Re: The Curious Case Of The Case For Reparations

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Of course I haven't read the essay yet.

You should know all this! If you didn't know it, and you've ever opined on race in America, punch yourself in the face, and then go punch your teachers in the face. If, on the other hand, people are assuming that everyone else doesn't know all this, it's fine to praise it, and pass it along, but even better would be to think about what public policy should look like today

This could easily turn into a thread on education policy; specifically, on whether it's essential to insist on nationalized curriculum standards, and if so, how one fights back against the 'local (regional, state) control, local control, ever and always!' chant that's becoming increasingly strong these days.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-24-14 10:55 AM
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But we have education policy threads here all the time.

(off topic) P.S. I think we should get rid of Arne Duncan. Rumor is that Julian Castro actually wanted to be Sect'y of Education rather than HUD. Oh well. (/off topic)

As you were.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-24-14 10:58 AM
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Oh, and FYI, Coates was recently on Bill Moyers, viewable here.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-24-14 11:01 AM
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but my sense is that he wants something psychological, not material--some kind of realization, acknowledgment, affirmation

This seems off to me. I mean, I'd agree that he doesn't expect material reparations to happen, but the article seems clear that he's thinking about concrete ways that wealth was quasi-legally taken from African American people and families up to the last fifty years or so, and believes that a material recompense for that would be appropriate.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-24-14 11:04 AM
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My take is he wants a normalization, an end to the fucking endless abuse, but will take a settlement.


Posted by: grumbles | Link to this comment | 05-24-14 11:09 AM
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There is an increasing push for reparations here in the Caribbean. I find it interesting because the US has almost nothing to do with it. The targeted payers of the reparations are the former colonizers - mainly France, the Netherlands and the UK. And its tough to make the case that Haiti doesn't deserve reparations from France.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 05-24-14 11:11 AM
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I read the first half of the piece the other day, but it is not really covered - or not meaningfully covered - in many classrooms, at least. We learned about Jim Crow and segregation, and how the civil rights movement fixed everything and we're all better now. I think that's probably common.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-24-14 11:12 AM
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Oh, my god, yes on Haiti. Every dime France has extorted from Haiti since 1804, with interest. Other situations probably too, but that one is ridiculously clear.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-24-14 11:13 AM
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Or a better way to put it, as this white guy, it is to document. Here is the new baseline.


Posted by: grumbles | Link to this comment | 05-24-14 11:15 AM
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7: Right, Jim Crow gets discussed as an affront to dignity, and elevated levels of violence against blacks. But it doesn't get discussed nearly so much in terms of economic theft.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-24-14 11:16 AM
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Yeah, agree on most counts. I think it's smart to make the focus on specific policy-based economic harms-- real estate! opportunity costs!-- which added to my disappointment with "...hence pass Conyers' bill." Reaction has been surprising because it seems to indicate this historical story isn't as widely known as I would have guessed.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 05-24-14 11:19 AM
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We learned about Jim Crow and segregation, and how the civil rights movement fixed everything and we're all better now. I think that's probably common.

We didn't even learn about that in HS. We had the classic up-to-WWII model of history class. I wonder how far they get these days.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 05-24-14 11:25 AM
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Every Haitian high-school graduate should be entitled to free education at the Sorbonne.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 05-24-14 11:25 AM
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The thing about Haiti is that it's more the norm than the exception: Haiti was forced to pay reparations to France for the destruction of slave property, but that idea that the slaves owe the master is much more widespread than you'd think. When black soldiers in the Union Army demanded to be paid the same as white soldiers, for instance one of their commanding officers responded by saying, we've already freed you, and that's worth about a thousand bucks a piece, so what else do you want?

I think of this every time the subject of reparations come up, how outrageously entitled white people have always been.


Posted by: Mme. Merle | Link to this comment | 05-24-14 11:26 AM
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The really wouldn't understand very much at all about red-lining if it wasn't for reading Coates.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 05-24-14 11:28 AM
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The = I


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 05-24-14 11:29 AM
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I went to high school in rural Tennessee, and was appalled at what went on. I didn't get the financial evil. I guess being a kid is an excuse, but one I don't want.

