PF – Sept/Oct 2015 – Reparations

Resolved: The United States Federal Government ought to pay reparations to African Americans.

The starting point for this topic is an article by Ta-Nehisi Coates that appeared in The Atlantic last summer.

The Case for Reparations by Ta-Nehisi Coates – The Atlantic

He wrote several articles afterwards to help explain and document his position.

Coates – The Case for Reparations – An Intellectual Autopsy – The Atlantic

Coates – How Racism Invented Race in America – The Atlantic

Coates – Slavery Made America – The Atlantic

Coates – Home Is Where the Hatred Is – The Atlantic

Coates – How to Steal Things, Exploit People, and Avoid All Responsibility – The Atlantic

Responses against Coates position were to be expected. That they came from conservative sources was also to be expected. Coates response is included.

WIlliamson – The Case Against Reparations – reply to Coates – National Review

Coates – The Case for American History – reply to Williamson – The Atlantic

Frum – The Impossibility of Reparations – The Atlantic

Frum – The Elusive Specificity of Reparations – The Atlantic

Coates – The Radical Practicality of Reparations – A Reply to David Frum – The Atlantic

If you’re not acquainted with The National Review, you should be; at least know where on the Liberal-Conservative spectrum it falls. Frum’s location on that spectrum is likely indicated by his former position. Does that matter to the points they raise in opposition?

Worth knowing on this topic is WIlliam Darity, a professor at Duke University.

Darity and Frank – The Economics of Reparations – 2005

Darity interview – An Expert Responds to Ta-Nehisi Coates on Reparations – Demos

Many others wrote about the issue after the Coates article appeared.

Vinik – The Economics of Reparations – Why Congress Should Meet Coates Modest Demand – The New Republic

Friedersdorf – The Benefits of Redressing Racism With Race-Neutral Remedies – The Atlantic

Bouie – Reparations should be paid to black Americans – Here is how America should pay – Slate

Cobb – What We Talk About When We Talk About Reparations – The New Yorker

Yglesias – Slavery reparations are workable and affordable – Vox

Fallows – Reparations, from Minnesota to Mississippi – The Atlantic

Legislation has been introduced on the issue.

NAACP Action Alert – Reparations bill

Coates followed up on the topic after Ferguson.

Coates – Reparations for Ferguson – The Atlantic

The most recent article (8-21; the topic was announced 8-15) to tackle the question has a most provocative headline. Drop this one on your US History or Government teacher.

Johnson – We used to count black Americans as 3/5 of a person – For reparations, give them 5/3 of a vote

A video of Martin Luther King, Jr. making the case – “…we are coming to get our check.” the second link explains the context of the video.

Martin Luther King Makes the Case for Reparations – The Atlantic

Dyson book – I May Not Get There With You

An interesting topic with which to start the season. I have some regrets that I won’t get to judge any rounds on the topic; our novice tournaments are in October, and are judged by varsity team members. These articles should educate the varsity judges about what they’re going to hear, and should give novices plenty of material around which to construct a case.


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