations?

Don't need a speech, just a dollar amount.


He already said the whole Treasury.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

There used to be talk on Guam about paying reparations to the civilian survivors of WWII who suffered during the Japanese occupation. I am sorry they suffered, but as a representative of the families of Marines and soldiers who died on the reef recapturing the island, let me be the first to tell their greedy-ass grandchildren to fuck right off.

jr565 said...

.this whole integration project is turning into a failure.blacks want to talk about reparations. Social programs are reparations.how many trillions have been pumped I to propping up the black community, and they're still tslking about 40 acres and a mule?
And I suppose of they fell behind on the bills of their 40 acres America is to blame and would have to cough up the bucks because of our past sins. Its a never ending shake down.

jr565 said...

Let's give blacks 40 acres and then turn over the land to the Indians. Why do only blacks get reparations.

Michael K said...

"Like the Republican Party's recent admission it has a race problem after Romney loss?"

The GOP race problem is stupidity of a group that votes for the people who recruit illegal aliens to compete for low wage jobs and who encourage the abortion of 70% of black pregnancies.

A growing number, still small, of blacks are figuring that out. https://www.facebook.com/RMBTP?fref=nf

Ann Althouse said...

For those of you who are relying on the old argument that you (or your ancestors) did not own slaves, you're revealing that you didn't read the article. Coates is not arguing for reparations for slavery alone. He's talking about much more recent history. Reject his argument if you like, but show that you understand what his argument is.

Brando said...

Coates describes in detail the atrocities suffered by blacks in this country going back to the slavery days, but I don't think any of that is really up for debate--I'm not aware of any serious person who argues that this sort of thing didn't happen regularly. But he doesn't make a case for reparations as a remedy for this.

What would be useful is a piece on how today's blacks can overcome their obstacles, perhaps with a comparison to how other ethnic groups have prospered in this country, how the experiences of America's blacks has been different, and how that difference can be overcome. Perhaps a thoughtful critique of the activist government solutions (more programs, targeted funding, etc.) and the libertarian ones (increased business incentives, free market solutions), or even a suggestion of a third way.

Instead, Coates goes to reparations (I suspect as clickbait for his article) which are unworkable and not justified in this day and age. Most proponents of reparations aren't even talking about taking money from some people directly and giving it to others directly, but rather they're just arguing for a vast increase in welfare spending as if that will somehow be the one welfare program that will actually lift the poor out of poverty.

It's time to drop that subject and come up with something better. Three generations since racial discrimination has been outlawed, and the stats for Black America are abysmal. How many more generations have to suffer under the cheap opiates of race hustlers?

jr565 said...

Think of the economic stimulus! All that money would be spent in the economy. What's the multiplier? 2.0? 3.0? The economy would boom! And the tax receipts! Money rolling into the Treasury. Paul Krugman should get right on this.

hmm! wait a second. Lets offer black reparations in return for ending social programs. Paying for reparations might cost less than continuing welfare and Medicare. So, we pay them and tell them this is all you're ever going out get. You pay your way for EVERYTHING with that 2 million dollars. And give them the choice.
We often hear how the southerners are crazy talking about succession, but isn't this call from the cracks of the world basically that. They don't want to deal with white people and the white mans world. If it requires a payout to get them out then pay it and get them out.
Only please shut up going forward.
If you get your money, you are restricted from working in any company that has white people. Back to separate but equal, only this time it would be a self imposed exile. And let's see how they do.
We can also set up a wall to setup around the territory to protect the Uncle Tom negroes who don't want to stay or have done well for themselves. And let's see what group does better.

OR, stop complaining and get by in the modern world like everybody else.

Paul Zrimsek said...

It could make for a damn funny movie plot....how long would it take for Crack to blow his $2.5 Million?

Working title: Uncle Tom's Cabin Cruiser.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Coates starts off with a quote from Deuteronomy regarding how a slave owner should compensate his slave after six years of service. Oddly enough, God forgot to mention anything about the state of Israel, or the Jewish people, having a responsibility to compensate the slave or the slave's descendants for the evils of slavery. Guess it must have slipped God's mind.

Michael said...

Professor:

I read and understand his argument completely. But Coates is no more willing to say what the amount of reparations should be than any other commentator. The $100 trillion number bandied about is equal to $2.5M per black in the U.S.

Now perhaps as a lawyer you believe this to be a good strategy, putting out a number that big. But the average median income in the US is a bit over $50,000. So, good luck with that negotiating technique.

So what is the number? Who has the skills to compute an actual amount of money that would satisfy the need to be satisfied?

The total net worth of all in the US is 80 Trillion.