Getting away is a way not to be culpable. Not sufficient.


Posted by: grumbles | Link to this comment | 05-24-14 11:30 AM
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I don't think we even got up to WWII in my history class! We ran out of time because of course we had to prep for the AP test, you see. I knew about contract housing because of remarks Ted Cohen made in a class once (I can only assume they related tangentially at best to the ostensible subject of the class), but of course didn't put that together with anything like long-term effects on building wealth because I was an ignoramus. Anything else I knew about housing policy until fairly recently would have come from attempts to give context to a high-school reading of A Raisin in the Sun rather than from a history class.

Thus, taking my experience to be representative, I claim that ignorance of a lot of the things Coates discusses, and especially ignorance of their long-term significance, is probably commoner than ogged, with his fancy-dancy education, believes.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-24-14 11:33 AM
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I'll punch myself in the face at the next opportunity.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-24-14 11:34 AM
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I took African-American history in college, though, because I'm virtuous. Actually it's the kind of class I would have been too intimidated to take, but a cute boy wanted me to take it with him, and then he promptly dropped the class, which was sufficient cover for me to stay in without feeling too self-conscious. I was a total mess of white guilt before, during, and after that class, though, to where I felt totally fake and awful interacting with black people because I wasn't sure how to draw the line between nonchalant chatting and abject apologizing. I got over that around the end of college.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-24-14 11:39 AM
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Because this whole topic is about me.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-24-14 11:39 AM
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Seconding 18.last.

American history viewed from an economic and policy perspective is a rare thing, certainly at the high school level.

I like grumbles' 9: Here is the new baseline.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-24-14 11:49 AM
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I only learned about contract housing a year or two ago, and It still leaves me sputtering. I am unclear if it was actually legal in the normal sense at all, but I am even less a student of historical real estate law than of race.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 05-24-14 11:50 AM
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I remember covering installment contracts for real estate in my law school property class, and thinking how odd they were. As with most things in law school, there was no historical context.


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 05-24-14 11:58 AM
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18 gets it right. I don't think I ever got past WWII in history class.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-24-14 11:58 AM
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From half-told family stories, I believe I have personally benefited from the practices Coates describes.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 05-24-14 12:01 PM
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Directly and monetarily, I should say.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 05-24-14 12:01 PM
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I've linked here several times to Khalil Gibran Muhammad's The Condemnation of Blackness reviewed briefly here.

Coates is not alone in focusing on policy-based economic harms. Erm, there was a Coates post not very long ago listing the most well-known scholars doing this kind of research, some of which I'd encountered before; can't find it right now.

This kind of analysis is not remotely part of an accepted narrative, such that you'll see it taught at a public high school level any time soon. Colleges are a different matter.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-24-14 12:08 PM
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This stuff wasn't part of the curriculum--at my HS? are you kidding?--but the late sixties were the time of the radical student teacher. So we covered some topics in racism, including the mechanics of housing discrimination. In 11th, 1968, an idealistic History teacher took us on 2 all-day field trips, one to survey the history of public housing in Columbus, the other to the BDC, the Blackman's Development Center, where an American woman in African Dress berated us--white HS students--for our oppressive privilege. All the assholes in my class, from whom I expected more fight just sat there, so that it was left to me, me! to speak up for the literary and social worth of Styron's Confessions of Nat Turner, which the haranguer had gratuitously derided and which I had just--age 16--read. Just a word of demurrer, mind you, not any full defense.

Teacher told me later he was impressed I'd spoken up but he hadn't.

I hadn't at that time read Mau-Mauing The Flack Catchers


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 05-24-14 12:10 PM
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I wonder whether schools with majority African American student populations teach more about Jim Crow and civil rights struggles in general (maybe compressing the 20s or something?). On the other hand, teaching high school students how very fucked they are before they even leave school is probably incredibly depressing. I'm assuming most here saying it simply wasn't taught went to majority white suburban(ish) schools.

