History, Law, Philosophy, Recommended

My Testimony on Reparations

Editor’s note: Coleman Hughes delivered the following testimony at a United States House Judiciary subcommittee hearing on Bill H.R. 40 on June 19, 2019. If passed, the bill would establish a commission for reparations.

Thank you Chairman Cohen, ranking member Johnson, and members of the committee. It’s an honor to testify on a topic as important as this one.

Nothing I’m about to say is meant to minimize the horror and brutality of slavery and Jim Crow. Racism is a bloody stain on this country’s history, and I consider our failure to pay reparations directly to freed slaves after the Civil War to be one of the greatest injustices ever perpetrated by the U.S. government.

But I worry that our desire to fix the past compromises our ability to fix the present. Think about what we’re doing today. We’re spending our time debating a bill that mentions slavery 25 times but incarceration only once, in an era with zero black slaves but nearly a million black prisoners—a bill that doesn’t mention homicide once, at a time when the Center for Disease Control reports homicide as the number one cause of death for young black men. I’m not saying that acknowledging history doesn’t matter. It does. I’m saying there’s a difference between acknowledging history and allowing history to distract us from the problems we face today.

In 2008, the House of Representatives formally apologized for slavery and Jim Crow. In 2009, the Senate did the same. Black people don’t need another apology. We need safer neighborhoods and better schools. We need a less punitive criminal justice system. We need affordable health care. And none of these things can be achieved through reparations for slavery.

Nearly everyone close to me told me not to testify today. They said that even though I’ve only ever voted for Democrats, I’d be perceived as a Republican—and therefore hated by half the country. Others told me that distancing myself from Republicans would end up angering the other half of the country. And the sad truth is that they were both right. That’s how suspicious we’ve become of one another. That’s how divided we are as a nation.

If we were to pay reparations today, we would only divide the country further, making it harder to build the political coalitions required to solve the problems facing black people today; we would insult many black Americans by putting a price on the suffering of their ancestors; and we would turn the relationship between black Americans and white Americans from a coalition into a transaction—from a union between citizens into a lawsuit between plaintiffs and defendants.

What we should do is pay reparations to black Americans who actually grew up under Jim Crow and were directly harmed by second-class citizenship—people like my Grandparents.

But paying reparations to all descendants of slaves is a mistake. Take me for example. I was born three decades after Jim Crow ended into a privileged household in the suburbs. I attend an Ivy League school. Yet I’m also descended from slaves who worked on Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello plantation. So reparations for slavery would allocate federal resources to me but not to an American with the wrong ancestry—even if that person is living paycheck to paycheck and working multiple jobs to support a family. You might call that justice. I call it justice for the dead at the price of justice for the living.

I understand that reparations are about what people are owed, regardless of how well they’re doing. But the people who were owed for slavery are no longer here, and we’re not entitled to collect on their debts. Reparations, by definition, are only given to victims. So the moment you give me reparations, you’ve made me into a victim without my consent. Not just that: you’ve made one-third of black Americans—who consistently poll against reparations—into victims without their consent, and black Americans have fought too long for the right to define themselves to be spoken for in such a condescending manner.

The question is not what America owes me by virtue of my ancestry; the question is what all Americans owe each other by virtue of being citizens of the same nation. And the obligation of citizenship is not transactional. It’s not contingent on ancestry, it never expires, and it can’t be paid off. For all these reasons bill H.R. 40 is a moral and political mistake. Thank you.

Coleman Hughes is a Quillette columnist and an undergraduate philosophy major at Columbia University. His writing has also appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Spectator, City Journal, and the Heterodox Academy blog. You can follow him on Twitter @coldxman


    • It is a safe bet that not one single person in that hearing room can hold a candle to the writing skills and clear thinking of this young man. He gives me hope for the future of our country.

      • J. Rashaad says

        Hmm…so I’m guessing that MacArthur Fellowship holding, National Book Award, Hillman Prize,
        PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award, GLAAD Media Award, NAACP Image Award, George Polk Award, Harriet Beecher Stowe Center Prize, National Magazine Award, and New York Times bestselling author Ta-nehisi Coates counts as “not one single person”? Yeah, I’ll take that bet. How much you got?

        • Cedric says

          Writing skills AND clear thinking. Coates has one, but not the other.

        • Jesse Fernandez says

          Coates’s is the most over rated writer of my lifetime. He’s built his career at a time when white guilt is at its zenith and far left activism is rampant on college campuses and academia, so his divisive borderline hate-filled prose are seen as gospel to the far left elitist who sit on the committees of just about all those awards you mentioned he’s won.
          How any author can win any American literary accolade such as the National Book Award after producing such malicious and contradictory writing that he has been praised for is beyond comprehension. Writing where he has stated he has no sympathy for the people who died in the 9/11 attacks; writing where he in one chapter he claims how a black man can’t get a fair shake in “racist” America and in the next chapter he explains how in spite of almost failing out of high school English, the racist American system provided him with a scholarship to a six figure a year elite private college. Writing where he shares his whimsical travels on an all expense paid trip through Europe in his twenties, paid for by evil Uncle Sam, mind you, and in the same breathe claim his son is growing up in a country that doesn’t want to see him succeed. . .His type of writing is a fad and is more an outgrowth of the anger fueled rhetoric of our times that solves nothing but only creates more anger and more division. You’d be much better off reading the writing of Thomas Sowell or Coleman Hughes.

        • TWC says

          See Jesse Fernandez’s reply….Coates is intellectually fraudulent

        • Roe V. Amazon says

          I’ll take that bet in a blind taste-test where the names are omitted. Coates was chosen by elitest white people to be their literary pressure-release valve. He’s like the nerdy black kid who played Dungeons and Dragons. “So smart and he speaks so well!”, Becky exclaimed!

          Twenty years ago when whites were in need of a book to make them look what we now call woke for their friends in the Hamptons or on Martha’s Vineyard they chose The Warmth of Other Suns. Sounds so beachy!

          Ten years ago it was Dreams of My Father. Oh, how we love us some Barry half-White.

          Now, we buy Coates and go along with the bullshit just to what, wait for it, avoid talking about race and why there are so few black living in New England or Pacific Palisades or Silicon Valley…places where blacks only live on the bookshelves.

          There has never been power not obtained by force. I would advise your people to join the military and get some real skills if you’re looking to make a difference.


      • Arthur Daniels Jr says

        It is no doubt that the young man has good writing skills and has a level of intelligence. However, his thinking isn’t so clear on the issue of reparations.

        Mr. Hughes forgets the fact that even in this century, the evils of American slavery and the horrors that followed have been to some degree compensated for in the form of reparations, e.g., The Rosewood incident reparations.

        He would argue for reparations for those who lived under Jim Crow but not to those who were directly or indirectly affected by slavery and Jim Crow. That is somewhat of a contradiction in reasoning. Whether Jim Crow or slavery affects you directly or indirectly shouldn’t matter. But for some reason it does to him.

        Perhaps it has do to with his special pleading case using himself as the model. Ok, so you personally may not need reparations funding, but that doesn’t prove that many others could not benefit from such funding. And if he’s so concerned about that person with the wrong ancestry who’s having a hard time, then what’s stopping him from donating his reparation allotment to that person? At least with the reparations he now actually HAS the means to help someone else that he otherwise might not have had. So even in his own scenario, the reparations can be of service for good, even if not directly used by himself. Clear thinking demands that he should look at all the alternatives to his own ideas, not just what fits his agenda.

        And who told him that we are not entitled to collect on the debts owed those who originally were enslaved? Based on what? Were the actual slaves the only ones harmed? Not in a million years. You would have to deny centuries of documented history to argue such an inane idea. So since the actual slaves that are not here were not the only ones who suffered wrong due to slavery and its aftershocks of segregation, Jim Crow, and other racism-based evils, then it is irrational to argue that the descendants of slaves are not entitled to collect on that debt. This is another point where Mr. Hughes did not think clearly.

  1. Michael says

    Great job. You looked surprisingly composed–given that this was your first speech at a congressional hearing–and seemed to speak without nervousness.

    • Jeremiah says

      Reparations already exist. Theyre called affirmative action. To get into a top Ivy African Americans can score 400 points less than Chinese Americans on their SAT. This despite the fact that original Chinese Americans were treated like absolute shit in places like San Fransico. The first drug laws enacted in the US were actually an excuse to lock up Chinese Americans in California.

      • Terence says

        “Affirmative action” is a grandiloquent term for failure. It fails the very blacks it was dreamed up to assist, and is consistently unpopular with up to 2/3 of black Americans in polls. And, this failure depends on the enforced failure of others, especially Asian-Americans.

      • Arthur Daniels Jr says

        Nonsense. Affirmative action is by definition just that. It is not reparations. AA was designated to address a specific wrong related to racism-based discrimination, but it was never intended to be, nor did it pretend to be, any form of actual reparations for slavery.

  2. Maximian says

    His point about Ivy-league educated blacks receiving reparations while poor whites get nothing, determined purely by accident of birth, illustrates the problem nicely.

    There’s no way to make reparations fair because too much time has passed. Compensation would be awarded to some people who don’t deserve it, and ineligible people who are struggling would bitterly wonder how they could ever get such special consideration.

    Also, imagine the strife caused by determining who is and isn’t “black.” Imagine the caustic bullshit and drawn out warfare resulting from that grim exercise.

    Reparations would be a new injustice that would damage race relations and further widen the political divide. It’s just a horrible idea that needs to be put to rest.

    • MontanaTrace says

      And what about whites and blacks that died in a war to free the slaves?

      • Rubenstein Hymie says

        Sorry, the civil war was NOT a war to free the slaves. It was a war to save the Union. If you don’t believe me, ask Abraham Lincoln.

        • Whether it was a war to free the slaves or not, it was a war that freed the slaves.

      • Rictus says

        Advocates for reparation (I am not one) would reply that even descendents of those whites who died in the Civil War still benefitted from formal and informal segregation – housing, jobs, etc – priviledging whites over blacks.

    • Roez says

      On first thought subject to change, I’m inclined to believe this is a good illustration of the problems with intersectionality. Intersectionality in its broad terms of taking into account all factors which affect a person’s position in life, seems reasonable. The devil though is in the details,and circumstances add an element which makes the aloof come crashing down into reality. Simply put, the same reason racism is wrong–generalizing from the large down to the individual–is the very reason why intersectionality is misguided. Our race, our color, our ethinic origin, doesn’t make who we are as individuals. Our actual, real life experiences do. Not the perceived disadvantages, the actual disadvantages. It’s the same problem as trying to say, “because 4 in 10 people will get cancer, I can guarantee those 10 I chose 4 will.” These large generalizations simply don’t work, even if it’s convenient or for whatever reason, seems like it should.

      • GRPalmer says

        Call it out for what it is
        A great big Democrat election scam for 2020.

      • Well said. I’d never considered the comparison between racism and intersectionality, how their logic is similar but inverted.

      • LeeNLP says

        The amazing insight of Intersectionalism is that while it is meaningless and terribly misleading to try to describe the complexity of a human being using a single qualifier such as race or gender, you can adequately do it with two. And it is left up to the gender scholars to figure out what those qualifiers are and how they fall together in the hierarchy of oppression.

    • Jenny Kang says

      Most poor white people are poor due to laziness & lack of ambition. Whereas a most black people had no control over born to poor due to their color of skin, economy status & most of all, they’re the descendants of slaves who don’t allow to have much.
      Accident of birth is not poor whites, rather blacks!

      • Stephanie says

        Jenny, actually, blacks do not have a monopoly on low economic status, and most whites inherit nothing of significant worth. Being black helps you get into colleges and good jobs, thanks to affirmative action. Studies show the discrepancy between black and white outcomes, adjusted for parental income, is single parenthood. Boys raised in neighbourhoods with few fathers in the home tend to get involved in crime, skip school, and make other such decisions that have a permanent effect on their life outcomes.

        So it is an accident of birth, that your mother got herself get knocked up out of wedlock and your father wasn’t interested in raising you, but you can hardly blame slavery for that. The rise of single motherhood is a recent phenomenon, so if you want to blame anyone, blame progressives for incentivizing single motherhood with welfare expansion.

