In a groundbreaking investigative report, The Atlantic’s Ta-Nehisi Coates tackles the controversial issue of reparations. Although Coates admits he once argued against reparations for African-Americans, he has since changed his mind after diving deeper into the intricacies of the Civil War, American history, housing discrimination, and white Supremacy.
According to Coates, his change in perspective occurred when he realized “enslavement [was] kind of a big deal—so much so that it is impossible to imagine America without it.”
In The Case for Reparations, Coates unleashes a 10 chapter, multimedia project that details how America has continuously failed to make amends for the horrific practice of slavery. The project connects Jim Crow era laws, redlining, and housing discrimination to the current tightrope many African-Americans face today in an effort to illustrate just how devastating slavery—and the decision not to compensate those affected by forced labor—has had on our nation.
While many have feverishly lobbied against any form of reparations, choosing instead to blame the ills of African-Americans on our “culture,” Coates asserts, “There is massive, overwhelming evidence for the proposition that white supremacy is the only thing wrong with black people,” and concludes, “Something more than moral pressure calls America to reparations. We cannot escape our history. All of our solutions to the great problems of health care, education, housing, and economic inequality are troubled by what must go unspoken. ‘The reason black people are so far behind now is not because of now,’ Clyde Ross told me. ‘It’s because of then.’”