The subheading, thirty-five years of racist housing policy, seems like a gross understatement. From the Great Migration to present is a lot more than 35 years.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 05-24-14 12:21 PM
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I wonder whether schools with majority African American student populations teach more about Jim Crow and civil rights struggles in general (maybe compressing the 20s or something?).

After a long, long fight, the Philadelphia Public Schools are mandated to teach African-American History as a separate class to anyone who attends four years of high school (e.g., if you move to the district as an 11th or 12th grader, you're not guaranteed to get it).

My experience of this is that it is extremely unevenly implemented, with some of the teachers very poorly prepared, and many of the students emerging ignorant of why they are required to take the class and what they are supposed to get out of it.

However, that experience is coming from neighborhood comprehensive high schools. I would not be surprised to hear that the magnet or special-admit public schools do a better job.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 05-24-14 12:27 PM
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We got this in my high school less in US History class than in ninth grade "civics" which was, as my teacher taught it, at least, shockingly great on what I would actually hope to make sure ninth graders knew about civil rights (in general and in the specific historical case of the oppression of African Americans). Also we watched all of Eyes on the Prize in there and started an Amnesty International club. THUMBS UP, CIVICS CLASS.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05-24-14 12:28 PM
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But I troll so rarely anymore

Gujarat Riots !2002!

An international fact-finding committee formed of all women international experts from US, UK, France, Germany and Sri Lanka reported, "sexual violence was being used as a strategy for terrorising women belonging to minority community in the state."[65][relevant? - discuss]

It is estimated that at least 250 girls and women had been gang raped and then burned to death.[66] Children were killed by being burnt alive and those digging mass graves described the bodies as "burned and butchered beyond recognition".[67] Children were force fed petrol and then set on fire, pregnant women were gutted and their unborn child's body then shown to the women. In the Naroda Patiya mass grave of 96 bodies 46 were women. The murderers also flooded homes and electrocuted entire families inside.[68] Violence against women also included their being stripped naked, objects being forced into their bodies and then their being killed. According to Kalpana Kannabiran the rapes were part of a well organized, deliberate and pre-planned strategy, and that this puts the violence in the area of a political pogrom and genocide.[69] Other acts of violence against women were acid attacks, beatings and the killing of women who were pregnant. Children were also killed in front of their parents.[70] George Fernandes in a discussion in parliament on the violence caused widespread furore in his defence of the state government, saying that this was not the first time that women had been violated and raped in India.[71]

Children and infants were speared and held aloft before being thrown into fires.[72] Describing the sexual violence perpetrated against Muslim women and girls, Renu Khanna writes that the survivors reported "that sexual violence consisted of forced nudity, mass rapes, gang-rapes, mutilation, insertion of objects into bodies, cutting of breasts, slitting the stomach and reproductive organs, and carving of Hindu religious symbols on women's body parts."[73] The Concerned Citizens' Tribunal, characterised the use of rape "as an instrument for the subjugation and humiliation of a community".[73] Testimony heard by the committee stated that:

A chilling technique, absent in pogroms unleashed hitherto but very much in evidence this time in a large number of cases, was the deliberate destruction of evidence. Barring a few, in most instances of sexual violence, the women victims were stripped and paraded naked, then gang-raped, and thereafter quartered and burnt beyond recognition ... The leaders of the mobs even raped young girls, some as young as 11 years old ... before burning them alive ... Even a 20-day-old infant, or a fetus in the womb of its mother, was not spared.[73]

When Bourgeoise Goes Fascist Richard Seymour on the election of Narendra Modi

Witness Obama signalling the end of Modi's global pariah status by inviting him to the US despite the visa ban.

This is not an accident. There is a generalised tilt toward authoritarianism in the neoliberal era, which is based on an attempt to rescue capitalist state authority from the overload of demands that postwar democracy was placing upon it and allow it to pursue optimal neoliberal accumulation strategies. This is linked to new sources of legitimacy in class democracies (racist, nationalist, ethnic, patriarchal, etc), and punctuated repeatedly by periods of technocratic despotism. So in a period of protracted global crises and stagnation, the elective affinity between business-minded authoritarianism and violent exclusionary ethnic absolutisms is hardly unexpected.