        • I wish I can give this comment a million likes! Thank you Stephanie for willing to think when most others just wanna keep beating a dead horse race horseshit!

      • Defenstrator says

        Not sure if this is a troll, a sarcastic comment meant to to reflect older stereotypes of black people, or you are actually dumb enough to mean it. Could you please clarify?

      • Jeremiah says

        Youre half right. It’s just most poor people of ALL races are poor because of laziness. Not everyone can rise to the uppet middle class in America, but if you simply finish high school, dont have a baby before marriage, and work you have a 97%! chance of not being poor (in other words being lower middle clsss or higher).

        There are some poor adults who are that way through no fault of their own, but that typically involves being born with an IQ so low you’re unemployable or another disability that makes you nearly unemployable.

        Theres no perfect American dream where everyone who works hard gets rich, but there is an American dream where if you put in basic effort you can avoid being poor.

        • Jeremiah says

          People who struggled through the g Great Depression would slap people claiming theres no way they can avoid poverty in 2019. Likewise people who were born in poverty stricken rural village in India would slap Americans in the face after laughing hysterically at them.

      • freeeagle says

        that’s just simply not true, millions of whites are born into poor neighborhoods with drug addicted parents, or entrenched poverty and dysfunctional schools. Ever been to Appalachia? the rural south?

      • David Alexander Barnett says

        Most people are great-grandchildren of peasants and serfs, whatever their colour. The great majority of the world has lived in misery, struggling for survival. No colour has a monopoly on on victimhood or downtroddenness, however much your political stance may desire it.

      • Jesse Fernandez says

        Okay and what you just said about white people wasn’t racist how?? A few books you should read: Night comes to the Cumberlands; White Trash by Nancy Isenberg; and anything about the treatment of early Irish, Italian, or Jewish immigrants. Hell watch Gangs of New York for starters. You’ll soon see “whites” dont all share the same supposed privileged story in this country.

      • Graham says

        Jenny Kang: ‘Most poor white people are poor due to laziness & lack of ambition.’ Ya fucking racist cheeky bitch. Never heard of white slaves sent to America by the English? Mange la merde.

      • Jeremy Ashford says

        Most poor people are poor because on balance they have the least going for them in terms of natural attributes, primarily intelligence. It is never a good thing to blame the victim (“lazy” etc), and when I use the word victim I am talking about the losers in life’s many lotteries, not someone awarded victim points for the colour of their skin, their sex, who they have sex with, or their choice of religion, no matter how well they as individuals are equipped for prosperity. Even on these pages I guess there are those who do not find it acceptable to address the facts of intelligence so for those who wish to blather on that it isracism here is a fact you may not know. Given that the average IQ of people of mixed ancestry which includes black Africans is 85, and that the US Army considers anyone with an IQ of 83 or below to be worse than useless in employment, America has a big problem that cannot be fixed by simply throwing money at it. While nearly half of black Americans fall in that range, there are, at a quick estimate, twice as many white Americans within that group as black. That is a large number of people that American society as a whole does not cater for. They need to be included, but that cannot happen until the nonsense that is intersectional feminism is eradicated. And while the country continues to add to that group with indiscriminate immigration things can only get worse. When, if, America gets its own house in order, and only then it may be of some use to the poor outside its borders.

      • Area Man says

        “Most poor white people are poor due to laziness & lack of ambition.”

        Diversity & inclusion training has been shown to have no effect on conservatives. The only effect it has on Progressives is that they have an easier time blaming poor whites for being poor.

      • I agree with your statement ” most people are poor due to laziness and lack of ambition”, let’s leave race out of it.

    • Jeremiah says

      Yeah would Barack Obama receieve reparations? He’s an African American born in America, but his father was a political leader in Kenya with no anectoral connections to the United States. So basically theres almost zero chance hes anecstors were slaves in America. If slavery is in anyway in his background it would likely be because his powerful dad cane from a family that owned slaves in Kenya.

      Yet from the proposals ive seen Barack Obama would qualify simply because he’s an African American born in America.

      • Jeremiah says

        Hell would my son qualify for reparations? His mother’s mom is from an African Island named Mauritius. The people there are mostly varying shades of black but not as Black as most people in mainland Africa. His grandmother is something like 3/4 black Creole and 1/4 Indian. She married a white man in America so my son’s mom (my wife )is partly African (although Latinos always try and speak Spanish to her because she looks Cuban). This makes him 1/4 technically African and like 1/8th racially black African.

        Is there going to be some formal cut off? Are people going to have to submit genealogy papers to prove all this? Seems like it would be a costly bureaucratic mess that would be rife with cheating.

        • Jeremiah says

          Anyway if Affrimative Action exists I’m going to tell him to check the box for African American, because well he is by many definitions. I oppose AA personally but since it hurt me applying to colleges im going to encourage him to take advantage of it just like I would take advantage of a tax loophole I don’t agree with.

          My wife could have easily checked the AA box as shed visibly a minority (unlike our son), but she chose to go to a good flagship state school based only on her grades and SATs. Admirable but considering she could have easily gotten into an Ivy w/ a free ride due to her parents being borderline poor. I think she missed a huge opportunity.

          • Jeremiah says

            Crazy that the difference between checking a box she could have checked as shes provibly half African was the diffetence between taking 40k out in loans to go to a state college and getting to go to Harvard for completely free. Harvard is completely free if your parents earn less than 100k and most of the Ivies have siniliar policies that at least provide massive financial aid.

        • TWC says

          And once reparations were paid, would the issues that plague the “black community” disappear?
          And would Jessie Smollett receive these financial benefits?

      • Cheryl Brown says

        Obama would not qualify because he is not a Black American descendant of slaves. On his American side, his mother is a white woman of Irish descent. His father, while black, was an immigrant to America and not a descent of African slaves bought to the country. Whew, it does get complicated.

    • GRPalmer says

      Call it out for what it is
      A great big Democrat election scam for 2020.

    • GRPalmer says

      He should have called it out for what it is
      A great big Democrat election scam for 2020.

    • Area Man says

      “Also, imagine the strife caused by determining who is and isn’t ‘black.'”

      Hughes got pushback on Twitter because he has Puerto Rican ancestry. So not only is he a “race traitor” but he’s also “not black enough”.

  3. jimhaz says

    What about reparations for the failed American operations in Sth America. There would be no end to such a precedent – including indue course Asian folk prevented from going to uni due to unfair discrimination in favour of POC.

    and yes…cheers to Coleman. Thomas Sowell is 88 now, so the Western world needs practical and fair minded minds like Coleman’s to put limits on entitlement irrationality. It is too polarising and will result in making the non-super rich white man resentful and volatile.

    • I don’t agree with reparations but it doesn’t take much to make them resentful and volatile and some of them they’ve been and it doesn’t take much and it’s been that way for a long time.
      POC or LQTB fighting for equality makes them resentful and volatile, I wouldn’t expect any less in regards to reparations.

  4. michael farr says

    well done that man. Precise, articulate and honest. More power to you.

    • Jeremiah says

      Are you Cathy Young? Just wondering. I’m a fan.

  5. The idea that reparations are due to the descendants of people from the descendants of those who wronged them is morally wrong and practically catastrophic.

    We are responsible and should answer for our actions. We should never be responsible for our ancestors actions. We cannot choose our ancestors and so we cannot take responsibility for them.

    The idea that greivances and recompenses for greivances should persist over generations is the source of racial and sectarian polarisation hatred and violence. In practice the demand for reparations is rightly resented by the group targeted to pay them because the individuals making up the group were not responsible and because most people have no idea who their ancestors were or what they did. In parctice the ‘oppressing group’ are targeted based on their racial or ethnic group not the actiond of their ancestors. The descendants of the victims of whatever historic event is concerned are given the message that they are victims and compensated as a result encouraging a victim mentallity and dependancy culture.

    All groups have at some time in history suffered and could therefore make claims and the history is always distorted and over simplified to bceome one of homogeneous racial and ethinc victimisation.. In the case of the slave trade to america. The african end of this trade was in the main operated by africans and was the continuation of a long historic practice. It was ended essentially by the intervention of whte Britains. Who should be compensating who? Should africans be compensating black americans? Another example is the narrative around the Irish potao famine of callous British landlords starving their tenant farmers ignoring the fact that everyone concenred was British, the landlords were local aristocracy and that the technology and economies of the time did not support largescale famine relief and there had been a similar but not as severe famine on the British mainland just before. The seductive narrative of a evil group persecuting an innocent victim group, is far more seductive than the grey, messy reality of such events and the reality that the majority of populations concerned had no power or influence anyway.

    The real solution to impoverished groups in western countries is to encourage a culture of hardwork and education as the route to self improvement and a better life. This is the proven route by which these groups prosper. The danger of rewarding victim hood is that it will in practice prevent or delay the group concenred from progressing and developing economically and socially.

    • Lightning Rose says

      Best post of the thread, AJ; and kudos to you, Mr. Hughes!

      Because of all the issues outlined above, I believe “reparations” being raised now is the Democrats’ way of yelling “Squirrel!” to distract their base from noticing their complete lack of progress on actual contemporary problems, as Mr. Hughes outlined. They intend total gridlock as they have no ideas, no solutions, at this point nothing but vitriol against Trump and Republican voters. You will notice that historically, if they can’t get attention any other way, they invariably play either the “race” or “abortion” cards and try to re-ignite the “culture wars.”

      The fact that they’re volubly playing BOTH this early in the game shows their desperation.

      • I’m a Democrat and liberal and I do agree with you; I doubt the people proposibg this believe it has any chancebof passing.
        I wouldn’t vote for Trump in a million years but I do believe this is being brought up now to sour Trump in the eyes of potential black voters that may be inclined to vote for him. If he doesn’t sign it, then people’s presumptions about him being a racist are reinforced.
        But I disagree with your assumption of why this this bill is brought to the forefront now; Democrats don’t need to play on race and abortion to reignite culture wars, race and abortion have been issues for decades and no one plays into the culture war better than Republicans. It doesn’t have to be ignited; from Nixon to Buchanan tlall the way to Trump, the cultural wars have never died and Republicans will never let that happen.

    • Stanley Ketchel says

      Reparations – a policy only rule addicted bureaucrats could love. Who is eligible? Are we going to use the old “one drop” rule from the Antebellum South? That would take a DNA test to see who really qualifies. What about Black immigrants from the Caribbean or Africa – do they qualify? People whose ancestors arrived after the Civil War might question whether they should pay. Also, what about those individuals who had ancestors fight in the Civil War for the Union. In my case I am conflicted. I had three of my relatives enlist and fight with the Union. I had another set of relatives from Canada who headed back to avoid the draft, and then my Czech relatives came after the Civil War. Do I get a discount on my reparation bill?

      My wife is actually more guilty than I am. She had some family members who owned some slaves. My relatives from Kentucky and Tennessee did not – probably not because they found the system repugnant but more likely they were dirt poor. My wife does get a credit because one of her Union relatives took a bullet in the skull at Shiloh and another one was the regimental commander of a Union Regiment that landed in Galveston and declared all Texas slaves emancipated on June 19, 1865 (hence Juneteenth. She had another uncle who commanded a company of Volunteer Colored Infantry.

      I also wonder about my son-in-law. His family came from Cuba in the 1960’s and, according to his DNA he is 2% Black. Will he have to pay taxes to support reparations or will he get them, and did he get here too late to be found guilty. The possibilities are endless – it will be worse than trying to figure out who is on the tribal roles of American Indians. I am sure we will have to set up an entire Cabinet to decide who pays, who doesn’t, and who gets special dispensation

      • Monte Martinez says


        The Devil is always in the details. Well played Sir,

      • Stephanie says

        Gets complicated, eh? I’m “white,” but descended from grandparents dark enough to have been mistaken for black and mistreated by businesses in the American South. Do I have to pay, or do I get a cheque?

