Ta-Nehisi Coates

June 16, 2014 - Ta-Nehisi Coates 06/16/2014 Views: 24,360

The Atlantic's Ta-Nehisi Coates discusses "The Case for Reparations" and the ongoing history of institutional racism in America. (6:18)

[CHEERING AND APPLAUSE]>> Stephen: MY GUEST TONIGHT

IS A JOURNALIST WHO BELIEVESIT'S TIME TO PAY REPARATIONS TO

BLACK PEOPLE.

REPARATIONS?

I GOT TO FIX THEIR AIRCONDITIONING NOW?

PLEASE WELCOME TA-NEHESICOATES.

[CHEERING AND APPLAUSE]HEY, GOOD SEE YOU, TA-NEHISI.

>> THANKS FOR HAVING ME.

>> Stephen: THANKS FOR COMINGBACK.

MR. COATES, GOOD TO SEE YOUAGAIN.

THANKS FOR BEING HERE.

>> THANKS FOR HAVING ME.

>> Stephen: I'M MAD AT YOU,MAN.

>> ALL RIGHT.

>> Stephen: I'LL TELL THEPEOPLE. YOU ARE

THE NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT FOR"THE ATLANTIC."

AND AUTHOR OF THIS MONTH'S COVERSTORY "THE CASE FOR

REPARATIONS."

YOU HAVE IT RIGHT THERE.

>> I DO HAVE IT RIGHT HERE.

>> Stephen: IT'S A BRACING15,000-WORD ARGUMENT TALKING

ABOUT SLAVERY, JIM CROW,DISCRIMINATIONS THAT COME UP TO

THIS VERY DAY.

>> RIGHT.

>> Stephen: DO YOU THINK THEBEST WAY TO HEAL THE NATION

IS TO BUM PEOPLE OUT?

[LAUGHTER]BECAUSE THIS IS WELL ARGUED.

I CAN UNDERSTAND IT, AND I DON'TWANT TO UNDERSTAND IT.

>> RIGHT, RIGHT, RIGHT.

>> Stephen: MAKE YOUR CASE TOTHE GOOD PEOPLE OUT THERE AND

UNDERSTAND, SOME OF THESE PEOPLEARE NOT WHITE.

SO DON'T BE MAD AT THEM.

>> I WROTE THAT WITH THAT INMIND.

>> Stephen: IT'S NOT JUST FORWHITE PEOPLE.

DIDN'T KNOW.

BECAUSE IT'S KIND OF AN ATTACK.

>> OKAY.

WELL, I THINK IT'S OUR HISTORY.

AND I DO THINK IT'S NECESSARYTO BUM PEOPLE OUT SOMETIMES TO

HEAL PEOPLE.

YOU GO TO THE DOCTOR AND MAYBEYOU HAVE A KNEE INJURY AND

YOU'RE NOT SURE WHAT IT IS.

YOU KNOW, IT'S BETTER TO KNOWTHAT YOU TORE SOMETHING THAN FOR

THE DOCTOR TO TELL YOU, OH, IT'SGOING TO BE ALL RIGHT.

>> Stephen: THAT'S WHATANAESTHESIA IS FOR.

>> BUT WE HAVE TO KNOW WHAT'SWRONG IN ORDER FOR THERE TO BE

ANY HEALING IN THE FIRST PLACE.

BUT WHAT GOOD DOESREPARATIONS DO?

ARE WE TALKING ABOUTDISTRIBUTING MONEY?

>> PROBABLY SO.

>> Stephen: OKAY.

ALL RIGHT.

SO HOW MUCH MONEY IS IT GOING TOTAKE...

[LAUGHTER]TO... I HAVE SOME RIGHT HERE.

I'LL JUST PICK ONE BLACK GUY,I'LL GIVE HIM A CHECK, AND I'LL

BE A MODEL FOR EVERYBODY ELSE.

HOW MUCH ARE WE TALKING ABOUTHERE, TA-NEHISI?

>> WELL, WE DON'T ACTUALLY KNOW.

BUT I WILL TAKE A CHECK ONBEHALF OF MYSELF.

>> Stephen: ALL RIGHT.

ALL RIGHT.

THIS IS TO MAKE THE DISCUSSIONGO AWAY.

>> NO, NO, NO.

THIS IS HUSH MONEY.

>> JUST FOR TONIGHT.

>> Stephen: I GAVE YOU A FRUITPLATE BACKSTAGE.

THAT'S ALL YOU GET TONIGHT.

PEOPLE KNOW THAT SLAVERYHAPPENED AND I'M AGAINST IT.

JIM CROW, BAD.

YOU ALSO TALK ABOUT RECENTPRACTICES LIKE REDLINING

NEIGHBORHOODS, NOT ALLOWINGBLACK PEOPLE TO MOVE INTO THOSE

NEIGHBORHOODS.

BLACK PEOPLE BEING BASICALLYCHEATED IN THEIR MORTGAGES AND

HAVING THEIR HOUSES TAKEN AWAYFROM THEM.

>> WELL, WE HAVE TWO PROBLEMS.

ANY TIME YOU SAY THE WORD"REPARATION," PEOPLE THINK

YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT PEOPLE WHOARE LONG DEAD.

