Journalist and writer Ta-Nehisi Coates is taking a stand against injustices in America. Yesterday (June 19), Civil Rights and Civil Liberties held a hearing about H.R. 40, a proposal from Representative Sheila Jackson Lee that would issue a national apology for slavery and racial discrimination against African Americans in America.
Coates was amongst those testifying. While framing his argument, Coates cited a quote from Senator Mitch McConnell who stated that nobody alive is liable for reparations.
"I don't think reparations for something that happened 150 years ago for whom none of us living are responsible are a good idea," McConnell said.
Diving deeper into his testimony, Coates further explained that it's impossible to imagine America without slavery. He reasoned that as American citizens we are bounded beyond individual and personal reach.
"It is tempting to divorce this modern campaign of terror, of plunder, from enslavement, but the logic of enslavement, of white supremacy, respects no such borders and the guard of bondage was lustful and begat many heirs," Coates explained.
Throughout his argument, Coates clapped back at McConnell. He explained that although McConnell was not alive for slavery, he was alive for other injustices.
"We grant that Mr. McConnell was not alive for Appomattox. But he was alive for the electrocution of George Stinney," Coates reasoned. "He was alive for the blinding of Isaac Woodard. He was alive to witness kleptocracy in his native Alabama and a regime premised on electoral theft. Majority Leader McConnell cited civil-rights legislation yesterday, as well he should, because he was alive to witness the harassment, jailing, and betrayal of those responsible for that legislation by a government sworn to protect them. He was alive for the redlining of Chicago and the looting of black homeowners of some $4 billion. Victims of that plunder are very much alive today. I am sure they'd love a word with the majority leader."
Listen to Ta-Nehisi Coates' opening statement on reparations in the video below.