And yet, so brazen about it. So cheerfully contemptuous of the survivors, refugees, advocates, and human rights bodies. So blasé about the mutilated and deceased. These are capitalism's liberal advocates and apologists - this is how they speak in public. They dare to talk openly like this now.

Reparations. Right. Not exactly the direction we are heading. Maybe. OTOH, fascist alliances can be complicated (Stalin and Hitler) and an alliance between a psuedo-feminist supposedly anti-racist America and Narendra Modi looks like a settled fact.

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Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-24-14 12:41 PM
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Huh. This stuff was definitely covered in HS and I think I've mentioned that we even read Zinn. I guess I can't move away.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-24-14 12:44 PM
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I mentioned before that thanks to Mattel's American Girl Doll Collection's "Addy," pretty much the only thing my kid knows about American history is slavery. Oh, and Martin Luther King Jr, because that's covered heavily in school. That's fine by me. I had a radical-ish 7th grade civics teacher, too, which was awesome.

On the more idiotic tip, I was thinking the other day that you could do an excellent world civ course entirely themed off of Iron Maiden lyrics. "Powerslave" is really about Egyptian slavery, not American chattel slavery, but you could broaden the discussion. "Run to the Hills," "Aces High," "Two Minutes to Midnight," etc.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-24-14 12:48 PM
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Context!

Russia China Axis Continues to Form ...Ian Welsh

Obama and Nuland have already accepted Red Sector and Svoboda as allies.

"This leaves India s the last major country in play. But for them, the smart play is to stay out of it, keep good relations with both sides, and let China and the US slag each other, coming up the middle to be the next hegemonic power."

I wonder...I disagree with Welsh and think the Empire is only beginning. Just won't be a nationalist empire.

Yup. Looking more and more like the late 1920s moving into the 1930s.

Fan that hate, Coates. Fan the flames.

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Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-24-14 12:49 PM
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Didn't neb grow up in a whitey part of Orange County? They pretty much sing the Horst Wessel Lied after the pledge of allegiance down there so it's not too surprising they didn't cover the chattel slave system in detail.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-24-14 12:50 PM
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31 is sort of what I imagined. A whole class is pretty impressive, though, honestly, even executed poorly. Illinois has had a law since 1990 that public schools are required teach African-American history, but I doubt it was followed most places. The Chicago public school system has just released a new curriculum that's supposed to be fully integrated and is working on something similar for Latin American students. Being CPS, they'll probably end up failing miserably, but it's at least something more than MLK, Jr. I don't remember quite how history worked when I was in high school, but I know we were required to take Government and Economics as semester long courses. I think Government could have been like civics in a less sad and conservative town.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 05-24-14 12:51 PM
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I'm trying to think of where I picked up whatever I know about segregation/redlining and so on. Not history class in any organized way, definitely, but maybe digressions? I remember reading Richard Wright in English class in tenth grade, so that'd be something.

It's not a topic I remember ever being surprised by, is the thing -- wherever I picked up the general outlines was pretty young.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-24-14 12:54 PM
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I have a joke syllabus for teaching Althusser via the music of Crass and France Gall.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05-24-14 12:55 PM
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Uh, 40 to 35.last.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05-24-14 12:55 PM
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We read zora neale Hurston and Ralph Ellison.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-24-14 1:01 PM
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34: I guess I can't move away.

Not to Tennessee, unless you expect to send your kids to private school.

30: I'm assuming most here saying it simply wasn't taught went to majority white suburban(ish) schools.

Yes. It's also generational: my high school experience was in the first half of the 80s. While the literature classes, known as "English", were terrific in their way (though lacking in any, you know, foreign language literary greats), the history pretty much stopped some time after World War I. For some reason we spent a lot of time on British history.

I assume the curriculum has changed a great deal since then.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-24-14 1:06 PM
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I read Douglas Blackmon's book, Slavery By Another Name, a few years ago. (Highly recommend it, btw.)

