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Senior Advisor

Blacks not feeling the Bern.

He's an old white guy.




Ta-Nehisi Coates, a writer for The Atlantic and a National Book Award winner who often focuses on racism, published a stinging critique of Senator Bernie Sanders on Tuesday over his opposition to reparations for slavery.

Mr. Coates’s piece in The Atlantic, where he published the widely read “The Case for Reparations” in 2014, comes as Mr. Sanders is trying to gain the support of black voters who could play an important role in helping him win the Democratic presidential nomination.

Last week in Iowa, a host at a minority-focused Brown and Black Forum asked Mr. Sanders if he would be in favor of “reparations for slavery.”

“No, I don’t think so,” Mr. Sanders said. “First of all, its likelihood of getting through Congress is nil. Second of all, I think it would be very divisive.”

Mr. Coates wrote that Mr. Sanders’s opposition to reparations because it was not likely to get through Congress didn’t make sense because many of the policies the senator is proposing — such as tuition-free public colleges, single-payer Medicare for all, and a $1-trillion jobs and infrastructure bill — was also not likely to be passed.

“Sanders says the chance of getting reparations through Congress is ‘nil,’ a correct observation which could just as well apply to much of the Vermont senator’s own platform,” Mr. Coates wrote. “If this is the candidate of the radical left — then expect white supremacy in America to endure well beyond our lifetimes and lifetimes of our children. Reparations is not one possible tool against white supremacy. It is the indispensable tool against white supremacy. One cannot propose to plunder a people, incur a moral and monetary debt, propose to never pay it back, and then claim to be seriously engaging in the fight against white supremacy.”

2 Replies
Red Steele
Veteran Advisor

Re: Blacks not feeling the Bern.

I might support casinos on black reservations but would need to see the pros and cons.


Re: Blacks not feeling the Bern.

As I mentioned in another thread, it is a touchy matter to attempt to plumb the nature of how black people feel about this stuff.


I'll whitesplain a bit here in that I don't really get the fact that much of the leadership is still seeing this in terms of various forms of legal redress.


And I'll reasonably assume that Hillary will do about as much for for black people as Bill did- basically went backwards but was really good at paying lip service to the leaders' list of grievances. A genuine progressive would seem, to me, to offer more realistic help.


BTW, reparations are never going to happen, per se. But it is a part of the reason why I support progressive taxation. My family had the benefit of obtaining land (quite recently held under treaty with the Miami tribe) and have benefitted from public schools, colleges and all the goodies that came along for unimpaired (racial, class or through bad behavior) Americans in the late 19th and 20th centuries. If I happen to make good money I don't think it is so unfair to give some back to help others who didn't have those advantages move ahead.


That's also in the interests of my descendants- so they don't have to live in a banana republic.