At a congressional hearing on reparations on Tuesday, two black writers offered strikingly different visions of America’s racial legacy. Here is the full text of their testimonies.
Ta-Nehisi Coates: ‘The matter of reparations is one of making amends’
Yesterday, when asked about reparations, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell offered a familiar reply: America should not be held liable for something that happened 150 years ago, since none of us currently alive are responsible.
This rebuttal proffers a strange theory of governance – that American accounts are somehow bound by the lifetime of its generations. But well into this century, the United States was still paying out pensions to the heirs of civil war soldiers. We honor treaties that date back some 200 years, despite no one being alive who signed those treaties.