Writer Ta-Nehisi Coates Makes the Case for Reparations at Historic Congressional Hearing



this is democracy now democracynow.org the war and peace report I'm Amy Goodman and I'm not mean che welcome to our listeners and viewers around the country and around the world on Wednesday a subcommittee of the House Judiciary held a historic hearing on reparations for slavery the first of its kind in over a decade Wednesday's hearing coincided with Juneteenth a day that commemorates June 19 1865 when slaves in Galveston Texas finally learned that the Emancipation Proclamation had abolished slavery this year marks the 400th anniversary of the transatlantic slave trade lawmakers are considering a bill titled the Commission to study and develop reparation proposals for african-americans Act the bill was introduced by Democratic Representative Sheila jackson-lee of Houston this year after former Congress member John Conyers had championed the bill for decades without success the bill carries the designation H R 40 a reference to 40 acres and a mule one of the nation's first broken promises to newly freed slaves ahead of the hearing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was asked by reporter Eva Mack end of spectrum news whether the government should issue a public apology for slavery reparations for something that happened 150 years ago for whom none of us currently living or responsible is a good idea we've you know tried to deal with our original sin of slavery by fighting a civil war by passing landmark civil rights legislation we've elected an african-american president I think we're always a work in progress in this country no one currently alive was responsible for that and I don't think we should be trying to figure out how to compensate for it first of all would be pretty hard to figure out who to compensate we've had waves of immigrants as well have come to the country and experienced dramatic discrimination of one kind or another so no I don't think reparations are a good idea that was Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell well on Wednesday the award-winning author ton AHA C Coates testified at the historic congressional hearing on reparations and took direct aim at McConnell yesterday when asked about reparations Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell offered a familiar reply America should not be held liable for something that happened 150 years ago since none of us currently alive are responsible this rebuttal proffers a strange theory of governance that American accounts are somehow bound by the lifetime of its generations but well into this century the United States was still paying out pensions to the heirs of Civil War soldiers we honor treaties that date back some 200 years despite no one being alive who signed those treaties many of us would love to be taxed for the things we are solely and individually responsible for but we are American citizens and thus abound to a collective enterprise that extends beyond our individual and personal reach it would seem ridiculous to dispute invitations of the founders or the greatest generation on the basis of a lack of membership in either group we recognize our lineage as a generational trust as inheritance and the real dilemma posed by reparations is just that a dilemma of inheritance it is impossible to imagine America without the inheritance of slavery as historian ed Baptist is written enslavement quote shaped every crucial aspect of the economy and politics of America so that by 1836 more than 600 million most half of the economic activity in the United States derived directly or indirectly from the cotton produced by the million odd slaves by the time the insulator were emancipated they comprised the largest single asset in America three billion in 1860 dollars more than all the other assets in the country combined the method of cultivating this asset was neither gentle cajoling nor persuasion but torture rape and child trafficking enslavement reigned for 250 years on these shores when it ended this country could have extended its hallowed principles life liberty and the pursuit of happiness to all regardless of color but America had other principles in mind and so forth century after the Civil War black people were subjected to a relentless campaign of terror a campaign that extended well into the lifetime of majority leader McConnell it is tempting to divorce this modern campaign of terror of plunder from enslavement but the logic of enslavement of white supremacy respects no such borders and the god of bondage was lustful and begat Meniere's coup d'etats and convict leasing vagrancy laws and debt peonage redlining and racist GI bills poll taxes and state state-sponsored terrorism we grant that mr. McConnell was not alive for Appomattox but he was alive for the electrocution of George Stinney he was alive for the blinding of Isaac Woodward he was alive to witness khakhra see in his native Alabama and a regime premise on electoral fact Majority Leader McConnell cited civil rights legislation yesterday as well he should because he was alive to witness the harassment jailing and betrayal of those responsible for that legislation by a government sworn to protect them he was alive for the red lining of Chicago and the looting of black homeowners of some four billion dollars victims of that plunder are very much alive today I am sure they'd love a word with the majority leader what they know what this committee must know is that while emancipation dead-bolted the door against the bandits of America Jim Crow wedged the windows wide open and that is the thing about Senator McConnell's something it was 150 years ago and it was right now the typical black family in this country has one-tenth the wealth of the typical white family black women died at childbirth at four times the rate of white women and there is of course the shame of this land of the free boasting the largest prison population on the planet of which the descendants of the enslaved make up the largest share the matter of reparations is one of making amends and direct redress but it is also a question of citizenship in HR 40 this body has a chance to both make good on its 2009 apology for enslavement and reject fair-weather patriotism to say that a nation is both its credits and it's debits that if Thomas Jefferson matters so does Sally Hemings that if d-day matters so does black Wall Street that if Valley Forge matters so does Fort Pillow because the question really is not whether we will be tied to the some things of our past but whether we are courageous enough to be tied to the hold of them thank you that was award-winning author Tallahassee Coates he was a leadoff witness before the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday his seminal 2014 essay the case for reparations helped spur new calls to make amends for slavery when we come back he joins us for the rest of the hour you