        • Ray Andrews says


          Equitron will decide Steph, you needn’t worry. Equitron will calculate your entire Victimhood both intersectionally and historically. And the good news is that Equitron will also take control of your life to insure that all your outcomes going forward are exactly correct. In the future, failure will be impossible for Victims, Equitron will simply forbid it.

      • GRPalmer says

        Call it out for what it is
        A great big Democrat election scam for 2020.

      • Photondancer says

        Setting up such a Cabinet is probably the whole idea. It’s a con to create a gravy train.

    • GRPalmer says

      Call it out for what it is
      A great big Democrat election scam for 2020.

    • GRPalmer says

      He should have called it out for what it is
      A great big Democrat election scam for 2020.

    • Jeremiah says

      I hope he can at least be a contributor on a MSM news show. Typically he’d be a catch that every news show would be fighting for, but I’m worried that especially in the age of Trump the MSM wont let a black man who doesnt follow the PC Narrative on their show. I dont want him to take a job at Fox because then that will forever be the excuse for other outlets not to hire him or even invite him on.

  6. Timc says

    Great comments Mr Hughes! and most were spot on; but why would you vote democrat?

    • Jeremiah says

      Their voices our typically banned from places like CNN, but there are still quite a few liberals who are extremely critical of PC, Identity Politics, and even Russiagate.

      • Jeremiah says

        A good bit of them are actually pretty far to the left. On economic matters especially. But Coleman seems to be an across the line centrist Democrat. I identify similarly only ive dropped the democrat completely and now identify solely as a centrist. A centrist with libertarian leanings on several issues, but definitely not an actual libertarian.

  7. Emmanuel says

    The logic of reparations relies on a dumbed-down view of history, with a clear cut distinction between good guys and bad guys. If you look a bit deeper into the topics discussed, wether it is slavery or colonization, you quickly realizes that it is simply impossible to determine who owes what to whom.

    To stick with the United States case, here are a few facts to keep in mind :
    – Slave owners were always a minority of the population in the places where slavery was legal
    – Free Black and Mixed Blood people could legally own slaves, and wealthier ones often did (same thing in the French Caribbean and many other places)
    – In the first times of the colonization of North America, many poor White people were held in debt bondage, which was de facto slavery, by other White People.
    – Plenty of people from Ireland and Southern & Eastern Europe migrated to the USA after the abolition of slavery in the South : their descendants therefore cannot be viewed as the descendants of slaveowners
    – Slavery was widespread in Central and South America, yet unlike White people, Latino people are never described as the descendants of slaveowners.
    – Slavery was widespread among Native American societies, with some bellicose tribes like the Comanche enslaving on a massive scale White, Mexican and Natives from weaker tribes.

    And yet, the supporters of modern identity politics describe that situation as “bad white people enslaved poor black people so reparations are owed.”

  8. Blackberry Blackberry says

    I listened to this well-reasoned argument against reparations yesterday, and can’t help wondering who issued the booing afterward, Was it Mr. Reparations himself, Ta Nehisi Coates, opportunist extraordinaire? Coates surely has been compensated for the suffering of his ancestors with an unnecessarily guilt-ridden white population flagellating themselves in response to his racist drivel.

    Let’s think cause and effect. What would reparations DO? Answer: NOTHING. The solutions need to come from within. As well, welfare was a form of reparations that basically destroyed the black family. What supports the intact black family today? Apologies and money from white people? Or self-determination?

    Let’s imagine the reparations each black American receives amounts to a hundred dollars –what will that do? Buy some swag with it and continue on your self-destructive way.

    Case study: A friend of mine (white) volunteered her tutoring services in Brownsville, NY. Imagined herself shepherding a kid — let’s call him Jamal — to the other side. Jamal, she says, is a genius. Promising as all get out. BUT Jamal attempted murder, wound up in jail as a teenager. My friend eagerly awaited his release so she could help him. What happened when Jamal got out? Got two women pregnant. When offered training for a higher position, he refused it because he wasn’t getting paid the wage those get after training. What’s Jamal going to do with that hundred bucks, ya think? It’s not slavery that makes Jamal a loser. It’s his culture. And all the money in the world isn’t going to change that.

    • blacksocialist says

      HAHAHA, what an incredibly moronic racist understanding of history. I love this, racist, “Let’s think cause and effect. What would reparations DO? Answer: NOTHING. The solutions need to come from within.”…. The same argument that white racists have been arguing for decades (if not centuries). You are vile and ignorant. It is no wonder that the white racists will come out of the woodwork to support this Columbia University clown. White racists have always supported henpecked stepin’ fetchit blacks that get paid to articulate the racist notions of whites (conservatives and the so called white liberals). See Keyes, Cain, Watts, etc. etc…… Stay precious.

      • Lance says

        “White racists have always supported henpecked stepin’ fetchit blacks that get paid to articulate the racist notions of whites”
        Qualify this statement, please…

      • Monte Martinez says

        I love it when the mask comes off. Anonymity has allowed the rancor in your heart to spill out to a broader audience. Let me state unequivocally that any attempt by the federal government to shake down the taxpayers of an already bankrupt nation to make you rich would cause a revolution.

        Coleman Hughes is venerated on the right for the same reason the Amazing Lucas, Tiger Woods, and the Hodges’ twins and Thomas Sowell are. White Americans want to celebrate genuine black achievement. We love our Black countrymen with whom we share a common identity including our brothers in the armed forces, people we go to church with, our children’s friends, YouTube commentators who will not swill the toxic grievance witches brew.

        Perpetual grievance and ethnic militancy are off putting to most of us. If you were to give every American with a slave ancestor one million dollars, in five years time the ones with any wealth left would be the ones that had wealth before reparations. As a whole Americans of African decent are a broken people susceptible to a host of social pathology’s and rates of criminality that are exponentially higher than any other racial group. That is a cold hard fact.

        • HonestBl says

          .” If you were to give every American with a slave ancestor one million dollars, in five years time the ones with any wealth left would be the ones that had wealth before reparations. As a whole Americans of African decent are a broken people susceptible to a host of social pathology’s and rates of criminality that are exponentially higher than any other racial group. That is a cold hard fact.”

          Harsh but true. Reparations will likely be the biggest waste of taxpayers’ money in the history of this country. Moreover, the people behind this initiative will never accept the failure of their policy, and will likely try to double down. I call it the last act of looting of a bankrupt nation.

      • So @blacksocialist, how do you account for the fact that Asians outperform everyone? The key: they invest in education above all. The same is true of Jewish people, and they have been highly succesful because of it. Black people consider “talking white” “acting white” to be detrimental to their cultural identity, yet these are creations of education. Until black communities begin to invest in education, we will see the same repeating itself. It’s telling you called Mr. Hughes “Columbia University clown.” You cleary don’t value education and that in itself proves the point.

      • Blackberry Blackberry says

        Cause and Effect is “racist?” Talk about ignorant.

      • Defenstrator says

        A racist moron accuses others of being what he is. I wish I could say this was something new, but unfortunately it isn’t. I blame the education system. There really seems to be no emphasis on basic logic or reasoning skills.

      • @blacksocialiast, your argument, if it can be called that, is incoherent. You are used perhaps to stringing together pre-packaged insults in a virtue-signaling orgy without worrying whether you make sense or not. You don’t make sense. Your argument is: “You are moronic, vile, racist and ignorant. Because you are.” I’m sure this convinces everyone.

      • Jeremiah says

        You’re just another jealous loser shitting on an extremely talented young man who’s destined for success you’ll never dream of. Grow up.

      • “It is no wonder that the white racists will come out of the woodwork…”

        How can you determine the race of the person you’re responding to, when all you have to work on is that they disagreed with reparations? This very article is about a BLACK MAN who opposes reparations, and it also mentions that 1/3 of black Americans also disagree with reparations.

        You are the racist for implying that everyone who disagrees with reparations must be white.

        If you really still think that only white people can take this view on reparations, you should really take a look at this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ZFHG8wWC5s

      • Graham says

        blacksocialist: You come across as being extremely racist yourself, against white people. 🙂

  9. Amy says

    As someone who is Puerto Rican and not black American, you do not have the right to speak upon issues that do not affect your demographic.

    • BlackBerry Blackberry says

      That’s a genetic fallacy, Amy. And if it comes out of my pocket for crimes my ancestors did not commit — nor have I for that matter— it DOES affect me. Broaden your perspective beyond your race and we’ll all be better off.

    • michael farr says

      oh amy
      Each of us comes from multiple ‘demographics’.
      You speak for yourself on each occasion.
      Can i speak for all Scandinavian, Irish, Anglo, Celtic, Polynesian peoples.
      Of course i cannot.
      Must i be quiet.?

      • Amy says

        Actually yes, Michael. You won’t see me speaking of the Irish vs. English conflict because I have absolutely no dog in the fight. I wish people who are neither black or white American would stay quiet on issues that aren’t their business at all.

        • DiamondLil says

          Amy: My father was neither German nor Jewish. Were the Nazis none of his business?

        • Marie says

          Amy, I don’t want to live in a world where people are only allowed to care about themselves and the things that affect them. That is an ignorant, selfish and uncaring world.
          I care about others because they are human beings. I care about what happens in our society, because I want the best functioning one. I care what happens in the world, even in countries I don’t live in, because I want all human beings to live in a just world.
          Now you say I am not allowed to care about someone because their skin color doesn’t match mine?
          I think you’ll find that minority populations do not fare well when the majority care only about themselves.

        • Lance says

          When it becomes a matter of US policy, it becomes everyone’s business

        • michael farr says

          Amy, your very attendance and participation at this discussion puts the lie to your words. Quillette readers are a multi-racial multi-ethnic multi-nationality group of persons spread across the world. We welcome you and want you to speak. Your opinion is valued, wrong but valued.

          • Defenstrator says

            I would not go so far to say it is valued. It is accepted that she has the right to say it. Whether it is considered to have any worth depends on how reasonableness and rationality of the argument put forth.

        • @Amy, your logic is peculiar. So you only speak about conflicts or injustice when it personally affects you, when it is “your business”? So as a Jew, I wouldn’t be able to look to you to speak out about my own anti-semitic experiences nor about my ancestors’ murders during the Holocaust because you’re not Jewish? That is a very strange definition of morality.

          You boast you don’t speak about the Irish/English conflict, as these are not your nations. It’s true you’re not a voter in these nations, but you could still speak about it if you felt major injustice were being committed. Or do you believe that no one can comment on any global injustice, eg if I want to speak out about women’s genital mutilation, I couldn’t because I “have no dog in the fight”?

          What is the moral universe you are painting? Everyone “stays quiet on issues that aren’t their business at all” is hardly a recipe for a strong, righteous, and just society.

    • Monte Martinez says


      Every race conscious American abased themselves before Obama who was Kenyan with a white mother. Not exactly the progeny of Mississippi share croppers. It seems also to me, the great black hope of the 2020 election cycle, Kamala Harris, is of Caribbean and India-Indian extraction. She is also rich and married to a white banker yet she too speaks with perfect authority about the plight of the down trodden. What about her “right to speak upon issues that do not affect your demographic?”

    • Rev. Wazoo! says

      Enjoy paying those reparations; if you’re not black then you’re white. Do you really think it’ll come out of the Pentagon’s budget? Say goodbye to subsidized child care, expect food stamps eligibility to be cut not to mention whatever insufficient aid is currently given Peurto Rico.

      Are you saying that reparations don’t affect all demographics? Will they be paid for and by all demographics?

    • Asenath Waite says


      As an American he has the right to speak on any issue he chooses.

      • Amy says

        @ Michael- Thanks for the welcome. 🙂

        I have little interest in replying to everyone else’s responses because they lack any logic and intellectual substance. So I will close with this:

        Hughes misrepresented himself as a Black American when he spoke out against reparations. It’s been disclosed that he is Puerto Rican and plays the black card whenever it benefits him. Now unless Thomas Jefferson shipped his slaves to Puerto Rico at one point (which I highly doubt), it is safe to say that Hughes is a liar, a fraud and ill-qualified to discuss this subject. If you can’t tell the truth about your own heritage, then how can anyone vouch for anything else he says, factual or opinionated?

