The Corner

Culture

A Brief Note on Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Long Essay

Ta-Nehisi Coates has another very long essay in The Atlantic, this one titled, “The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration.” He doesn’t really dispute that strong family structure is important; he just says that it’s not important enough to counteract all the institutionalized racism that African Americans face (like housing segregation, the focus of his reparations essay).  As for crime, he views any crime-fighting that has a disparate impact on the basis of race as presumptively racist, and he concludes with a strong hint that reparations may therefore be in order (the new essay’s last link is to his earlier long essay on that topic). But there are plenty of non-racist reasons for being against crime, and, Coates’s cherry-picking to the contrary notwithstanding, there is plenty of evidence that those opposing crime have generally done so for those non-racist reasons. Finally, reparations would not be a logical response to any racism in our criminal-justice system, since (1) most African Americans have not been in the criminal-justice system, and (2) most who have been cannot blame racism.

Most Popular

Education

The Deflation of the Academic Brand

Trumpism is sometimes derided as an updated know-nothingism that rejects expertise and the input of credentialed expertise. Supposedly, professionals who could now save us tragically have their talent untapped as they sit idle at the Council on Foreign Relations, the economics Department at Harvard, or in the ... Read More
Elections

My Journey into the Heart of Obama-Trump Country

After eight years of displeasure with Barack Obama’s presidency, Carla Johnson was ready for a drastic change. The 41-year-old lab technician from Cresco, Iowa, fell for Donald Trump very early in the 2016 primary season. She loved his “take-no-[sh**]” style, his conservative stances on gun control and ... Read More