Tuesday, July 29, 2014

My TL;DR on Ta-Nehisi Coates' Reparations Article

Despite many policy disagreements, there is not a writer of social commentary in America I respect and admire more than Ta-Nehisi Coates. I cannot recommend strongly enough that you read his article on reparations in the Atlantic.

That said, I disagree with seeking reparations for black Americans and slave descendants, but not because I disagree with Coates's argument of desert. In fact, I agree that America owes black Americans far more than it has given to date:
Historical, anecdotal, and statistical evidence strongly suggest that blacks, particularly poor blacks, have and continue to disproportionately suffer from police brutality and aggressive (and often, illegal) tactics. In recent years, primarily through the drug war, these behaviors—once primarily limited to inner cities and black neighborhoods—have bled into white enclaves and onto college campuses.

Given the statistical correlation between first contact with the court system and future socio-economic outcomes, particularly among people of color, a serious rethink of our current law enforcement regimes—from laws to funding to procedures governing police contact with the general public—is among the most pressing issues facing young black men in America today. To me, this is of far more pressing importance to American blacks than whether Coates and I each receive a check from the government for the past disadvantages inflicted upon our families.
My response is long, but that's because I think Coates is absolutely correct to say that America's lack of understanding of how it has treated its black citizens--and thus, its fundamental misunderstanding of itself--plagues our present and future. That must change, but I don't think a political and social movement to remedy that is the best way to fix the problems it has caused.

bellum medicamenti delenda est

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