        It is like me pretending to be Jewish and opposing reparations for Holocaust victims should they seek it against Germany.

        There was also another man who spoke out against reparations at the same hearing, notice that I didn’t go after him at all, because unlike Coleman, he honestly represented himself.

        That said, have a good day all. I probably won’t be back here, so any further replies to me will go unread.

        • Defenstrator says

          I’ll reply anyway. Your a statement lacked both the intelligence and logic you accused others of not having. An argument, by it’s very nature, must be able to support itself regardless of who is making it. If you are correct then the argument will support it, and if you are incorrect the argument will not. Logic is powerful tool that anyone can employ.

          After demonstrating that you do not understand what logic is, even though you claim others lack it, you then go on to make a logical fallacy, the argument of authority. And a rather racist one at that, it is your contention that only people of the correct genetic heritage have the right to speak. This ignores the fact that an argument can be correct no matter who says it, and designates a racial priest class that now has authority based on mystic racial insight that is given only to those self anointed. No, reason and logic are not your strong suit. Do not presume to lecture others about them.

        • @Amy, now you are being racist. Sorry I will call you out here, whether you read this or not. Mr Hughes is Black and Puerto Rican. He is not ‘playing a card.” He is not a liar about his own identity. Very appalling that you say this.

          No it’s not like you pretending to be Jewish. He isn’t pretending to be Black. He is Black. Or do you really believe you cannot be both Puerto Rican and Black? So Obama was a liar who pretended he was Black for political gain and therefore you don’t have to listen to anything he says?

          You are totally entitled to have an opinion about reparations if you are a taxpayer. I’m a Jew with many Holocaust survivors and victims as relatives. If we were both living in Germany, you would certainly have a right to express your feelings about reparations–you’re paying. It affects you.

          For the record, Holocaust reparations are individual, for the person him/herself who was a victim. In some cases property is returned to rightful owners. I haven’t gotten a dime from Germany although their murders certainly impacted my family, as it has for nearly all Ashkenazi Jews. I wouldn’t expect reparations. I wasn’t there. The people paying weren’t the perpetrators. The only thing that would be just at this point is if my property were stolen and then it was returned.

        • Slavery was also practiced in Puerto Rico Amy. In fact if you study slavery in the Americas at all you would understand that slavery in the Caribbean was harsher than all but the deepest of the southern states.

        • GRPalmer says

          Call it out for what it is
          A great big Democrat election scam for 2020.

        • Sphinx says

          And AOC? She’s from Puerto Rico. Bet you love all of her dumb comments. Hypocrisy is the tax that vice pays to virtue.

    • Bessie Smith Has Been Reincarnated into Hillary Clinton says


      Does your comment even make sense? Are you talking about yourself? Or Coleman Hughes, who clearly states that his ancestry can be traced to slaves who belonged to Thomas Jefferson?

    • Last I checked Puerto Ricans are American Citizens. Many are of Euro-indian descent. The original slaves were mainly Indians, especially Caribbean tribes enslaved by the Spaniards. So in other words, it is likely that a Puerto Rican is descendant from both slave and slave owner. I suggest you read Mann’s excellent books 1491 and 1493. I don’t agree with all his conclusions but he plays it right down the middle and does an excellent job (for the most part) of presenting the complexity of the issue without passing judgement and just going where the evidence leads. His thoughts on how yellow fever and malaria contributed to the rise in slavery over the cheaper indentured servitude is very insightful.

  10. E. Olson says

    Some interesting facts related to the reparation issue:

    Union deaths during the Civil War to end black slavery: approximately 360,000

    Approximate number of living former slave owners in US: zero.

    Approximate number of living former slaves in the US: zero.

    Approximate number of blacks in the current workplace who suffered employment discrimination during the Jim Crow era: zero.

    Great society spending to end (mostly) black poverty and compensate for the legacy of slavery and Jim Crow: $20 trillion with approximately 40% going to blacks representing 10 to 15% of US population.

    See a nice summary of the Great Society argumentation in the following:


    • Nakatomi Plaza says

      Neat. Another conservative source linked by you. Conservative think tank disagrees with reparations. What a shocker.

      And you COMPLETELY ignore the legacy of slavery, which is the entire point of reparations. Not saying reparations are a good idea, but you don’t even seem to comprehend the purpose of them.

      • E. Olson says

        NP – I didn’t ignore the legacy of slavery – I merely noted that there are no living slaves or slave owners, which means there is no one to compensate for the then legal practice of slavery. Thus the whole point of slavery reparations is silly to discuss, just as it would be for the living Jews to ask for compensation from the living Egyptians because their very distant ancestors held their very distant ancestors as slaves thousands of years ago.

    • D.B. Cooper says

      @E. Olson

      Thanks for sharing the City Journal article. I gave the first few paragraphs a cursory once over and it at least appeared to be a serious treatment of the subject. Appreciate it.

  11. Rowan says

    Coleman Hughes ,a known Uncle Tom with no qualifications writing for a pseudo scientific,race realist, white supremacist rag like Quillette being called for this testimony is a shock. Glad he was destroyed by Coates over and over again.When confronted with facts,Hughes said he would not comment on those issues.This, my friends, as described by another pseudo intellectual Sam Harris is your prodigy.
    Well done Claire ‘race realist’ Lehmann,When are you hiring David Duke so that he can explain his ‘economic anxiety’ for voting for trump and marching with the very fine people in Charlottesville?

    • northernobserver says

      Rowan, go peddle your racist hate elsewhere, we ain’t buying.

      • Ray Andrews says


        On the contrary. Folks like him should be encouraged to display the quality of their thinking for one and all to admire.

        Seriously, I do wish there were a few quality lefties on Quillette, the ones we see at the moment are a disgrace to the honorable craft of trolling. Come back K, we needya.

    • Cyril Connoly says

      Rowan, you are correct on one point, in that Coleman Hughes has no ‘qualifications’ being as he is an undergraduate in his early 20s. Despite this, I find his arguments to be eloquent, well-reasoned and sometimes persuasive. Would you care to indicate why you believe his argument about reparations is unsound or invalid?

      In my view, to brand Mr Hughes an ‘uncle Tom’, in the context of his evidently brave, conscientious and considered testimony, is blinkered, utterly unreasonable and perverse. Whether or not you agree with the point that he is making.

    • Taraxippos says

      I am writing this from the other side of the Atlantic, I am a Greek living in Germany, my ancestors were neither slaves nore slave-owners, therefore I have no skin in this game (I hope this is the correct expression). As far as I can tell, Coleman Hughes’ arguments seem to be sensible, well articulated and well reasoned, he himself appears to me a civilized and rational. Your posting on the contrary, can only be described as a drivel, incoherent and full of ad hominem accusations. In the six lines you wrote I cannot find a single argument against Mr.Hughes’ statement, only politically correct expletives.

      Sorry, I am not impressed.

        • TarsTarkas says

          The Irish need to pay reparations to the city of Rome for its sacking by the Gauls.

          The Egyptians need to pay reparations to Israel for having held Jews captive.

          The Iraqis need to pay reparations to all surrounding nations for the depredations of the Assyrians.

          Everyone needs to pay reparations to the Basque who were mistreated or conquered by everyone passing through Iberia since the Bronze Age.

          And so on, and so on . .

          • Although the Basque could probably be required to pay some form of reparations since many conquistadors were Basque (as were most of Christopher Columbus’s crews) and the Basque were in charge of the Peruvian silver and Mercury mines, where many thousands of native, African and Asian slaves were worked to death under the most unimaginable conditions possible.

          • Ray Andrews says


            My bill is likely to be large because I’m descended from the Mongol horde. As Asians they are now white so there are no mitigating circumstances and needless to say the things I did from Korea to Hungary form a rap sheet that has never been equaled. Even Hitler was a social worker by comparison. Equitron will decide how much I owe and I’m confident the calculations will be correct.

        • Taraxippos says

          Correct, in Ancient Greece slavery did exist and was practiced, but most slaves were…other Greeks. Slavery was not a status reserved for foreign nations, races or what have you: anyone could become a slave if he or she was taken prisoner in combat, had too many debts or happened to travel with a ship that fell prey to pirates. It happened to Plato, who was not only a famous Philosopher, but also rich and came from a noble Athenian family.

          So, in a way my ancestors were democratic in this aspect too. Now, that would pose a problem if we demanded reparations, we would have to start paying off each other…

          • My father’s family 8s Danish and Norse, descendant of the Vikings. The Vikings often enslaved those they raided and conquered. My mother’s family is Scots-Irish, English and German, all countries the Vikings raided. So would I pay myself reparations? My Norse family also is part Sami, so would my Dad also have to pay himself reparations? If we extended the idea of reparations to the whole world?

    • michael farr says

      Rowan, good to see you reading widely and keeping abreast of the issues.

    • OleK says


      And what are YOUR qualifications to write…well, ANYTHING?

    • Justin H says

      While you’re reply is obviously bombastic, and likely an intent to troll, you did mention correctly that Ta-Nehisi Coates certainly provided a better testimony. Largely this would be based upon his superior expertise in the subject.

    • Monte Martinez says


      You should step outside yourself for a moment and evaluate this comment for its mendacity and tendentiousness. It is no wonder you people venerate Coates whose missives barley qualify as typing,

      Like nuclear radiation, grievance has a half life. Mr. Hughes was correct when he stated that if reparations were to be made they should have been made in 1865.

    • Azathoth says

      Coleman’s no ‘Uncle Tom’.

      As he stated–“even though I’ve only ever voted for Democrats”–he votes faithfully for the masters.

      When people speak about voting against one’s interests, black people’s slavish devotion to voting for the people who fought a war in the name of keeping them as farm animals has got to be the most precise example.

      Democrats called a literal klansman the ‘Conscience of the Senate’–in this century and black people still vote for them.

    • @Rowan, you are a racist. It is disgusting that you are calling a Black man an “Uncle Tom” because you disagree with his reasoned argument. You sound like a fool, and a pompous one at that. Sorry to be harsh here but this is beyond the pale.

    • Jeremiah says

      Oh calm down. You sound like a little ol lady clutching her pearls at the sight of something thst slightly offends her. This website has articles that deals with controversial subjects, but dealing with controversial subjects is nowhere the same as the delusional claims you’re making about this site. This is a site for acadenmics to write seriously on topics that are important but too often ignored by MSM. Ivd never seen a single racist article posted on here. Of course there’s sometimes racist garbage in the comments, but that’s true of almost every single site that allows comments.

    • Defenstrator says

      Racist pieces of shot who smear others with the term due to your own bigotry and stupidly are the worst. Go away.

    • David Duke endorsed Ilan Omar. Or, didn’t you know? He is a totalitarian, too.

  12. This should have gotten a standing ovation instead of boos.

    The left is determined to tear the country apart to get power again.

    And what happens when poor whites, Hispanics, Asians, and others see wealthy and well off blacks getting handed money, while they get nothing. This will lead to dramatic and violent conflict. The left actually knows this too, and doesn’t care, in fact they view the conflict as helping them. This is a sickening position for them to take.

    Can we get back to helping the poor because they’re poor and stop making everything about race?

  13. Curly T says

    Reparations to persons today for what happened to ancestors a few hundred years ago would be impossible to figure out. Just who would be the ones that would be eligible. Then there is this other area of reparations mentioned, to those blacks incarcerated today. This later is caused in part by choices made by the inmates themselves and should not be considered. But now to the solution for reparations. Since it would be impossible to who should get and how much they should get the only solution would structure the reparations so that all would be benefit from them but only indirectly. However not only would the descends of slaves be benefited but the nation as a whole. The educational opportunities in the areas where most of the descends of the live educations is very poor. By improving the education in these areas would benefit the descends of the slaves and a better educated population would also benefit the nation as a whole. It will be no small undertaking but it can be done.

  14. Dominic Allaway says

    Great speech.

    Reparations for the dead is a moral monstrosity.

    Supposed descendants of slaves receiving money from supposed descendants of slave owners implies the latter are somehow guilty. How can the alleged descendants of slave owners be guilty for slavery? They, after all, have never owned slaves.