Here's the thing: the people and the companies that got rich by stealing land and labor from black people in the South are *still* rich. Their heirs in the South still have that land. US Steel still has billions of dollars, and it made a ton of money off the use of black contract labor in the South -- the company would literally tell sheriffs how many workers they needed, and the sheriffs would go arrest that many black men, on specious charges, usually, and then sell those men as contract laborers to US Steel. US Steel would then work those men like slaves, and often to death.

Repeat this for a number of American companies, and countless large landowners in the South.

And -- as TNC points out -- repeat it also for predatory loan and other companies in the North.

The people who got rich doing this are still rich. They are, as TNC points out, pirates. The plunder is still giving them an advantage in this country.

At the very least, yes, we should start an investigation into how to right this wrong.


Posted by: delagar | Link to this comment | 05-24-14 1:09 PM
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I think I've mentioned that we even read Zinn

I think Zinn was on some list of approved books for AP American History -- you didn't have to read it, but a lot of high school teachers taught it. Ours did. We always thought he had good politics, to the extent that we had a sense of good politics -- ten years later he had a blog, and we were right, although a bit chimpeach the chimperor.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 05-24-14 1:18 PM
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To OP(1), it occurs to me that TNC's essay's time has come only insofar as America is passing or has passed what some glib Internet dipshit might call Peak American-African-American Awareness, for which an African-American president is too obvious a marker to be ignored. Which is a roundabout way of saying that (i) the next couple of decades will be the era of political attention to Latinos and, in certain regions, Asians, at the expense of what the miserable heaps of corruption and poll numbers on cable news call "traditional urban constituencies" and (ii) Latinos and Asians don't seem like they would be even as receptive as Whitey to the reparations/rebirth appeal. Which is a roundabout way of saying that African-Americans are, as ever, powerless and, newly, losing ground, so of course comprehensive and world-shattering proposals like this will have their day.

I am rather disgusted with myself even to think so cynically, much less type it out.

To OP(2), I already feel guilty about finding TNC's prose so tedious, so I will just paraphrase myself from elsewhere and comment that if, in the last section of your long socio-historical cri de coeur, you find yourself typing something like "What I am saying is...," the thread has broken and needs to be found and mended somewhere behind you in the maze.*

* Metaphor employed for purposes of criticism, not sincerely.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 05-24-14 1:24 PM
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America is passing or has passed what some glib Internet dipshit might call Peak American-African-American Awareness

I agree that this is far too cynical, Flip.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-24-14 1:32 PM
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47: I hope people defy my worst expectations.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 05-24-14 1:35 PM
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48: Suddenly I don't know what you mean. Did you mean that America has passed through, and beyond, Peak African-American Awareness? Such that (white) America will ignore it now? I don't think so.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-24-14 1:42 PM
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I think he said brown is the new black.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-24-14 1:43 PM
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I think I said America cares as much now as it ever will, and it doesn't care.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 05-24-14 2:10 PM
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50: On a more careful reading, yes, I see.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-24-14 2:16 PM
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Oh stop it, Flip! We know all that! Giving up is not in the plan.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-24-14 2:19 PM
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It never is, according to all the T-shirts I read.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 05-24-14 2:35 PM
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Well, what do you think would work, then?

Look, I'm off, but I can't tell what the fuck your point is, other than pissing on the entire enterprise.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-24-14 2:45 PM
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30.3: I think that was implicitly leaving out the Jim Crow era, although it's messy with the North/South divide.

34: Sorry, you're the Kael now.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 05-24-14 3:20 PM
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My kid, who is studying American Civics for a test she has to pass in July, just read about the internment of the Japanese in WWII.

In 1988, the survivors of that internment were given Reparations, by Reagan's administration, to the tune of $20,000 each.

Just saying.

(Also, I'll just add, my kid was appalled to learn about the Japanese Internment camps.)


Posted by: delagar | Link to this comment | 05-24-14 3:24 PM
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56.1: 2014-1965 > 35, but I think the Great Migration was a huge deal as far as housing practices, especially thinking about steel and manufacturing cities in the Rust Belt. It's pretty easy to forget or ignore that while Jim Crow was in full force, up North was bad, too, especially when TNC mentions Chicago's efforts got serious in 1917. Legal redlining, on a quick glance, ran from 1934-1968, which is about 35 years.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 05-24-14 3:34 PM
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Christ almighty this is a thing that exists?

