An Open Letter to Ta-Nehisi Coates and the Liberals Who Love Him

Cedric Johnson in Jacobin:

Dear Friends,

Ta-Nehisi Coates recently criticized the Bernie Sanders campaign for Sanders’s pessimism regarding black reparations for slavery and Jim Crow segregation. When asked during a campaign event whether he would support reparations, Sanders responded with characteristic bluntness, saying that “its likelihood of getting through Congress is nil,” before adding that a push for formal reparations for slavery would be politically divisive.

Instead of reparations, Sanders argued,

what we should be talking about is making massive investments in rebuilding our cities, in creating millions of decent paying jobs, in making public colleges and universities tuition-free, basically targeting our federal resources to the areas where it is needed the most and where it is needed the most is in impoverished communities, often African American and Latino.

Sanders’s plan is part of his long-held political vision that sees a revitalized public sector as a lever to address the needs of the most submerged segments of the population through universal social policy. But Coates was not impressed. As the foremost proponent of reparations in recent memory, he viewed Sanders’s response as a fundamental weakness in the senator’s “political revolution.”

More here.