    Because, implicit in the reparations argument, is the following idea: that guilt can be passed down through the generations. This idea is called ‘hereditary guilt’.

    Hereditary guilt is a monstrous concept. It was found in the totalitarian regimes of the 20th century and is also still to be found in ‘classic’ anti-Semitism with its idiotic trope that today’s Jews – indeed all Jews who have ever lived – are responsible for the death of Christ. It assumes guilt rather than innocence and has no defence. It is a tool of despots, individual and collective.

    A monstrous idea that will cause great damage to race relations if it happens.

    Coleman Hughes is a smart man and a brave man.

  15. Anonymous says

    Mostly a good speech – but it was partially ruined by pandering and cheap shots against the criminal justice system.

    Obviously, there are many problems with the criminal justice system – but the fact that many of the inmates are black is NOT a problem with the criminal justice system.

    That is an issue with the individual choices of those who are incarcerated. If more people who happen to be black choose to commit fewer crimes – there will be fewer blacks incarcerated relative to other races.

    • Justin H says

      That completely ignores the empirical evidence that blacks are convicted at higher rates than whites. Two people commit the same crime, yet one person is more likely to go to jail, and that’s not a problem with the criminal justice system?

      • Asenath Waite says

        @Justin H

        That’s not true if you consider geographical location and prior criminal history. Multivariate analysis is required to understand the full picture.

      • Stephanie says

        Justin, the most recent review of the evidence found that the more relevant factors (like geographic location and prior history, as AW mentions) you take into account, the smaller the racial gap becomes. This last review taking several factors into account found that the adjusted racial gap is barely above statistical significance. There’s every reason to think additional work will find there is no real gap, just like what happened recently with regards to racial gaps in school discipline.

        Seeing discrimination behind every disparity is like seeing the boogieman: if you’re just brave enough to look it square in the face, it turns out there’s no cause for alarm.

      • David George says

        We’ve had a report on this in New Zealand, the conclusion that “systemic oppression” was the cause of high incarceration rates for Maori was largely but uncritically accepted. The report was goal seeking of the worst kind.
        If the same methods and criteria, and the same flawed logic, were applied to female versus male incarceration rates it would also show even more extreme “oppression”. Men make up over 90% of the prison population, are more likely to be sent to prison and receive longer sentences when they do. They need reparations too?

  16. Vivian Darkbloom says

    Watch the video. Watch the guy in the back face-palm several times. It’s weird. It shows the huge ideological gap here. In particular, it seems to cause him great pain when Hughes says “But the people who were owed for slavery are no longer here, and we’re not entitled to collect on their debts.” To me, this seems self-evident. To the guy in the back, I must presume, the people who are owed ARE still here. He IS entitled to collect the debt.

  17. cynthea_sabolich@yahoo.com says

    Questions I didn’t hear asked at that “hearing” – will the descendants of black slaves have to then pay the descendants of those who died in battles that ultimately freed them? Men who left their farms and children and wives to fight and die? Will they finally get the long ignored Thank You from those they freed? Because I never heard it from Oprah. Not once. No statues or memorials for those guys. Will people from the North and their descendants be exempt? Can we hold the democrats who passed and supported and imposed the Jim Crow laws and all their descendants to eviction from elected office?

    But most importantly I have this question:

    If we give money without dignity, can we absolve ourselves and say Here, take these dollars and forever shut the F up about slavery? Because there is another side to this coin that isn’t getting discussed. If the white people of today, many of whose parents didn’t live in America during the days of slavery, pay up, can they then demand that blacks in America shut up and start behaving as if they are accountable today for the tomorrows they create for their future generations? If that is the case, than heck yeah, let’s pay them!

    Do the people who came to America after World War 2 have to pay? Or if they came from an African nation that rounded up their own people to be sold to the slavers?

    See Coleman, I was at a breakfast here in Cleveland Ohio where a very beautiful woman psychologist, a black woman, the daughter of a black preacher who was a founder of a faith based initiative that gets recognized and FUNDED by government, was speaking and she said it was incumbent upon black psychologists like her to learn how to treat PTSD -post traumatic Slavery disorder. And she talked about the ‘oppressors’ and how these poor sick PTSD folks needed to be taught about how to deal with these oppressors and how psychologists needed to be taught to recognize this disorder. Is that what the money will go to? Black church leaders who live in mansions and their very well educated off spring who are the vultures feasting on the carrion of ghosts past, and demanding funding for more and more ‘disorders’ (which, btw, seemed to be created out of well established mental illness)?

    Once we get everyone labeled and defined and categorized, will we then move on to reparations for all the Mexicans who were evicted from their lands back in the 1500 and 1600’s? Will we restore those lands to Mexico? Will Mexico want us to keep supporting them? And then can we go to Spain and demand a restoration of the Mayans and the Inca’s? Or as Liz Warren is now saying, restore the American Indians dignity with dollars?

    And can we then insist that Harvard stand on a street corner and hand out Harvard degrees like candy to anyone who was ever affected by anyone who was ever educated at Harvard? Because, in truth, I sorta like that idea also.

    • Monte Martinez says

      Perfect in tone and content. Thank you

    • Sphinx says

      The Africans directly involved in the slave trade were less than 1% of the West African population.

      • Defenstrator says

        And slave owners were 2% of the population. So they should pay a third. Plus reparations to all the other countries they sold to.

  18. Leo says

    Lol! You can’t make this up. German transplant CLAIRE LEHMANN who’s living as non indigenous in Australia and this Puerto Rican kid Coleman Cruz Hughes, think they have a say on the ADOS discourse.

    • Monte Martinez says

      What pray tell would Kamella Harris or Barack Obama have to add to the ” ADOS discourse” under your formulation?

    • Stephanie says

      Funny how nativist arguments are racist when they involve limiting the influx of new immigrants, but totally fine when the purpose is to delegitimize the position in society of people who were born in the country and whose family has lived there for generations.

  19. Geofiz says


    I don’t think you could turn me into a Democrat but….

    Damn, that was good!!!!

  20. Tim Clark says

    I just finished watching your House testimony. As a white Christian Conservative I applaud you sir. Well done. Never be afraid to speak the truth.

  21. Geary Johansen says

    Great Speech, Coleman Hughes

    But, on the subject of mass incarceration, there needs to be a fully nuanced national conversation. Probably, the most neglected aspect of law enforcement and criminal justice, are LEADs programs (Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion). The West needs to start looking at gang cultures as the largest child-grooming rings in human history. We need to start massively fining (and seizing the property of) drug dealers whilst not putting them in prison, and start incarcerate them for 30+ day sentences for contributing to the delinquency of a minor- only then, can the inter-generational legacy of gang culture begin to be dismantled. Adam Foss, ran a great program in Boston and had a great deal of cross-political appeal, before he chose his side in the culture wars and started talking about white privilege.

    For those not familiar with LEADs programs, they are schemes in which police use their powers normally, but at the point that offenders would normally be churned into the criminal justice system, they are offered a program as an alternative to sentencing. Ideally, the program exists within and is run by the community and preferably is, to a certain extent, staffed by volunteers and partially funded by charitable contributions. Psychology teaches us that, for troubled teens and young men who have grown up in deprived circumstances, the negative experiences of their background makes them all but immune to punishment and loss of dignity strategies, but particularly susceptible to methodologies that allow them to earn the rewards of respect and status for good behaviour. Often, in seeking out dubious older youths in their communities they are in search of these human commodities in the first place, but adopting what is a fundamentally harmful strategy. Interestingly, induction into the military for delinquent youth worked so well in the past, not so much because of the deprivations of drill instructors, but because of the praise that would often be offered for a job well done. For a young man who has never had an admirable older male say a kind word, this must surely have been like catnip for humans.

    Two great things about these programs are that they are a net saving to the tax-payer (of court costs and $50k a year prison costs) and achieve better results in terms of recidivism than incarceration, at least in America and most of the Anglosphere. It’s not about punishment or rehabilitation, it’s about articulating troubled and unruly boys and young men onto a healthier path for their future- like a black or brown Jordan Peterson (the one area where race-based hiring practices actually does make sense, is in community liaison/relations, both in terms of sympathy and knowing when someone is bullshitting you- many of the racial sentencing disparities come from marginalised groups not trusting their white lawyer for the purposes of plea deals).

    On education, I’ve made my views more than clear in previous comments. Check out the Michaela Community School in London and spread the word- only highly structured, strict enforcement of low-level discipline, providing a knowledge-intensive curriculum, can even begin to make up for two parents that are walking encyclopedias and a home full of books- and with kids from these educational programs often three years ahead of their better-off peers, it might tend to suggest that structure and discipline are somewhat lacking in middle-class and upper-middle class homes… Perhaps telling kids they are all special, regardless of what they do, is neither the best parenting nor teaching strategy, after all.

    In one of my previous comments I discussed low digit ratios, which are a good way of determining the level of prenatal testosterone both boys and girls are exposed to in utero. Almost all professional athletes have low digit ratios. Critically, boys and girls with low digit ratios tend to score lower on reading, and higher on maths, and are generally more competitive and aggressive. Through the provision of sport and technical schools, with a curricula of reading which focuses on people doing things (rather than people dealing with people), and which takes advantage of natural aptitudes for maths and engineering- we could not only train a generation of more globally competitive athletes, but also use the threat of the withdrawal of sports time, as a means of keeping what would otherwise be the most unruly and disruptive kids in a population, in education. I would be willing to bet that at least 80% of kids that find themselves in pupil referral units in London (and are 200 times more likely to be involved in knife crime incidents, one way or the other) have low digit ratios. Sports and physical fitness is the one thing known to reliably boost IQ (healthy body, healthy mind) and the evidence suggests that, contrary to stereotypes, the discipline required for sports development cross-pollinates into academic study, with student athletes achieving higher GPAs than usual. Crucially, kids from poor backgrounds tend to see sports as a far more feasible route out of poverty than education and by offering both, you maximise their chances for lifetime success. It’s also not entirely lacking in feasibility, that public education could be supplemented by sports companies and other corporate’s wishing to enhance their brand by sponsoring these schools.

    One area in which I believe reparations could and should be achieved, is in local and federal relief of taxes for small businesses, as well as a shift from regulation to directives- which underscore liability for upholding best practice, without regulatory costs. Wealth redistribution doesn’t work, but creating prosperity does. More and more, as I explore the position of the heterodox, I am lead to believe that nether liberals nor conservatives have all the answers. Worse, in withdrawing from good faith debate of ideas and policy, they have abdicated their responsibility to seek out the best answers to the complex and nuanced problems facing our civilisation, by failing to engage in the competition of ideas. So to you, Coleman Hughes, I say what a refreshing change- always trust the dissenters and heretics more than those who defer to standard narratives, at least then you might hear something original.

  22. Cary says

    Incorrectly dated the 21st. Coleman didnt testify tomorrow.

  23. Griboedoff says

    Makes perfect sense. Demanding reparations is a dumb & dangerous idea, really – as it appends to all the existing handicaps a handicap of victimhood. And what of descendants of the slaves outside the US?.. Should they ask for reparations too? Any sensible person can see the absurdity of such demands. Only professional race hustlers/baiters, aka the Ta-Nehisi Coateses of this world would think otherwise.

  24. Chris says

    Editor, you may want to take a look at the note at the beginning. This article is published June 20th, but says the testimony was given on June 21st, which is the future.

  25. Asenath Waite says

    I don’t think the legacy of slavery or Jim Crow laws are primarily responsible for the current wealth gap between black people and other groups, but I think I would be in favor of some form of reparations in principle. It is true that for most of American history, black people as a race were legally prevented from having the same opportunities as white people, which logically would be expected to have an effect even on the currently-living descendants of these legally-oppressed black people, as the reduced opportunity would translate to reduced ability to pass wealth down to subsequent generations. Of course, there is no real way to accurately quantify the exact degree of this effect.