Warning: really quite horrible.

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Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-24-14 3:40 PM
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That makes more sense. I hadn't realized, also, although I should have, that covenants were enforced by the courts for some time.

And Prop 14, which I also only learned about recently, puts quite a gloss on how strongly white Northerners (so to speak) felt about the right to discriminate before that became taboo.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 05-24-14 3:42 PM
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Didn't neb grow up in a whitey part of Orange County?

I don't know, the joke about what UCI stands for is not so far off from the actual demographics of the city.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 05-24-14 3:47 PM
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59: his videos are so, so out there.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 05-24-14 3:50 PM
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62: that forum is like eight layers deep into people hating people who hate people. They had to reject the PUA scene because its picture of how to relate to women was too positive? Damn.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-24-14 3:52 PM
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61 -- the place is majority Customized Integras?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-24-14 4:02 PM
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64 sounds right.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-24-14 4:06 PM
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I'm trying to decide if my sense that Isla Vista is a deeply creepy place is actually an opinion I held before today or not.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 05-24-14 4:11 PM
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IV is definitely... something.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05-24-14 4:13 PM
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Several years ago Parenthetical called it "scary" and I just called it "weird". But the last time I was there I found it much more unpleasant, but I'm not sure if "creepy" is something I'm reading into that in retrospect. I don't think I've ever been there outside of daylight hours, though.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 05-24-14 4:15 PM
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Certainly the party scene there is deeply unpleasant, as are the housing options. But there are artsy hippie co-op types (and a co-op to go with them!) right there in the middle of things too. But yeah, I think the significant non-creepy element who might dilute things tends to flee IV proper as much as possible, certainly on weekend nights.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05-24-14 4:18 PM
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56.2: 34: Sorry, you're the Kael now.

I'm thinking we have the notion of "having The Kael" modeled somewhat along the lines of The Conch in Lord of the Flies. The holder of The Kael is given license to prattle on in cluelessy elitist/privileged/urbanist ways.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-24-14 4:19 PM
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The holder of The Kale is given license to advocate for diets free of wheat.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 05-24-14 4:21 PM
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That dude's videos are, I'm not sure "worth watching" is right, but fascinating. They sound scripted and poorly acted, and it's hard to believe the sentiment is deeply felt, but then he goes and shoots a bunch of people. Definitely some weird racial stuff going on, where if some undeserving guy (any other guy) is with a blonde, it's particularly galling to him. Apparently his family saw the videos and called the cops, who interviewed him and found him charming.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-24-14 4:32 PM
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I almost asked why this post wasn't up yet last night since I judged TNC to have perfectly trolled you. But I must say that for the most part you did not rise to the bait.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-24-14 4:41 PM
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It will probably surprise no one that at Berkeley High a guest speaker came in to talk to history classes about how the 13th amendment left in an exception for involuntary servitude as a penalty for a crime and how that left the door wide open for the prison system to be used as a new kind of slavery. I don't remember reparations coming up specifically, but I'd be surprised if it didn't. I know we talked about it in high school.*

I didn't learn about the mortgage redlining until college, which is also when I learned about mortgages in the first place. General housing discrimination I knew about, though not in much detail.

*I haven't read the linked piece yet, but I've always felt the stumbling block would be how you distribute the reparations (assuming you think reparations would be justified, which I do).


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 05-24-14 5:22 PM
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On the Isla Vista shootings, more ugly revelations.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 05-24-14 5:31 PM
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you did not rise to the bait

What was the bait?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-24-14 5:54 PM
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I haven't read the piece yet but I've known the majority of the stuff mentioned for a while, and the rest I picked up over the past few years from TNC's blog. No US history whatsoever in school after midway through elementary school, one course in college (diplomatic) to fulfill a departmental distribution requirement. I also haven't read all that much non-foreign affairs related US history stuff. Most of what I know about African American history and related stuff has been picked up through random articles in the general public press, e.g. Atlantic or NYRB and general osmosis.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 05-24-14 6:08 PM
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This is totally an aside and I'm sure something I've said here before, but after researching Brown v. Board of Ed because of Lee's family's involvement in it and talking to the relative who was a legal secretary on the case, I learned that the high school in Topeka had always (or long, at least) been racially integrated and the problem was that the system was set up to give black students worse textbooks and resources and thus leave them at a disadvantage even though in theory everything was equal and not even separate (although sports teams were and perhaps PE and the like) at the HS level. I hope it's not breaking the analogy ban to say that I find this a useful analogy for many policies, explicit or not.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 05-24-14 6:24 PM
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76: What was the bait?

