The Atlantic has published another great article by Ta-Nehisi Coates called "The Case for Reparations."
The wealth gap and continued segregation of African Americans is the legacy of centuries of exploitation by white Americans.
"When we think of white supremacy, we picture Colored Only signs, but we should picture pirate flags."The exploitation starts with slavery but continues via housing practices and other predatory activities. In the meantime it seems like the continued de facto segregation is causing all non-African Americans to be completely ignorant of and detached from African American communities. They point to the handful of successful black Americans as proof that racism is no longer an issue rather than correctly recognizing them as the exceptional.
"...They ignore the long tradition of this country actively punishing black success"
"Some black people always will be twice as good. But they generally find white predation to be thrice as fast."
"...for all our exceptional ones, for every Barack and Michelle Obama, for every Ethel Weatherspoon or Clyde Ross, for every black survivor, there are so many thousands gone."
Coates' article calls for passing HR 40, the Commission to Study Reparation Proposals for African Americans Act, a bill by Congressman John Conyers Jr., who represents the Detroit area. The commission would study slavery and its lingering effects as well as recommendations for “appropriate remedies.”
I really hope people read this, including immigrants who need a deeper understanding of the historical context for the social issues in the US.
Even though I am fairly aware of many problems black Americans face, I was jarred by the specifics detailed in the article. It highlights the importance of having patience for people you don't understand and communities you aren't immersed in. Also, the article illustrates that many problems are systemic just as fairness is systemic. One person's success or failure cannot prove that America is finally fair or not. America will be fair only when a person gets as much encouragement, opportunities regardless of their race, class, or gender, but also no more likely than the next to get swindled or judged.