    Obviously there would be many practical difficulties in actually executing the reparations process, and it would be impossible to truly evaluate how each individual citizen living today has been monetarily affected by the institutional racism of the past. It would be necessary instead to apply a very generalized approach to the problem, if it is going to be addressed at all. I think I would be in favor of making any American citizen who was also born in the US eligible to apply for reparations. To apply, a person would be required to take a blood test, and reparations would be given to anyone who was determined to be at least 25% genetically black. Possibly this could be limited to those demonstrated to be of specifically west African descent. The amount of money provided could just be the difference between the average value of inheritance received by the general US population and the average inheritance of the black US population. Qualifying individuals not listed as dependents on tax returns would receive a check from the government for this amount. This is probably more money than would be deserved for many of the recipients, and less than would be deserved for some. The screening process might allow some people who were not negatively impacted economically by past institutional racism to receive reparations, while excluding some who were. However, it seems like this approach would allow reparations to be distributed to the majority of the descendants of American slaves. This would be a one-time opportunity, provided over the course of, say, one year.

    Long term, I don’t think that this strategy would eliminate the wealth gap between black people and other racial groups in the US, because as I said I don’t believe that racism (past or present) is the primary cause of the existence of this gap currently. It’s possible that the black community could even be negatively impacted in the long run by the distribution of reparations money, as it could exacerbate a victim mentality and also reduce incentive for productivity. As the wealth gap re-established itself over the subsequent generations, this would likely still be attributed to racism. However, at least the government would be able to say that they made an attempt to right past wrongs. Perhaps this would help reduce the general animus of the black community towards the American government and help them to feel more accepted and valued. This in turn might give some individuals a greater incentive to become contributors in society than they otherwise would have had. In some cases the money might be used wisely by responsible individuals who truly might have been successful but for a lack of opportunity due to circumstances beyond their control. Obviously many white people would also fall into that same category, but a case couldn’t be made linking this lack of opportunity to historical discrimination by the American government in the same way that a case could be made for a black person in these circumstances, however weak that case might still be.

    • @Absenth. I have a practical example of why the type of reparations you propose will lead exactly to the scenario you worry about. I grew up on an Indian Reservation and work closely to one today (actually a good portion of my job is on the reservation). The amount of money spent to assist Indians is mind blowing. It is boggling. Free housing, free health care, free education (beyond high school) heck the local tribes even awards money to tribal members who graduate middle school and high school (and pays them a stipend if they go to the Tribal University). Despite this they have a huge high school drop out rate, unbelievable poverty and unemployment (despite having near guaranteed jobs with the tribe). A fellow veteran I serve with on a non-profit board (an African American from the inner city) stated that the first time he visited the reservation he said it was worse then the ghetto he grew up in and almost as and as what he saw in Fallujah in 2004. A friend of mine, a substance abuse councilor on the Reservation I grew up on (and a registered tribal members herself) posted recently on Facebook about another tribal members complaining about running out of per diem money before the end of the month. She suggested to this individual to go work at the Tribal owned casino (which is well ran and the majority of the profits are reinvested in tribal health care, elderly and children care, which many tribal members complain about because they want the profits for themselves). This person she was speaking about got offended because my friend suggested she work for a paycheck (I worked briefly at the casino myself, as did my mother and brothers and they pay really well). Another Native friend of mine (she prefers, as do most to be called Indian or American Indian) gets called apple quite frequently because she got her degree and moved off the reservation. The first friend I mentioned was herself addicted to meth, had two children out of wedlock and was in numerous, one nearly deadly, relationships. She pulled herself out of it, got her bachelor’s and masters and is working on her PhD. She has a (white) husband and a new daughter. She has done good and improved her life, but recently posted about someone accusing her of not being Indian enough.

    • HonestBl says

      “Perhaps this would help reduce the general animus of the black community towards the American government and help them to feel more accepted and valued”

      I wish it was true, but I am sorry to tell you that you are wrong on this one. The current anger /animus comes from the racial gap, the contrast between black and white communities. It does not come from the “poverty”. This focus on “oppression” , and “racism” is a psychological mechanism of African Americans to justify the racial gap. No amount of rational discussions on culture/behaviors will make them change their minds. Everybody has ego, and by extension racial ego. Very few people are willing to accept that their place in society is entirely of their own making.

      Conclusion: Reparations will happen, and it will fail miserably.

      • augustine says

        An adversarial “racial gap” may be reality in some ways, but I think this misses the mark. Your claim is belied by the relationships between blacks and whites in the South vs. large, mostly eastern cities. The elites and activists in either area have very different aims and practices.

        The main aggravating factor here is the manipulation and victimization of blacks by progressive liberals who are overwhelmingly white. The plight of American blacks is their cause, one that profits them in social status and in money. This dynamic has been horribly detrimental to black individuals and especially families.

  26. Monte Martinez says

    Mr. Hughes,

    Let me preface my comments by first stating that I am a great admirer. I watched you on Dave Rubin, read everything you write that I can find online and am generally disappointed in myself because I am not the writer you are. You have a gift.

    I watched your Congressional testimony yesterday and was in general agreement with you except for this: ” We’re spending our time debating a bill that mentions slavery 25 times but incarceration only once, in an era with zero black slaves but nearly a million black prisoners—a bill that doesn’t mention homicide once, at a time when the Center for Disease Control reports homicide as the number one cause of death for young black men.” And this:”Black people don’t need another apology. We need safer neighborhoods and better schools. We need a less punitive criminal justice system.”

    It seems to me that these two ideas are antithetical to each other. You cant have safer streets and less policing. The President’s criminal justice reform will be a disaster for the people who live in the communities all these felons will return to. The reason Back homicide rate is so high is because Black men kill each other at alarming rates in America, as they do in Africa and in he Caribbean.

    White children who attend majority Black schools suffer violence and intimidation every bit as real and dehumanizing as Black children suffered during Jim Crow in the few integrated schools they were then allowed to attend.

    If reparations were ever to have been made post Reconstruction it should have happened when we still had a vibrant industrial economy with a robust middle class. The anxiousness and anxiety the “white” middle class feels about globalization, automation and the loss of cultural hegemony in this country is profound. Asking people to pay increased taxes and accept diminished opportunities for their own families, in times of great economic uncertainty to redress ancient wrongs that few people today have any connection to would be catastrophic. It would turn the ambivalence many “white” Americans feel towards their Black countrymen to antipathy and rancor.

  27. Mark says

    Refreshing to see a Democrat take an unemotional view of an issue. I have concluded that it is “following their hearts” that drive the left. Sounds virtuoso but this emotional take on any issue will in most cases deceive. Look to the lopsided stats of the left, their emotional protests, riots and killings. Unconstrained and void of logic or common sense. Even the lefts politicians find it difficult to over come their emotions in order to work with the other side. Trump dysphoria. Even Rino’s like McCain unable to over come his emotions after being insulted. Didn’t forgiveness used to be a virtue? As fallen men we should not trust in our emotions. We must look outside of ourselves for truth and logic. Thank you Mr Hughes we certainly can work together.

    • Nakatomi Plaza says

      Yes, that paragon of reason and emotional restraint, the “stable genius” that currently occupies the White House. And his supporters and enablers on the right? Yea, deep-thinkers and fair-minded all around, right?

      You’ve got to be fucking kidding with your bullshit.

  28. Morgan Foster says

    The restitution issue is one that strongly resonates with me.

    For years, I demanded reparations from the British government for the loss of wealth and property suffered by family in the Highland Clearances of the 18th and 19th centuries.

    As should be obvious to anyone, the loss affected us for generations, putting me and my own children at a profound disadvantage in our lives. Difficult to calculate, really, but surely as genuine as any disadvantage to African-Americans, who suffered their ancestral injuries about about the same time.

    But I have come to realize with the passage of time that a one-time payment from the British Exchequer would not truly make me whole. It would not truly make up for the centuries of loss and, in the beginning, profound suffering and early death.

    I also began to realize that the dollar amount of any restitution was unlikely to make any meaningful difference in my life, and would only serve to further aggravate the traditional hostility and mistrust that exists between the people of England and the Scots, and isn’t there enough hate in the world?

    I have let go of this. I think it’s for the best. And I think it will be best for African-Americans as well, if they will let it go.

  29. Barney Doran says

    The United Nations should set up a tribunal by which all the people in the world who had enslaved ancestors at any time in history can make claims for reparations. Why is that any more far-fetched than this current discussion? I have already started filling out my claim form – just in case.

    • Tersitus says

      Think you’re on to something here, BD. And just how far back shall we merit the claims of ancestry? Does domestic slavery count? How about indentured servitude? But seriously— this is just fake justice warriors chumming the water. Careful what you wish for.

  30. Justin H says

    I would think that with your meager qualifications you would defer to the dissenting opinion of Ta-Nehisi Coate, who has an ocean of applicable knowledge compared to the your droplet. Is it perhaps the arrogance of youth?

    • Morgan Foster says

      @Justin H

      I have carefully considered the writings of both men on the subject of reparations.

      I myself have an ocean of applicable knowledge on the subject.

      I agree with Mr. Hughes, and I think that Mr. Coates is wrong.

      • David of Kirkland says

        Coates’ writing seems exceptionally racist to me.

        • TarsTarkas says

          But he’s a GOOD racist, which means he really isn’t racist.

          Now how to untangle myself from the knot I twisted myself into . . .

          • Ray Andrews says


            WRONG. Only whites can ever be racist, please try to keep up.

    • Defenstrator says

      Ta-Nehisi Coate is an abject racist driven by open resentment. No one rational, reasonable, moral, or ethical looks to him.

  31. Tersitus says

    It’s gratifying seeing someone— anyone— in the halls of Congress speaking up for the obligations of citizenship— we are all better served by such leaders as Mr.Hughes than by the likes of many of those he sat facing. Too bad that for many in that room, and across America, he was talking over their heads.

  32. Francisco d'Anconio says

    The system that forces Peter to pay Paul will always have the support of Paul. Who wouldn’t want free money? Who cares if it solves anything? If I get $100 today for doing nothing, sign me up. It is that simple, I don’t know how such a program would actually work, but if one is passed, I want the check to be marked Paid In Full, and I want a receipt saying this is the end. You cash the check, you stop being a victim. It is on you now. Want to drop out of high school, have kids you don’t pay for? Great. Your choice. I’m done.

    • David of Kirkland says

      But once you accept the settlement, you have no further grounds to complain. That alone might get some racists to approve, just to pretend that it’s all repaired.

      • Morgan Foster says

        @David of Kirkland

        I think you misunderstand. Reparations are not a settlement.

        Say there is something passed in Congress called “reparations” and it takes this form: a single lump-sum payment made to every African-American.

        That’s not the end of it. People like Ta-Nehisi Coates are not going to say the debt owed by white people has been paid.

        Coates will cash his own check and then say it’s not enough. He will demand more money the following year. And then more money the next.

        These demands for more money will never stop. The debt will never be paid off.

        • Lost Soul says

          @ Morgan Foster I’m going to go out on a limb and say that’s already the case. Welfare. Affirmative Action. Not enough. Demand an apology. Get numerous apologies. Still not enough…

        • Photondancer says

          Given how many times Coates has complained about redlining I’d guess he also wants a nice property portfolio to be handed to him, at least.

        • Ray Andrews says

          @Morgan Foster

          No, and the beauty of the thing is that when the impossible is demanded, when it is decided that the impossible will be attempted, we should hardly be surprised that success is never achieved, which is very good news for the professional Victim — business can only ever get better.

      • TarsTarkas says

        Nope. Once the money’s gone they would come back for more. Because it wasn’t enough. The entire GDP of the USA won’t be enough for these grifters.

      • Ray Andrews says

        @David of Kirkland

        “you have no further grounds to complain”

        If only. Take it from a Canadian, once you have apologized and made reparations, what you have done is legitimize that way of thinking and trust me, it never ends. Every new Canadian PM must re-apologize and further increase the spending on the Indians. There is never an end to Victimhood once it has been been made official.

        • Kencathedrus says

          @Ray Andrews: Canadians are the most inoffensive people on the planet. Nice to a fault. What did they ever do to annoy the Indians?

