That set Coates off on a long monologue in which he pointed out that though McConnell may not have been around during slavery, he certainly was around for the injuries heaped upon black communities in more recent times. “For a century after the Civil War black people were subjected to a relentless campaign of terror, a campaign that extended well into the lifetime of majority leader McConnell,” he said.
McConnell may not have been there for the Battle of Appomattox at the end of the civil war, “but he was alive for the execution of George Stinney, he was alive for the blinding of Isaac Woodard”.
Republican congress members and their invited witnesses followed McConnell’s lead and argued that the sins of a small minority of Americans more than 150 years could not be lumbered onto the shoulders of today’s taxpayers.
I don’t know the right answer in all of this, but if you don’t think there is a lingering effect from slavery to some of the issues going on today, I don’t know what to tell you.
And maybe I’m wrong, but I dont think it was a small minority responsible. Even if the majority of people did not own slaves themselves, they went along with it for a pretty damn long time, especially in the south, where Confederate pride still seems to be a thing. Maybe we just make the south and Kentucky pay for the reparations if that’s how McConnell wants to be.
Take any group of people, enslave them, and then throw them to the wind with no money, no possessions, and tell me there are no consequences and they have the same ability to succeed as people coming from a family with a little bit of money, a roof over their head, and access to education. This is all before we even get to the inequality in the law, which lasted another 100 years, and the racism that still exists.
There are still plenty of people alive today who were alive during the Civil Rights movement. And if you think everything is rosey because a piece of paper was signed in 1965, what are you smoking? An entire race of people were treated awfully for hundreds of years because of racism and that racism did not go away the moment that piece of paper was signed.
I’ve grown up in privilege as a white male in the Chicago suburbs, so I cannot speak for any individual or any group of people and I will not pretend to understand everything. But I’ve been a witness to racism in small ways numerous times, even in very liberal neighborhoods, and I can’t imagine what it’d be like to be on the receiving end of it. I’ve seen deragatory words yelled, I’ve seen people pulled over because of the color of their skin, and I’ve heard what people who look like me really think when they don’t think there’s anyone around to offend, allowing themselves to speak freely. It’s safe to say that, after failing to convince certain individuals how racist they were coming across and why they should change their views, I no longer speak to them because there is no place in this world for racism.
Clip of Ta-Nehisi Coates from The Daily: