Two young black men are darlings of Democrats these days: Ta Nehisi Coates and Deray McKesson. Both grew up in Baltimore and both support Black Lives Matter. Both are educated and well-spoken as long as you don’t listen too closely to what they’re saying. McKesson is a founder of Black Lives Matter and Coates wrote the book Between The World And Me that, “has become the intellectual and emotional voice of the Black Lives Matter movement,” according to Robert Cherry writing in the New York Post last week. Both are moving to take over from the two alleged Reverends Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. Like them, McKesson and Coates preach that black men are victims of white supremacy and white racist cops are looking to shoot them down.
Both want to keep race an issue in American politics. With the cooperation of the Mainstream Media and millions of liberals suffering from white guilt, they’re succeeding. Other Americans, however, are sick of hearing about it. Coates exacerbates that race fatigue by pushing reparations for descendants of former slaves, claiming it’s the best way to counter the ostensible pervasiveness of white supremacy. When US Senator Bernie Sanders was asked in a debate if he supported reparations, however, he said no, because it would never get through Congress and because it would be divisive.
3-minute podcast of my Sanders interview
When I got the opportunity last January, I asked Sanders why he thought it would be divisive but he dodged the question. He instead lamented black poverty and black unemployment, but I followed up by asking if he believed paying reparations was a good idea on its face. After he dodged again, Conway Sun publisher Mark Guerringue asked if he supported the principle of reparations. Then Sanders put the question back on us: “Does anybody else support the principle of it? Do you support the principle of it?”
“No,” said Guerringue.
“No candidate does,” I responded.
“It’s a big word,” said Sanders. “What does it mean?”
A fair question. Newsweek tried to answer it in 2015 putting out cost estimates for reparations ranging from $36 billion to $10 trillion and citing obvious problems like who would get it and in what form? As Jackson and Sharpton fade away, Coates and McKesson keep stoking guilt in liberal white America — a major Democrat constituency. Both men are at the core of Democrat efforts to portray the problems of black America as “the lingering effects of slavery” and not the legacy of disastrous Democrat policies.
Sharpton and Jackson
Some older black Americans have a different view. Economist Thomas Sowell believed the Democrat view as a young man, but rejected it later in life. In his 2014 article: A Legacy of Liberalism, Sowell contends: “The current problems facing blacks in America owe more to the Great Society than to slavery. Nearly a hundred years of the supposed ‘legacy of slavery’ found most black children being raised in two-parent families in 1960. But thirty years after the liberal welfare state found the great majority of black children being raised by a single parent… The murder rate among blacks in 1960 was one-half of what it became 20 years later, after a legacy of liberals’ law-enforcement policies.”
“I have had but one answer from the beginning. Do nothing with us! Your doing with us has already played the mischief with us. Do nothing with us! If the apples will not remain on the tree of their own strength, of they are rotten to the core, if they are early ripe and disposed to fall, let them fall! I am not for tying or fastening them the tree in any way, except by nature’s plan, and if they will not stay there, let them fall. And if the Negro cannot stand on his own legs, let him fall also. All I ask is, give him the chance to stand on his own legs! Let him alone!”
Douglass’s opinion echoes the thinking of black Wall Street Journal columnist Jason Riley. He must have had Douglass in mind when naming his recent book. He was making a plea to liberal Democrats when he picked the title: “Please Stop Helping Us.”