So I will ask again if there is a number.

I hope you are not in pari pass with your husband on the $2.5M to Crack.

Austin said...

Coates doesn't have anything even remotely resembling a sensible or coherent argument. His piece is desultory and illogical, and he seems to be demanding compensatory damages for some sort of amorphous claim of racism. If his argument is to be taken seriously, then he should have provided a complete accounting of the social costs of the African-American population. I, for one, would welcome such an accounting..

tim in vermont said...

The Soviet Union was an experiment in reparations to the Russian serfs who were also essentially slaves owned by the Aristocrats.

It only made sense to take back the value of the labor stolen by the Russian upper classes.

Funny how these things work out.

Fernandinande said...

"The Case for Reparations."

I hope nobody has to show an ID.

eric said...

"$2.5 million in Crack's hand would be a good investment. He's smart, very talented, moral, and hard working."

One is left wondering why someone so smart, talented and hard working would need 2.5 million. Maybe he is quite young? Otherwise, he ought to have earned it himself by now.

gregq said...

"No one who is to be taken seriously opposes the high level abstraction that is racial equality."

Glad to hear it. Of course, that means that almost no member of the Left "is to be taken seriously". Because no one who talks about "privilege", or "racism is about power, not skin color" believes in, or desires, "racial equality." They want everyone judged by their skin color, and they do not want that ever to change. And they most certainly do not want to see everyone treated equally.

MayBee said...

For those of you who are relying on the old argument that you (or your ancestors) did not own slaves, you're revealing that you didn't read the article.
=====

The "old" argument. As if it's no longer valid.

His new case is rejected with the same logic.

Besides, how many groups can look back at bad histories and wish the past were different? Wish for reparations as a way to change the past or make it hurt less?
Think about all the men drafted into military service over the century of the draft. They had their families, lives, health, and often futures ripped away from them without their choosing.
You think men who fought in WW1 weren't royally ripped off from a huge part of their lives for no good reason? Are they getting reparations? No. Because their families have moved forward.
What about women, who couldn't vote or own property and until relatively recently died in childbirth trying to populate this nation?
Or Japanese and Germans thrown into internment camps, their possessions taken away by their own government (not even a rip off artist).
Are they getting reparations?
No. Because they have moved on.
Think about the persecuted Jews, the holocaust survivors, the Lost Boys, the Somallis and Sudanese who come from *other* places of persecution and use this country as a place to move on?

Successful people and groups do not wallow in this kind of backwards look, hoping for some payment that will put the past right. They know it can't happen, and move forward.

Archie said...

I don't care about Blacks. Signing off.

Meade said...

Paul Zrimsek said...
"It could make for a damn funny movie plot....how long would it take for Crack to blow his $2.5 Million?

Working title: Uncle Tom's Cabin Cruiser."

lol.

Characters:

President-Mom-Jeambo and Shouting Thombo – slaves of Theodore Bilbo-Legree who act as overseers of the plantation. On orders from Bilbo-Legree, they savagely whip Tom/Crack but afterward tearfully repent of their deeds to Tom/Crack, who forgives them as he speeds off and gets away from them, calling out, "SO LONG, SUCKERS!" while reaching a top speed of 120 km/h.

MayBee said...

Oh, and I didn't do these things to any of these groups. My family alive today wouldn't have supported any of these things being done.
What say did I have, or we have, back then, to keep them from happening?

khesanh0802 said...

exheldorf said : "The UK is responsible for a significant portion of this, since they were in charge until 1783." Great point!

I am truly fed up with the "whinging" of permanent victims - many of whom are college educated and well employed.

Ralph Hyatt said: "Hmong, Iranian, Mexican, Chinese, Japanese, Cuban, Venezuelan, Puerto Rican, Thai, Iraqi, etc immigrants are likely to say "Hell No!" ". He left out the Irish and the Italians and probably a few more.

MayBee said...

I think people who complain about privilege live a life in which they imagine other people's lives are much easier than they really are.

Original Mike said...

"The outcome of all of the Crack math is $2,500,000 per each of the 40 million blacks in the US."

That's roughly $1,000,000 for every non-black tax return filed in the U.S. No problemo.

Titus said...

I am a gay and I was beat up when I was young.

I think 10 mill would help me.

thanks and tits.

Clayton Hennesey said...

Ann Althouse said...

For those of you who are relying on the old argument that you (or your ancestors) did not own slaves, you're revealing that you didn't read the article. Coates is not arguing for reparations for slavery alone. He's talking about much more recent history. Reject his argument if you like, but show that you understand what his argument is.


Really, why? Why takes Coates seriously enough at all to even read his article? Other than for professional blogging and comment generating purposes, of course.

To read his article is to immediately buy into the tacit assumption being advanced that one might be guilty of something that requires paying Coates and others money, which one will come to understand clearly and accept if one but reads his article and gives him click-credibility.

I'd like to claim offhand instead that everyone here owes me money for...uh..."triggering" me, yeah, that's it. To close the sale on yourself, you should read my brief online white paper, complete with my PayPal button, here ---> ( ).( ) Reject my entreaty if you will, but at least give me the satisfaction of having intimidated you into reading it.

Thanks, suckers.

Otherwise, my attorney will inform me in due course if Coates really has any sort of claim on me. Until then, life is short, and there are better things to do with one's time...like determining if those giving Coates the time of day have equally seducible wives or daughters.

Here's the short, serious answer, Althouse. Why not bother with Coates? Because some ideas, such as jumping off roofs, are conceptually rejectable a priori.

campy said...

"Reject his argument if you like, but show that you understand what his argument is."

I can sum up his argument in one word:

GIMME!!!

President-Mom-Jeans said...

Taking shots but deleting my comments asking why you don't have your mealticket use some of the money that pays for your room and board to Crack instead?

Tsk Tsk Meade.

Phil said...

Can't believe nobody has brought up Chapelle's take on reparations yet.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fg6J1Skptbs

Mike said...

Just a note to people who haven't read the article: Coates talks about slavery, but he's mostly focused on the post-slavery discrimination: Jim Crow, racial terror in the south, redlining, contract mortgages that destroyed what little black wealth there was. There is a lot more to this than just slavery. I disagree with his conclusions, but it's a must-read if you're going to understand the racial history of this country.

The biggest weakness is that he ignores the last 40 years when we have had policies that tried to effectively make reparations. These programs either did nothing or made things worse.

Lydia said...

Freeman Hunt said...Women have been oppressed longer than any individual race. Feel free to send us money as your guilt leads you.

I'm with Freeman -- if we're doing reparations, give them to women, too.

One example of that oppression: The 16th Amendment, which says "the right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude," was ratified in 1870.

But it didn't include women. We didn't get that right until the 19th Amendment was ratified in 1920.

Big Mike said...

Well, the antebellum slave owners were essentially 100% members of the Democrat party (especially including its founder, Thomas Jefferson).

The KKK in the post Civil War era was essentially 100% Democrat.

The people who promulgated and enforced Jim Crow were predominantly Democrats.

And anyone willing to look at the situation seriously must conclude, as Daniel Patrick Moynihan did, that the ills of the modern inner cities are primarily due to the built-in flaws and unintended consequences of LBJ's "Great Society."

So there is only one logical conclusion. Reparations are due only from people who are, or ever have been, registered Democrats.

Phil said...

Can't believe nobody has brought up Chapelle's take on reparations yet.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fg6J1Skptbs

n.n said...

Not only collective sin, but inherited sin. These are doctrines of a degenerate religion.

That said, Coates should look to his own party to recognize his lost dowry.

tim in vermont said...

Imagine if we could redress all of the wrongs done by "fallible humans" as Coates describes us, with a simple award of cash borrowed with no intention of repayment.

Let's say we awarded every black man woman and child their fair share of 100 trillion dollars in an up front payments. Can you imagine the inflation that would result immediately? Whites would benefit disproportionately as homeowners, I could go on and on.

But we can't let that happen, it wouldn't be fair, so we would have to institute price controls to prevent it, just like in Venezuela, to take a recent case.

I can't see how any approach but targeted assistance to those needing it, not based on race, is even remotely tenable. In other words, we continue to muddle through and try stuff, to see what works.

jr565 said...

How about this? instead of reparations everyone who is in need gets a one time payment of 1 million dollars. And this will last you ten years. And then the federal govt stops all spending on social programs for ten years. Then ten years from now we revisit it and see who needs payment.
We'd probably save money considering the amount we're spending.
And with that million you have to pay for food clothing shelter, health care. If you blow it on drugs or lottery tickets you are shit out of luck. No social programs.

The money is negotiable of course, it could be less than a million. But the point being give people money instead of having govt waste it on social programs.

Unknown said...

"The wealth gap merely puts a number on something we feel but cannot say—that American prosperity was ill-gotten and selective in its distribution."

Prosperity was distributed. First time I've ever heard that. Unless you're talking lottery.

MarkD said...

Any more government help, and African Americans would be extinct. There's your reason.

B said...

