Events in Ferguson and elsewhere have cut through the white noise (yes, white) of “post-racial” blather to reveal the state of race relations in the US.
Shortly before Ferguson, Ta-Nehisi Coates movingly made the case for reparations to the African American people; that is, being awarded money for being done wrong. He documents the plunder of African Americans from getting no wages for their life times of labor under slavery, to being consciously excluded by the government from Federal Housing Administration mortgages subsidized by all taxpayers, to 21st century racially-targeted predatory lending practices with banks performing the wallet extraction. In every period of history, black subordination has been enforced through violence. Far from the waters of righteousness rolling down since the abolition of the slave system, an avalanche of assaults on their humanity and their economic and physical security have continued to pile insult and injury on African Americans. The cumulative effect of governmental policies and practices are the cause of enduring African American poverty and marginalization, generation after generation. Therefore, “repair” of the relationship between blacks and whites cannot take place without public acknowledgement of the crimes against African-Americans over five centuries and counting, and without U.S. governmental action to provide compensation for the brutal injustices committed.
But to get reparations is not the same as “to get free.” A larger question remains: “How will African Americans AS A PEOPLE be liberated?”Download this piece as a PDF