  33. Will Raper says

    Since Jim Crow laws were passed and enforced solely by democrats it is your party, Sir, that owes the money. Not me.

  34. astral weeks says

    Since it was the British who brought the majority of slaves to American between 1619 and 1776, shouldn’t it be the English who pay the bulk of the reparations?

    • David of Kirkland says

      And since Africans sold them, they’d be responsible too.
      Oddly, the idea is that America got rich on slavery, yet the South never was wealthy.

      • Many slave owners, at the time of the Revolution, including Henry, Jefferson, Mason, Madison and even Washington, wrote about how they felt slavery actually harmed the south and made Southerners lazy compared to northerners (who despite having legal slavery, slavery was not widely practiced outside New York). Adam Smith wrote extensively about how slavery was actually a detriment to economic success. Charles Mann addresses the slave trade and it’s roots extensively in his book 1493. Interestingly enough Europeans and Indian susceptibility to the most deadly form of Malaria and yellow fever contributed to the increase in slavery on southern colonies while less so in northern colonies (where the less virulent form of Malaria led to less European deaths, therefore indentured servants died at a lower rate and the need for slaves wasn’t as acute). Africans lower susceptibility to Malaria (because most lack the Duffy Gene) meant that they survived in areas where malaria and yellow fever were rampant. It’s a quite interesting thesis.

  35. The Other Mark says

    Extremely well written and thought-provoking. I hope that the House Judiciary Committee is actually listening to this logic and understanding that implications of the current proposals. Coleman Hughes is a class-act and this testimony should receive more attention from the media than it has.

    The saying goes that “if you aren’t at least a little ashamed of the history of your country, that you don’t know the history of your country.” I couldn’t agree more. But as Coleman aptly points out, “the people who were owed for slavery are no longer here, and we’re not entitled to collect on their debts.” To allow otherwise is to victimize almost every individual living in America. After all, unless you were born with the proverbial silver spoon, who hasn’t had an ancestor who was exploited, used, indentured, or subjected to someone/something else.

    Reparations wont solve our problems. If you think that there is a divide now, imagine how much further the gap becomes if a program like this is implemented. To the recipient, the settlement will never be enough; and to those who foot the bill, it will always be too much. We cannot even agree to disagree…what makes anyone think that a “historical black eye” like this can be resolved through money?

    • @The Other Mark, this would also open the doors for millions of lawsuits for past grievances. “Your great-grandfather stole my great-grandfathers property, you need to pay.” There is a reason for statute of limitations.

  36. David of Kirkland says

    Reparations for indigenous people (Native Americans, Inuit, Hawaiians) would also be required.
    The problem with reparations is that it would imply the problem is subsequently resolved, like a lawsuit settlement. If given (somehow), the expectation would be that there are no more grievances allowed by blacks for racism.
    It is much wiser to resolve the issues we have today than pretend that a lump sum solves it all.

  37. Omar Conger says

    Let’s send them back to Africa as a means of reparations.

  38. codadmin says

    How would ‘reparations’ actually work?

    What is the dollar amount they are supposed to receive?

    • Asenath Waite says


      “What is the dollar amount they are supposed to receive?”

      I’d say take the amount the average American inherits in his/her lifetime and subtract the amount the average black American inherits in his/her lifetime.

      • Asenath Waite says

        Median inheritance probably makes more sense than mean.

      • @Asenath Waite, median inheritance is $69,000, but it’s skewed since the top 1% leaves 2,7 million while bottom leaves $6,100. In other words, you will have a hard time showing a just cause for a median inheritance as it’s not the reality of most people.

        • Asenath Waite says

          @Suzanna Krizo

          The median inheritance would not be skewed by that disproportionality between the top 1% and the rest, only the mean. That’s why I said median would be better than mean.

          • @Asenath Waite,

            Median inheritance is based on market values of homes and the stock market, and these fluctuate. Let’s say we based reparations on today’s median inheritance, only to have house prices soar and stocks double in value within a few months. Don’t you think people would feel cheated out of all that extra money?

          • Median would only not be skewed if you are assuming a normal distribution. However, wealth is extremely right skewers. Therefore, even the median is right skewed. The median is simply the middle point, but assume the following data set:1, 2, 3 5, 35, 67. What is the median? 33.5. Two of this set are above it, but the majority are below the median. The median is less skewed than the mean (56.5) but it should be noted the only data point that is close to the median is one of the two above the media. In a right skewed distribution, both median and mean will both be right skewed.
            Do you believe that wealth is normally distributed or is it right skewed or left skewed?

  39. In addition to all the other sound arguments against reparations, there’s the slippery slope one. Reparations for gay men and lesbian women? Why not? Reparations for women? Why not? Reparations for men who’ve always been the ones impressed into military service? Why not? Reparations for the disabled? Why not? Chinese in the U.S., Japanese, Irish, Italians, Poles, Mexicans, Central Americans, Indigenous Americans? Why not? If there’s a logic for the first, there’s a logic for all.

    • Asenath Waite says

      @Robert Franklin

      The institutional oppression of black Americans was much more extreme than those other groups, with the possible exception of indigenous Americans. They should probably also receive reparations, yes.

      • Native Americans do receive considerable amount of money from taxpayers, and have numerous programs aimed to assist them to be successful, and even regain some lands they have lost in the past. They have all been utter failures. Poverty, unemployment, suicide, substance abuse, high school drop out rates, sexual abuse, child abuse and negligence (of both children and elders) are massive on most reservations. Money aimed at assisting them to preserve their culture, relearn their culture, increase education etc are generally wasted, often due to disinterest and low participation. Job training is rarely successful, again due to apathy. Throwing money at problems rarely, if ever, ever, solves anything.

  40. In these cases I usually ask if all women are going to be given reparations for the deprivation of opportunities in this country from its inception until ca.1920-1950: the denial of birthcontrol (illegal in most states, if not all, until the mid 20th century), denial of higher education, denial of the right to vote, denial of the right to seek a profession, and it goes. I wonder how much every woman will get?

    • Asenath Waite says

      @Suzanna Krizo

      Women have generally shared in the wealth of their husbands, historically.

      • But it’s not JUST about wealth, or is it? This is exactly why this question is so innane. It assumes that money is the only consideration. What about deprivation of freedom? How many women wanted to be stuck in a domestic role raising (on average) eight children, having no choice to do anything else? The problem with seeing the question only as a financial one is that it doesn’t take into account the human mind that wants to be free to explore the world on its own terms. Slavery isn’t an evil only because it robs a person of the value of her work; it’s an evil because it removes the ability to make personal choices. The same was true of the old coverture laws that made women civilly dead.

        • Asenath Waite says

          @Suzanna Krizo

          I think financial reparations would be just about wealth, yes.

          • Sphinx says

            Some economists argue that women as wives need reparations because their housework is unpaid labor.

        • Asenath Waite says

          @Suzannah Krizo

          That deprivation of freedom would only have applied directly to the people who were enslaved or otherwise legally oppressed. Current-day reparations would be about attempting to rectify disadvantages currently experienced by living people as a result of past unjust laws, which would potentially manifest as a lack of wealth passed down from their oppressed ancestors.

          • @Asenath Waite,

            And how is it calculated? The GI Bill gives benefits for veterans and a disproportionate portion of veterans are black. This again skewes the inheritance issue as veterans gain free education instead of student debt.

          • @Susanna
            Actually it is a myth that a disproportionate amount of veterans are African American. In fact that has never been the case. Even during the Vietnam war, enlistment and draft records show African Americans actually served at a lower percentage then what would be expected based upon their percentage of the population as a whole. In fact, whites have, and remain overrepresented in the military, as have Indians. Hispanics, are also generally overrepresented. African Americans and Asians on the other hand are generally underrepresented in the military. And in the combat arms, African Americans are grossly underrepresented. The combat arms tend to be strongly overrepresented by whites and Native Americans. This is true in every war the US has fought in. In Vietnam the vast majority of African Americans in theater were in combat support and combat service support roles. Their percentage of combat arms was much smaller than would be suggested based upon simple demographics. Today, the combat arms, especially the selective combat arms such as airborne, ranger, special operation troops (and the Marine Corps) have very low percentages of African Americans serving in them. When ranked on percentage of minorities serving in them, from largest to smallest, the four branches (not counting the USCG for simplicity) are ranked as follows, Navy, Air Force, Army and Marine Corps. Additionally, if you look at the Army and the Marine Corps, again the largest percentage of minorities serving in them are Hispanics. Indians are about 5% of the military, but only about 1% of the population. Hispanics and whites (in that order) are also overrepresented compared to their percentage of the population as a whole. African Americans serving in the military are about half of what you would expect based upon demographics. Asians are the lowest represented and far below their share of the population as whole. African Americans have served in every war with distinction, but contrary to myth, they have never been disproportionately overrepresented in the US military, in fact the opposite is actually the historic norm.

  41. Peter Chapman says

    Thank you Coleman Hughes, that was brilliant.

  42. Frank Laureano says

    In this episode of Quillette was we learn that the democrat plantation overseers tolerate no dissent. The heckling of CH was shameful as was the Chariman’s comment. Choosing which policies/ political philosophy/ political party to support is something that we should all do without others assigning it to us based on skin color.

  43. Monte Martinez says

    This link perfectly illustrates the one issue I had with Mr. Hughes testimony.


    Black fraternity at Wake Forest University, infamous for rowdy parties, sues the school because of over policing and profiling of Black students. The police and the school comply. The next year the fraternity throws a rowdy party. Some hood-rat gangsters, not students, crash the part and murder a student athlete. The athlete’s mom sues the university and the police force for the lack of enforcement that contributed to her son’s death.

    Criminal Justice reform will be a huge determent to this nation, the black community in particular. How can civilization survive in a state of complete lawlessness? If crime becomes another Black entitlement how will it be possible to not be fearful of all black people?

    Broader society just can’t win in this situation. The solution will be a continued self segregation by Whites, Asians and Hispanics who find integrated schools and neighborhoods too dangerous for their own families.

    • @Monte Martinez

      Some people want to have the cake and eat it too. And for some reason it’s everyone else’s fault when it’s not possible.

    • Morgan Foster says

      @Monte Martinez

      “If crime becomes another Black entitlement how will it be possible to not be fearful of all black people?

      Although Dallas Police Chief Renee Hall didn’t specifically mention black people, she did, on June 3, publicly state something that made it appear that even she believes that the commission of violent crime is an entitlement.

      “Speaking about two recent homicide cases, Chief Hall said, “There are individuals in this city who have returned from prison who cannot find a job, who are not educated. In those instances those individuals are forced to commit violent acts.””


      The fact that Chief Hall is herself black may or may not be significant. There are white big city police chiefs who run their departments as if they believed the same thing.

      • TarsTarkas says

        They have to go and rob people because the the welfare check for doing nothing isn’t enough to meet their needs. Got it.

        They ought to go to the border and claim to be illegal immigrants fleeing persecution in their homelands. Then the professional sob sisters can provide for them.

    • Bessie Smith Has Been Reincarnated into Hillary Clinton says

      @Lawrence Perhaps the true “houseboy” is the guy who’s dependent on whites to rescue him from himself. The guy who rants and raves over the apology he hasn’t received though he’s it’s been said numerous times in numerous ways. The “houseboy” can’t let go of the past as an excuse for his own failures. He’s a slave to blame, no master of himself, a caricature.

      Slavery made blacks dependent on whites for their food, lodging, and work.

      Blacks are now saying they are dependent on whites to fix problems that they can’t seem to fix themselves with yet another apology.

      I know. “Houseboy” to you means serving the master by serving up his arguments. Please explain why you need more from whites. Can’t you just do whatever you need to do for yourself?

  44. I believe that reparations is a terrible idea in principle (judging people collectively rather than individually) and in practice (figuring out who to pay). However, I have an idea that might even convince me to support them: The U.S. government will pay reparations to the descendants of former slaves on the recognition of past wrongdoing; therefore, there will be no more need of racial quotas or incentives, and we shall henceforth live in an officially colour-blind society in which the government takes no official notice of a person’s skin colour, ethnic background, or race.

