The article “The Case for Reparations” by Ta-Nehisi Coates makes a powerful argument on the origins, progression, and impact of slavery, abuse, racism, and discrimination against African Americans that is embedded deeply into the social fabric of the United States. It outlines the extensive repercussions that such behavior has caused upon the black community, individual lives, and socio-economic realities that have persisted for centuries and continue to affect current generations. Therefore, the author makes a compelling case that the country, being at the crossroads of history, should attempt to discuss reparations as potential compensation and medium to come to terms with its horrible history of white-black relations. Thus, hoping to eliminate the underlying causes of racism and beginning to equalize the socio-economic status amongst the two races (Coates).
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Reparation is a process, which should be established. However, unlike Coates’ argument that practicality is not a long-term issue, there should be careful consideration of the methods for the implementation of such programs. Unlike the Nazi regime during World War II, this was an atrocity ongoing for centuries. The reparation program, despite the irony, should be fair and just to not only all African-Americans but the white population as well. In the modern, considerably fairer, the legal system, lands, and wealth should be confiscated. Very few cases with appropriate evidence would determine sources of wealth that have been illegally obtained and the person responsible still alive.
The system should prevent individual suits for reparations based on historical deeds. This would overwhelm and defund the United States government and judicial network. Most experts and opinion writers believe that, in its basics, the universal solution would be to create an independent fund. It would be overlooked by African-American policymakers and experts to distribute the money. The fund would focus, over a significant period, on investing in the development of black communities. That includes housing, infrastructure, economic growth, social programs, and education. Therefore, the main argument for reparations citing the limited economic mobility and opportunities of the community will be gradually addressed to level with the whites. Meanwhile, the impracticality and limitations of individual reparations should be eliminated.
I strongly agree with Coates’ argument that reparations are as much an ideological concept as it is economic. The socio-economic divide and covert racism continue to be relevant to this very day. The vocal opposition to even the discussion of reparations, or perhaps an official federal acknowledgment of the atrocities, highlights the injustice of society. It is natural for people to avoid and fear such discussions because it tarnishes family history. Moreover, in the modern world of media scandals, a powerful enough movement can cause career and financial ruin. Therefore, people fear to lose what is theirs, even it has dark origins. Such sensitive historical matters require careful consideration and a rational dialogue to decrease any possibility of social instability.
Overall, reparations are morally and legally justified due to centuries of economic growth experienced by the white population at the expense of manipulation and exploitation of African Americans. As Coates discusses in the article, the abuse and discrimination did not end with the liberation of slaves. A systemic and institutionalized occurrence of racism continues into a modern-day that inherently benefits the white population while being detrimental to minorities. The accumulated wealth should be equally spread amongst every community that contributed to it.
Coates, Ta-Nehisi. “The Case for Reparations.” The Atlantic. 2014, Web.