Coates Takes On McConnell Over Reparations Comments

"While emancipation deadbolted the door against the bandits of America, Jim Crow wedged the windows wide open." Listen to journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates's compelling response to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell about reparations. đź‘€

McConnell vs. Coates on Slavery Reparations

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made controversial comments about reparations for black Americans ahead of a Congressional hearing on the matter. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's remarks lately have been making headlines, but the latest may be the most controversial.

When asked about inequalities and reparations for slavery on the day before of a House hearing on the issue, McConnell said reparations "for something that happened 150 years ago, for whom none of us currently living are responsible," were not a good idea and the backlash, as it often happens with McConnell, came instantly. Further, he suggested acts, such as electing Barack Obama president, could be considered a form of compensation. McConnell was ironically Obama's chief adversary during his presidency. He once quipped that his top goal was to make Obama a one-term president and famously blocked Obama's nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court during the final “lame duck” year of his presidency.

At the hearing the next day, journalist and author of “The Case of Reparations” Ta-Nehisi Coates responded to the senator. “We grant that Mr. McConnell was not alive for Appomattox. But he was alive for the electrocution of George Stinny. He was alive for the blinding of Isaac Woodward. He was alive to witness kleptocracy in his native Alabama in a regime premised by electoral theft. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell cited civil rights legislation yesterday, as well he should, because he was alive to witness the jailing, harassment, and betrayal of those responsible for that legislation.”

While 68% of all U.S. society believe the descendants of slaves should not be compensated for the social and economic harm caused by the practice of slavery, 71% of Americans believe the legacy of slavery is a factor in the wealth gap between black and white Americans. To truly grow past slavery's legacy, Americans must accept both the good and bad truths of their history, according to Coates.