Ta-Nehisi Coates is voting for Bernie Sanders
A few weeks ago, acclaimed writer Ta-Nehisi Coates castigated Bernie Sanders for his stance against reparations. Back then I wrote a piece where I challenged his stance. I stated the following.
Chuck Todd used the Ta Nehisi Coates The Atlantic article “Why Precisely Is Bernie Sanders Against Reparations?” to attempt to corner Bernie Sanders on the rather politically explosive subject. Blacks are split on this issue. It would be silly for Bernie Sanders to take an affirmative position, when the first black president himself does not support it.
To be clear, I have a lot of respect for the intellect of Ta Nehisi Coates. In fact I purchased and read his excellent book Between the World and Me. I also read his excellent piece The Case for Reparations. He erred when he called out Bernie Sanders. Hillary Clinton was much more deserving on any type of call out on racial social justice and where race has been used to divide.
Ta-Nehisi Coates ultimate came to a very practical realization. Following is the text for the clip where he said he is voting for Bernie Sanders and why.
Amy Goodman: So, you have Senator Obama, before he was president, saying, well, not exactly reparations, but these other issues of equality; Hillary Clinton basically saying the same—
Ta-Nehisi Coates: Right.
Amy Goodman: —and Bernie Sanders saying the same. But you’re focusing on Bernie Sanders.
Ta-Nehisi Coates: I expected more. And maybe I’m wrong for that. I just expected more, you know? As I said earlier in the interview, I’m thrilled. You know, I was stunned to see how far he’s come. But I’m thrilled to see an actual radical, left-wing, you know, uniquely left-wing option in the Democratic Party. If we can’t get the left—if we on the left can’t embrace this idea that black folks have been specifically injured and that there should be specific remedies for that injury, then we have no hope. You know, we really, really have no hope. And so, you know, forgive me for expecting more of Senator Sanders than I expect of Senator Clinton, but I do.
Amy Goodman: I wanted to go to Killer Mike, hip-hop artist Killer Mike, ... Last month, he took to Twitter—you know, he introduced Bernie Sanders at a big rally in Atlanta. And he took to Twitter to defend Sanders after you criticized him for not supporting reparations. Killer Mike tweeted, "The truth of my support is this. I am pro Reparations for any people used and abused like Blacks have been here and other places," and, quote, "I believe the Govt of this country will NEVER do this but if I can have a POTUS who will be open to a federal loan program to help," and, quote, "Candidate that I think would be most sensitive to the very accomplishable goal and the other things that can/will help Black people is Sanders." That’s Killer Mike.
Ta-Nehisi Coates: There’s actually very little in that statement right there that I disagree with. One can be very, very critical of Senator Sanders on this specific issue. One can say Senator Sanders should have more explicit antiracist policy within his racial justice platform, not just more general stuff, and still cast a vote for Senator Sanders and still feel that Senator Sanders is the best option that we have in the race. But just because that’s who you’re going to vote for doesn’t mean you then have to agree with everything they say.
Amy Goodman: Will you be voting for Senator Sanders?
Ta-Nehisi Coates: I will be voting for Senator Sanders. I have tried to avoid this question, but, yes, I will be voting for Senator Sanders. I try to avoid that, because I want to write as a journalist—do you know what I mean?—and separate that from my role as, I don’t know, a private citizen. But I don’t think much is accomplished by ducking the question. Yes, I will vote for Senator Sanders. My son influenced me.