Hard to say exactly, but I though it would elicit a response more in keeping with, I wanted my first post back to be something like TNC Sucks and It Says Something Horrible About White People That He's So Prominent.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-24-14 6:33 PM
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Yes, I was tempted.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-24-14 6:49 PM
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Having now read the whole piece - which isn't as long as all the people saying "set aside some time to read it" would have you believe - I have to say that despite having a fairly progressive/radical education in high school, I don't think I learned about a lot of the details Coates writes about until grad school, where I read about them because I was doing US history.

Would I have picked them up if I'd taken 20th century US history in college, or if I hadn't gone to grad school but just read stuff in magazines or wherever without looking for anything in particular? I don't know, but I doubt it. A lot of the work Coates cites was published in the 80s and 90s, and Coates is probably still one of the few people who's brought this stuff to the attention of broader audiences.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 05-24-14 8:00 PM
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(The UCSB/IV shooting deserves its own thread, so I'm gonna wait to comment on that.)

I have a lot of trouble reading Coates now, as it's just so uniformly depressing. The marginal knowledge, enlightenment, or entertainment I'm getting from reading him has been going down since a very high maximum when he went over the Civil War. Not to say that his writing isn't good, or that there isn't use for him to continue writing, but it does nothing for me but (let's amp the melodrama up a few notches) deaden me to the unending horribleness of our society.

On that note, TIL about a letter Marx wrote to Lincoln near the end of the Civil War and it's as excellent as you'd expect. Response (by the ambassador, a son of JQ Adams) is a little political but acknowledges that the Union was fighting slavery as an institution.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05-24-14 8:23 PM
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And also, since everything's too serious today: I totally defeated the slave power in the Civil War scenario of Civ V today ("King" difficulty). Get them to waste troops by defending the hills in the Cumberland Valley and build a railroad to Fredericksburg and it's simple to bombard Richmond into nothingness. The navy game is a pointless sideshow once you guarantee that blockade runners can't come out of the James or the other rivers.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05-24-14 8:31 PM
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I've read it in hardcopy. Not great writing but good enough.

Like LB, I managed to pick up most of this story, not in school. I've been paying attention since the sixties, so it's been out there if you didn't resist knowing it. It helps to be a Chicago lawyer, because we were taught most of the real estate mechanics of this story. Last retail law work I did was helping a classmate fighting sub-par loan foreclosures, always black homeowners, in 2008. He couldn't pay me, but the only other thing I was doing was commenting here, so...

His version of reparations, and the Germany-Israel story is for me the most interesting part of the article, to show how it might work. I also liked the quote from Lyndon Johnson, recognizing publicly what Obama cannot, that black and white poverty are different.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 05-24-14 10:37 PM
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NMM to Wojciech Jaruzelsk (for those of you with a thing for old bald men in uniforms and dark glasses)i. Ideally he would have kicked it when we had the Gerry Adams thread up, then we could have discussed whether or not the old bastard should have done time.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 05-25-14 9:55 AM
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Depends whether you buy into the "Invaded his own country first so the Russians wouldn't" narrative, I suppose. From the outside I'd say he shouldn't, by a narrow margin; if I was Polish I'd likely think otherwise.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 05-25-14 10:09 AM
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Wojciech Jaruzelsk (for those of you with a thing for old bald men in uniforms and dark glasses)i.

What are you, e.e. cummings?

Or does the isolated "I" mean that... YOU are Wojciech Jaruzelski?

But... he's dead!


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-26-14 5:14 AM
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