27 thoughts on “Writer Ta-Nehisi Coates Makes the Case for Reparations at Historic Congressional Hearing

  1. Negro cry babies always playing victims and race cards to get something for nothing. Bastards without fathers raised by prostitutes and soliciting drugs munching on welfare . They are already the burden of tax payers. Now they want another handouts. They claim slave ancestry while Caucasian blood is running through their veins. They're good for nothing and I am from Africa.NO REPARATION for these fools!!!

  2. Thanks Bro 🙏🏿
    Good Research. Reparations is Winning By Repairing Damage and Collecting the 40 Acres and a Mule Which we are Promised By The American Government because the People who are still Benefiting from the Proceeds Of Slavery and Theft Which Lead to Murder and Damage still felt by us as descendants of our Captured and Tortured Ancestors.
    Billy D Bignell
    Bignell TV 📺
    https://youtu.be/N_FAW6U5p5I

  3. If you want to talk about reparations talk about reparations for the Native Americans before anyone else.

  4. MC Cornell pulled that sorry excuse out of his sorry ass fact

  5. As a longtime Democracy Now listener and as a biracial African American/German American I would really like it if people like Barack Obama who is Irish American/African and Kamala Harris who is Tamil Indian/Jamaican were referred to as biracial instead of African American. I depend on Democracy Now to get details of news stories which other mainstream media often overlook or miss entirely and the case of racial mixing and blended families and the struggles and difficulties which our families go through is unique and due its own regard. In fact to say a biracial person is black or African American when in fact they have a parent of another race is simply another part of the Jim Crow "one drop rule" which has represented segregation and unfairness for a long time in American history. There are numerous YouTube videos which are talking about the effects of "colorism" in African American communities and when biracial or multiracial people are referred to as being Black how this negatively impacts both Black and Biracial people. I learned about colorism from a YouTube channel called "Chrissie" and she is like a voice in the wilderness calling out this seldom talked about and uncomfortable issue in our society which is about both blacks and whites considering and including mixed race people in the black community. Chrissie talks about how doing this creates confusion and eliminates dark skinned blacks especially dark skinned black women from being seen for who they are. She says because biracial people are incorrectly thought of and labeled as black by mainstream society that this takes the focus away from dark skinned black issues and problems unique to dark skinned black people and issues which include under-representation or inaccurate representation in most media. Chrissie who is a dark skinned black woman has numerous examples in mainstream media in which she clearly articulates using many examples how media over and over again categorizes and prefers biracial people to represent black when in fact this is not accurate and not the truth. Which is why I am hoping Democracy Now will pay attention to the use of words in describing accurately people of mixed race. So much of racial inequality is about hidden suffering and untruths being accepted by the mainstream as truth and as Chrissie proclaims we are long overdue to have this colorism discussion in society by blacks, whites and those of us who are biracial/multiracial.