I need to establish a solid paper trail indicating that I have african-american blood in me to some believable percentage. Not the whimsical faucahontas style of Liz Warren's Cherokeenish, but manufacture some solid documentation starting now. Then if the race hustlers like Coates and Sharpton et al and the black racists like the Crazy Street Corner Guy Off His Meds succeed in selling the country further down the river as far as race relations go I'll be well positioned to get a piece of the pie.

It's never a bad idea to be make a few bucks leveraging the scam rather than be one of those fleeced.

broomhandle said...

"I don't care about Blacks. Signing off."

As individuals, yes. All men are brothers.

As an endlessly aggrieved group looking for another handout. No, go fuck yourselves.

tim in vermont said...

Or we could pay them in bitcoins. I am sure the NSA could put together some supercomputers that could mine those things at the kind of rates needed.

I think the only practical solution would be a huge grant of federal land, with the resources under it, of course assuming that there are no prior claims to it, cough cough.

Austin said...

That's the 15th amendment, not the 16th.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Reparations would mean the end of scarfing hot dogs on the Fourth of July while denying the facts of our heritage.

Independence Day joins the 9/11 memorial on the list of things that are defiled by the presence of food.

RJ said...

If this gets traction, you could do well by investing in the makers of Thunderbird and
Night Train "wine".

ALP said...

"Reparations beckons us to reject the intoxication of hubris and see America as it is—the work of fallible humans..."
************
Oh where to start with THAT sentence, one designed to ensure I don't click through to read what else the author has to say? He is clearly writing to an audience he feels is so naive, stupid and gullible as to believe the US is the work of...what, spirit-like being that descended from on high, took on human form, and created this country? Yeah, I need this guy to point out to me that humans are fallible. No shit. It incredibly condescending; whenever an author writes something that essentially says "I am writing this for you, complete idiot" - it stops me cold and I pass on the rest of the article.

William said...

Obama is against reparations, but his position is evolving.......Of all the mistreated people in the world in the last one hundred years, I don't think American blacks qualify as the most exceptionally I'll treated.

rcocean said...

As usual I found TNC's article impossible to understand. Blah, Blah, blah. Few ideas - many, many words.

Lots of "Wow, Blacks sure were mistreated back then". The mistreatment more or less stopped about 50 years ago. So no one under 68 y/o had any adult responsibility in it.

And I'm always struck by his blinkered white/black thinking. I'm sure TNC is an "open borders guy", so maybe he should actually look up the current demographics of the USA. We got millions of Hispanics/Asians/White Immigrants from all over the world. TNC has nothing to say to them - its not 1965 anymore.

exhelodrvr1 said...

So it is never permissible to draw negative conclusions from demographic information that uses ethnicity as a parameter, right?

Scott said...

It's almost pointless to comment on a thread this long, because anything you write gets drowned out in the noise. But anyway...

It is a tour de force of willful blindness for Ta-Nehisi Coates to write an entire article about the wrongs meted out on Black people while surgically removing the political context of those injustices. Yet it's so necessary for him to do this ridiculous task, because Coates knows that if you tell the whole truth, you cannot avoid acknowledging that historically the Democrats were the the perpetrators of the biggest injustices.

And that is one truth that a Black man in America today cannot write, without receiving fierce retribution from the very same party. How ironic.

I don't know if that is something that I should pity Coates for not being able to tell the truth, or scorn him for perpetuating the myth of the non-involvement of Democrats in the suffering of his people. It would be more honorable for him to be teaching English at a community college somplace.

whswhs said...

If we are going to have reparations to black people on account of their ancestors having been owned as slaves by white people, are we going to take steps to ensure that the white people who pay the reparations are descendants of slaveowners? The part of my ancestry I know about is New Hampshire; there weren't a lot of slaveowners in Hew Hampshire.

Are we going to make sure that the reparations go only to black people whose ancestors were slaves, and for that matter American slaves? For example, if anyone owes Barack Obama reparations, it's the colonial government of Kenya, or the British Empire, or the British crown. Likewise black people whose ancestors immigrated from former British colonies in the Caribbean.

What happens with someone whose parents were of different races, as is becoming increasingly common? Do they pay into reparations for their white ancestors, and collect them for their black ancestors?

For that matter, why are we talking only about reparations to black people? Both whites and blacks are living on land that used to be occupied by Native Americans, until they were expelled from it by force. Should everyone in Georgia by paying reparations for the Trail of Tears?

Anglo-American law is full of measures to limit how far back we try to correct the wrongs of the past: Statutes of limitations, adverse possession laws, bankruptcy laws, and so on. And there are good reasons for that: Not only the impossible complexity of resolving those issues, but the burden that the attempt to do so imposes. The law is a device for enabling us to live at peace with each other; it's not a way of attaining justice on a cosmic scale.

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