IN FACT, THERE ARE PEOPLE WHOARE ALIVE WHO HAVE BEEN

DISADVANTAGED AND INJURED BYPOLICIES DONE IN OUR NAME

AND THAT DAMAGE DOESN'T GO AWAYWHEN WE DON'T TALK ABOUT IT.

NEW THINGS HAPPEN THAT ARECOMPILED ON TOP OF THAT DAMAGE,

SO SEGREGATION IN A CITY LIKECHICAGO, A NORTHERN CITY

PEOPLE DON'T REALLY THINK ABOUTNORTHERN CITIES BEING

SEGREGATED, BUT SEGREGATION IN ACOMMUNITY LIKE CHICAGO CREATES A

COMMUNITY OF PEOPLE WHO ARE RIPETO BE PLUNDERED WHEN PEOPLE ARE

LOOKING TO PEDDLE THINGS LIKEBAD LOANS FOR INSTANCE.

>> YOU SAY FROM COLONIAL DAYS UPUNTIL NOW, A GREAT DEAL OF

WEALTH IN THE UNITED STATES HASBEEN BUILT ON THE BACKS OF

DISADVANTAGED AND BLACK PEOPLE.

>> AND NOT EVEN OUR WEALTH AS ACOUNTRY, BUT LIKE OUR POLICIES,

OUR SOCIAL SAFETY NET, THE WAYWE THINK ABOUT HOUSING IN THIS

COUNTRY, SOCIAL SECURITY, THEG.I. BILL.

THESE THINGS WOULD NOT HAVE BEENPOSSIBLE UNLESS WE MADE CERTAIN

COMPROMISES WITHWHITE SUPREMACISTS TO BE HONEST

>> Stephen: ARE THERE OTHERINJURED GROUPS OTHER THAN

BLACK PEOPLE? SHOULDN'T YOU GETIN LINE BEHIND THE INDIANS?

>> POSSIBLY.

>> Stephen: IT'S A SHORT LINE.

THERE AREN'T MANY OF THEM LEFT.HEY, WHAT ABOUT THIS?

WHAT IF WE GAVE YOU GUYSCASINOS?

>> THAT WASN'T MY JOKE.

I DON'T WANT ANY PART OF IT.

THAT'S ALL YOU.

>> Stephen: YOU HAVE A VERYWELL-ARGUED, JUST EXHAUSTIVELY

RESEARCHED ARTICLE HERE, BUT YOUDON'T HAVE SOLVENCY AT THE END

OF THE ARTICLE.

YOU DON'T SAY THIS IS HOWWE'LL DO THE REPARATIONS.

WHAT'S THE MECHANISM?

>> WELL, THE MECHANISM, AS I SAYIN THE ARTICLE IS HR40, THE BILL

THAT JOHN CONYERS INTRODUCESEVERY YEAR, SAYS WE SHOULD

STUDY THE ISSUE.

IT'S LIKE SAYING WE SHOULD STUDYIT IS NOT VERY GRATIFYING.

YOU WANT A SPECIFIC NUMBER,WRITE THE CHECK...

>> Stephen: OR JUST STUDY ANDGO NO FURTHER.

>> RIGHT, RIGHT, RIGHT.

THE IDEA OF STUDYING BEFORE YOUDO IT IS NOT ACTUALLY NEW.

>> Stephen: I GO FROM THE GUT.

DO I WANT TO GIVE YOU ANY OF MYMONEY?

NO.

THAT'S MY GUT.

I STUDIED MY GUT ON THAT ONE.

>> THERE IT IS.

THERE IT IS.

[APPLAUSE]THAT'S GOOD POLICY, BUT IN THE

CASE OF JAPANESE-AMERICANS, WEDID THE SAME THING.

WE HAD A STUDY BEFORE WE CUT ACHECK.

>> Stephen: WELL, IT'S A MUCHSMALLER GROUP OF PEOPLE.

IT IS.

IT'S SMALLER GROUP OF PEOPLE, SOTHE DAMAGE IS LESS AND THE

SPECIFIC MOMENT OF HURTING THEMIS SO CONTAINED IN THE... IT

STARTS WITH SLAVERY AND...

>> WHAT IF WE JUST TOOK IT FROM1860.

>> Stephen: WE GET A MULLIGANON SLAVERY.

>> RIGHT.

>> Stephen: THAT'S TEMPTING.

THAT'S NOT A BAD IDEA.

CUT YOUR LOSSES ON SLAVERY.

>> WE COULD DO JIM CROW.

HOW ABOUT WE JUST DO 20thCENTURY CRIMES.

>> WE'LL JUST DO LYNCHING,HOUSING SEGREGATION, EMPLOYMENT

SEGREGATION, SOCIAL SECURITY,G.I. BILL...

>> Stephen: STEALING JAZZ,ROCK 'N' ROLL AND RAP.

>> VANILLA ICE.

>> Stephen: EXACTLY.

WELL, GOOD LUCK.

TA-NEHISI COATES. LET ME SEETHIS.

"THE ATLANTIC."

WE'LL BE RIGHT BACK.