  6. What a decrepit creature 'Mitch' boyo is, every time he opens his mouth my skin starts to crawl, no seriously, literally crawl, its an awful reaction I have, him and those other slavery deniers' slavery revisionists. We need to put laws in place just like those holacaust denial, we need to rip a new one for these inbred hicks and their slavery denial.

  7. So…. i have not read h.r 40 it would be great to have a link to the bill.

  8. Blacks in US are the luckiest blacks in the world.
    Geography and history of the world will help you to know but you are all f… idiots and love confrontation. made up history and destruction of your own country.

  9. Reparations are in order. Families of slaves should pay the families who sacrificed their property and family members lives freeing the slaves from Democrats. So yes, family decedents of slaves and Democrats should pay the descendants of Republicans and Independents who fought to free the slaves or suffered any losses as a result of the Civil War. How many trillions of dollars have been spent on LBJ's War on Poverty?
    Those Trillions spent and continue to be spent along with affirmative action are more than enough in terms of reparations.
    Now that money has been diverted by the Democrat to illegal aliens. The Democrats talk a good game but believe me, they have thrown African Americans under the border bus and this reparationsBS is simply an attempt to get you to vote for them one more time so they can take over for ever. They won't need you anymore after that and will make certain the abortion clinics reduce your carbon footprint for ever. You do know that Margaret Sanger started Planned Parenthood to eradicate you uncivil genetically inferior primates, don't you? Look it up!

    There are more ways than one to look at a topic and draw a conclusion. I don't believe the reparations topic is one we need to address in this day and age.

  10. Dumbest fkn reverse discriminatory thing I have ever heard! LMAO. I say pay em 1866 land value a dollar an acre and 12.50 for a good working mule.Grand total of 52.50. OMG cant stop laughing!

  11. The real black voices are being ignored and non decendants of slaves such are being elevated.

  12. America will never be able to afford the amount of money that should be paid to the descendants of African enslaved but they need to start with something, a whole lot of something to make amends. If you can give reparations to other Americans then you can hand out those reparations that should have been paid aloooooooong time ago. But reparations more than likely will not be paid in this lifetime because America is not finish with ripping black folks apart. You cannot apologize for what was done to the African people who were enslaved in this country Until you keep the promise that wasn’t kept or come close to it.

  13. The wealth of Jeff Bezos should be seized and redistributed it to the descendants of slaves!

  14. And the Jews want an apology from the Germans ,the English and Spanish need to apologise to to everyone,just in case they miss someone,..I'd suggest sorting out the racist system that is America in the present,.dwelling on the past serves no purpose.

  15. 90 year old buzzard bait and SOCIALIST Noam Chomsky reveals how the old-school ‘propaganda model’ still works to manufacture consent in the information age.
    And how's that turned out in Venezuela and the former Soviet Union? No examples were cited by this young "whippersnapper" 😎😨

  16. McConnell is a very direct beneficiary of the contributions of slaves, like trump who stiffs his laborers McConnell will stiff the black people whose labor provided his wealth, Blessings Love is the answer

  17. Blacks sold blacks to the Arabs… BEFORE the Whites came into the picture…

  18. it's high time America compensated Afrikan Americans and Naitive Americans…
    Let's also remember Chinese were enslaved as well in California.
    Mexicans are Naitive Americans as well..

  19. McTortoise might as well say that, "It's our Retropublican wet dream to nullify all past treaties and declarations. Such as the 1787 United States Constitution and the following Bill of Rights, and the Emancipation Proclamation, because no one alive today is responsible for any of that humanitarian garbage written and signed by the founders."

  20. What a great speech full of knowledge, research, counciousness and poetry. Great writer and cultural leader . Thank you Amy

  21. All one has to do is look at the faces around Mr. Glover to see how US Americans feel about Reparations…the one white guy in the audience appears to be very uncomfortable…IMO. #PayUpNow
    Hey McTurtle, the fact that "no one is alive now that's responsible…" is sheer RUBBISH, you know damn well that white US Americans have hugely benefited from Slavery, so to pretend that the issue is you're not responsible is a different point.

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