The big Ta-Nehisi Coates case for reparations has finally hit the web. A few weeks ago I made a soft case for reparations. By soft case, I mean a general nod in favor the argument. We have tried for at least two generations to relieve a certain segment of the white population of their unfounded guilt over slavery and discrimination. The only way to do that is to settle up with the blacks. At least that’s the it looks. We hammer out an agreement, write the checks and close the books on the issue for good.
The Coates story has been anticipated for a while, since he is the latest novelty on the circuit. Having read his blog for a while now, I expected it to be loaded up with fake erudition and he did not disappoint. Right out of the shoot we get a Biblical quote and a snippet from John Locke. Then the whole thing falls apart. Instead of making the case for why reparations will solve the problem, he spends thousands and thousands of words bitching and moaning about whitey and how rotten it is to be black in America. Anyone over the age of ten has heard it all before and has no interest in hearing it again. Coates took the lazy way out.
It’s not just laziness, it is cowardice. Look, reparations in the abstract are easy to argue. It is when you get to nut-cutting that things get tough. How much does each black person get? How do we determined who is eligible? Who pays? How do we figure that out? More important, how do we then de-construct the previous efforts at reparations like affirmative action? That’s tough and it takes skill to make the case. It also takes a degree of honesty not popular in the comfy lefty confines Coates enjoys these days.
I’ve posited that Coates is really just a grifter. He’s not well read or educated, but he knows how to game liberal elites into giving him stuff. He reads enough to drop references and book titles with some skill. That pleases SWPL types. He does the authentic black guy bit by living in Harlem (the gentrified part) and posing as a hostile black man. He’s checking off all the boxed for his benefactors. This article is aimed at them. It allows them to weep and wallow in their self-inflicted misery. They get to feel good over feeling bad about their privilege. They can now chatter about at the faculty get together, signaling their piety to one another without actually doing anything to earn it.
In another era, black people had a word for guys like Coates.