The case for giving reparations to descendants of slaves is one issue that always seems to pit even the most liberal of allies against each other.
Presidential candidate hopeful Bernie Sanders is now at the center of this issue after he was asked about reparations last week at an Iowa forum. Atlantic political correspondent Ta-nehisi Coates earlier this week responded to Sanders comments by posing a simple, yet important question – Why Precisely is Bernie Sanders Against Reparations. The article is worth reading in it’s entirety, and you can do that here.
There however is one part in particular in Coates article that brings the argument against Sanders full circle.
“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. The chances of a President Sanders coaxing a Republican Congress to pass a $1 trillion jobs and infrastructure bill are also nil.”
The rhetorical question Coates proposes is a legitimate one. If many of Sanders ambitious proposed policies have little to no chance of getting through Congress, why not have a proposal for reparations if Bernie really wants to help the African American community?
But it’s not just that Bernie doesn’t believe in reparations, it’s that his alternative solutions are no better, for example Coates points out in his article that “raising the minimum wage doesn’t explain why black men without criminal records have about the same shot at low-wage work as white men with them; nor can making college free address the wage gap between black and white graduates.”
Rapper, political voice and friend of Bernie Sanders Michael Render better known to the world as Killer Mike didn’t necessarily agree or disagree with Coates, but also brought up a very valid question in regards to the line of questioning facing the former Vermont Senator.
The fact that blacks have to even justify the case for reparations is shameful. The fact that only 1 candidate is being called to task is
— Killer Mike (@KillerMike) January 20, 2016
Bullshit. Especially when that candidate is the only one with policy proposal that directly effects the black community if elected. — Killer Mike (@KillerMike) January 20, 2016
Both Coates and Render provide valid points in regards to getting reparations and how we should address our Presidential hopefuls on the subject.
There is some precedent for giving a group of people reparations. In 1988, 40 years after Japanese-Americans were held in internment camps during WWII the Senate voted 69 to 27 in favor of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988. Under that legislation, $1.3 billion was given to Japanese Americans through the next five years.
The United States has shown a willingness in the past to apologize and right wrongs done to its citizens. Maybe this is the country’s latest opportunity to show that willingness.