The Case for Reparations written by Ta-Nehisi Coates is about America paying back African-Americans not necessarily with money but with the acknowledgement of its history and accepting its past sins. Admitting slavery was wrong is a step closer to this country healing itself and its people. The article is about that fact that, Coates presented best himself, “the vending of the black body and the sundering of the black family became an economy.” And about the fact that blacks are still looked at as profits in some cases and not people.
“Traditional” slavery may have ended many years ago (there are more modern forms of it, now) but its consequences are still prevalent and rampant in this country. This article is important because it calls to attention facts that most people do not notice or worse, deem acceptable. Racism still exists in our society; blacks are redlined in housing markets and Former President Obama received the most opposition than any other president because of the color of his skin. (Please don’t equate 45’s opposition to Obama’s. Agent Orange is highly opposed because he’s a bigot and a liar. Obama’s was because he’s black. Not the same.)
Talking to Clyde Ross about the Contract Buyer’s League and people that live in the North Lawndale area of Chicago, Coates was able to turn an article into a narrative. The article was well written and informative and it read like a fiction novel; in a way that one could not believe that all those things could happen or that the mean streak of America was actually that bad. This story was very impactful in a way that puts realities into perspective and at the same time being true to the narrative of it all.
Coates uses many literary devices to maintain the flow of his narrative including the use of in text citations that I always find very cool when done right. The research itself was pivotal to the storyline and because it is all based in fact, makes it even more impactful. The most effective thing about the article was the truth itself. Because historical facts were presented chronologically then compared to today’s society and the story told how those facts still holds merit, Coates made a clear case for reparations.
The ending, the cliffhanger, so to speak, brings it all together. We as a society can talk about what happens all day long, every single day but at the end of it all, where do we stand? When do we recognize the sins of this country and atone for them? When do we find an ending or resolution to years and years of torment and broken trust?
The reader is left with the question, what happens next? And like the ending so clearly points out, we do not know. We will never know until we accept that fact that it all happened and that it has not gone away. Like the credit card debt analogy, just because we stop spending does not mean the debt goes away.
Link to the article is: https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2014/06/the-case-for-reparations/361631/