  45. Stephanie says

    Well said, Mr. Hughes. Hopefully putting your concerns into language the Democrats understand will help them see the light on this issue. If they don’t, and continue to pursue policies and rhetoric aimed at Balkanizing society, I wonder if you’ll consider joining the Republican team? If your reception in the Quillette comments is any indication, you’d be warmly welcomed.

    In any case, congratulations on this feather in your cap, and thank you to Quillette for amplifying the voice of this thoughtful young man.

  46. Michael A Corley says

    I watched your testimony live. I have schizophrenia – I know what discrimination really is. In the modern era (last 80 years), schizophrenics have been force castrated (both in the United States and in Nazi Germany), incarcerated, institutionalized, experimented on, held in concentration camps, starved for experimentation (in Soviet Russia).

    We have a violent crime victimization rate 11x the national average, yet they want to put us into databases so we can’t have guns. Democrats want a national registry. Republicans blame us for the violence of “undiagnosed” individuals in mass shootings, despite lack of evidence that they had schizophrenia (they usually are just twisted depressed people on SSRI’s). In states like Connecticut, the police can detain a schizophrenic in a mental institution without cause (the reason can simply be you are acting funny) for up to 14 days, giving you no access to an attorney until judicial review is available. 99/100 of those judicial reviews do not result in a release if you request it.

    That’s in the United States. So, when I hear reparations for blacks, while I feel empathy, I do not think it is an actual solution. It doesn’t solve any of your problems. It doesn’t address any of your needs. You’ve already received an apology, which is more than we will ever get.

    • Annie Paper says

      Thank you for writing, Mr. Corley. My oldest son has schizophrenia, my grandmother had it, I have had two very close friends who have it, and our streets are full of people who have it. It is hard. Respect to you, everyone who survives, and everyone who doesn’t.

  47. Terminal Man says

    To no one in particular. Fools. You guys leave me behind in short order when it comes to argument but I can tell you from experience that it has not all been a one sided display of hate from one side towards another. Yes, without facts or studies to support, I’m stating that for years, decades even, the shift has been from Jim Crow to what I call J. Doe in that the other side perpetrates MUCH more crime against those who once committed crimes against them. J Doe because I suspect the coroner, at least initially, has to use something to ID the dead bodies because the wallets are nearly always taken.

  48. Pingback: My Testimony on Reparations | The American Tory

  49. Jane says

    Hi! here in the North Country in NY state, we are all mostly white and in the public school system, slavery is a SIDE BAR in the American History text books. Literally a side bar to states rights etc. Not one young person I know has heard of what happened in the 1920s in Tulas OK.

  50. Itzik Basman says

    In not many words Hughes puts the case against reparations as clearly, substantively and succinctly well as it can put. Hughes is a marvel, so smart, wise, clear thinking and impressive, not to omit to mention as as an undergraduate.

  51. Nakatomi Plaza says

    This isn’t a pressing issue on the left. A subset of people argue for this, but most on the left are not interested. Kamala Harris, as far as I know, is the only candidate to entertain this idea, and that’s only because she’d screwed over her black constituency so badly that she needs to save face somehow. Reparations is just a big, stupid distraction that will never become a serious policy proposal, though it is working perfectly as a sideshow.

    Entertaining the fantasy of reparations allows the left to pretend like they care about equality and injustice while plowing full steam ahead with an economic and foreign policy agenda that is virtually indistinguishable from the right. And we fall for it every goddamed time…

    • Kencathedrus says

      @NP: I agree with you. I used to be left-wing(ish), but got mentally weary of the cognitive dissonance. After years of teaching at liberal universities I realized that PC culture and identity politics was a way for many people to virtue-signal while feathering their own nests – the kind of people who are for open borders but pay their Filipino nanny below minimum-wage salaries.

      Once the Left adopted racial and sexual issues, they could conveniently drop the working class poor (which actually includes all races and sexualities) and yet still be seen as the good guys simply by declaring their support for the victim group du jour. Identity politics is a fast-growing cottage industry that attracts all kinds of unscrupulous types.

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  53. GRPalmer says


    Seriously? How much and to who?

    The US Govt will spend more money trying to find who qualifies and for how much.

    Or is it that the Democrats want the compensation to be paid by West African National Govts because previous African Govts captured and sold other Africans to Arab slavers who sold them to Europeans?

    Or is compensation from the previous pre civil, war slave owners in America? That would be the Democrat plantation owners and various members of the Democrat run KKK.

    Remember how Bill and Hillary Clinton proudly flew the “STARS and BARS” during the POTUS election campaigns.

    Remember how POTUS Obama never removed one Confederate Statue put up by the Democrat KKK.

    What about compensation to indigenous people called Native “Americans”

    What about compensation for the various tribes who were displaced using violence by other tribes?

    Note the “Black Hills” were not always sacred or owned by their current tribe who forced the previous owners to move on and claimed them for themselves.

    Compensation for the families victims of Aztecs too?

  54. Check out Coleman Hughes on Dave Rubin. This young man is going places except democrats will never embrace him. I, of course, disagree with his big government solutions but he is articulate and rational.

    This reparations scam is of course an issue to placate the increasingly disgusted black wing of the democrat party. (Dirty secret: they don’t like illegal immigration, either) But it’s opening up a can of worms they did not contemplate. Most people, under 60, have little historical education about slavery, in general. Now, the conversation has turned to how reparations can be made fair. This might not have been a great campaign issue for votes now with social media. Too much education going on. Also, can welfare and AA be considered reparations our preceding generation paid?

    One group mentioned in several discussions were Somali refugees. They are descendants of some of the most brutal and barbarian slavers in the world for centuries. Both black and white victims!

  55. DrZ says

    Mr. Hughes, your message will not be heard by Congress because you make too much sense.

  56. Carrie Frier says

    Mr. Hughes- Have you considered aligning yourself with an independent party. I think you could make a big difference in our political world in a time that is very much needed.

  57. Ray Andrews says

    Hughes for president. No, really, Hughes for president. It’s not to early to start planning. Give me a non-Patreon way of making a contribution and my money is in the wire.

  58. Ray Andrews says

    BTW, not that any more needs to be said, but I’d make an offer to Coates and the other reparationalists: Ok, you want history repaired. Fine. Were history to be repaired, you would not exist at all, so, firstly, we’ll offer a million bucks to the estate of any Victim of Slavery who volunteers to kill himself since, obviously were your black ancestors not moved to America you’d never have been born.

    Second, you claim Victimood in a real and present sense. Well then, apart from the fact that you’d not exist at all had the past been different, let’s suppose that some sort of virtual Ta-Nehisi could be imagined. This Ta-Nehisi exists in a parallel universe where he remains in Africa. Perhaps virtual Ta-Nehisi lives in Somalia, or in the slums of Lagos or he has just been burned alive by BokoHaram in Mali. We need to ask virtual Ta-Nehisi if he wants to be dropped at random somewhere in Africa, or if he’d rather prefer his life of Victimhood in America — tears and all.

    Lacking a virtual Ta-Nehisi we can make the same offer to real Ta-Nehisi: here’s your cheque, but you renounce your citizenship (who wants to live with racists, anyway?), and will be departing for Africa shortly. We’ll even let you choose your destination, whereas virtual Ta-Nehisi wouldn’t have had that option. And virtual Ta-Nehisi wouldn’t be getting a cheque either, but let’s be generous, it will be worth it never to hear from TN ever again.

    The luckiest Identities on the planet are the stone-age tribes who’s lands were colonized. They now live as citizens of Western democracies with all the benefits. Here in Canada we still have lots of wilderness. Any Indian who wants to go back to a stone-age existence is quite free to do so, yet none of them do. Why would you when you can have all the rights of citizenship in a modern technological civilization, with added perks and bonuses, available only to Victims, as well?

  59. Pingback: My Testimony on Reparations - Sovereign Nations

  60. Harry Thurmond says

    One of these is different from the others:

    Native Americans. – apology/restitution Paid
    Aleutions Islanders – apology/restitution Paid
    Japanese Americans – apology/restitution Paid
    African Americans. – apology/restitution?


    • Morgan Foster says

      @Harry Thurmond

      African-Americans: 150 years of apologies; 50 years of affirmative action.

      Restitution: paid in full

      • Denny Sinnoh says

        The welfare state, public housing, food stamps, affirmative action, lower academic standards, special scholarships, etc are all a type of reparations

  61. maxmagnus says

    what you have done requires a lot of courage.

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  63. michael spurek says

    You said it without using these words, no amount of money can repay the damage done. Reparations are due, but cannot be paid with dollars, programs, etc. Ignorance and stupidity are our real enemies, and acknowledgment of the damage done is only a first step. Reparations will not remove racism, and this fight will be fought by many generations to come as long as ignorance and stupidity about race persist.

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  65. Raul M says

    Isn’t this bill just to study reparations? What is wrong with that? Reparations can come in many ways but if we don’t even consider them – that is the real insult to African Americans.

    • Morgan Foster says

      @Raul M

      “If we don’t even consider them”?

      I am satisfied that most adult Americans are aware of the issue and have, in fact, considered reparations.

    • Outta Here says

      African-American concerns have been studied. Ad nauseam. Problem is, we’re not allowed to discuss the findings. It’s as Hughes says in a few interviews — those who benefit from Affirmative Action (a form of reparations if ever there was one) are not the poor black Americans we’re all supposed to be so concerned about — a mere fraction of the U.S. population.

      You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.

  66. Just asking, why don’t all these counter-Slavocracy Restitutions Blacks ever oppose anyone else getting financial accolades? Do they oppose Jews getting monies after they enslaved Blacks? If not, when should their holocaust awards end? Karma: Lazy, sodomite men should have never dragged Blacks here.

  67. How did a HETEROsexual BlackMan come up with “Quillette” as a webpage name sake? All Blacks in the EweSA are coopted pawns, monkeys, boys–lynched to not have independent thoughts. Is that namesake for Queer-Gillette? I’ll bet all anti-slavocracy Restitutions Blacks date, are married nonblack, or metasexuals…betcha?

    • Skep-O-Punk says

      Seek professional help. Perhaps many long years spilling your guts to a Shrink while on a couch may have some positive impact … doubtful, however.

    • Kevin Herman says

      For the life me I dont know why so many jews are liberal. Most blacks and the left hate there guts. This clown proves my point. He goes right to the evil joos canard right off the bat.

  68. ALAN WHITE says

    In the final analysis, if you do not have the means to stop an invading force, you are vulnerable to being sold into slavery, or killed.

  69. John Mikulsky, Esq. says

    Dear Mr. Hughes,

    Thank you for your courageous statement before Congress. It was a thoughtful analysis which, as you pointed out in the beginning, was going to be reviled by both sides.

    This country needs more people like you, who are willing to speak up regardless of the misdirected enmity it generates.


  70. Bravo Mr Hughes! I would almost like to see “Reparations” passed just for the amusement of seeing how someone like Tiger Woods would be handled. Would he get positive marks for being part Black and part Amerindian and then negative marks for the temerity of also being part Asian and part White? Would it be proportional? Would he then owe money? The mind reels…

  71. Randolph frederick Gusler says

    funny watching the speakings of all those who think hr40 is good for all blacks. well there are many holes in this problem for something more free government handouts for free . why are not all those blacks who can prove their direct descendants to a slave why not sue the african government and the tribes who sold them into slavery. we never hear about that. we never hear about the dutch being sued for transporting them here and around the world. president lincoln got shot down with his damn 40 acres and a mule well the theory is it is his land to give but the stolen lands of the american indian.if you want your 40 and a mule and free handouts you dont want to work for go back I never owned slaves nor did any member of my family at any time and dont forget the first slave owner was black

  72. Native Americans should get first dibs on reparations. Then, the LGBT community would also like some kind of reparations. And then, African-Americans from every nation!

  73. Skept-O-Punk says

    Coleman Hughes, I don’t know if you’re read this, but your comments on this panel only solidified my already extremely high respect for you and your amazing mind. You were outstanding! It is unfortunate that those running the show in that circus arena commonly referred to as “The House” lack the clear-thinking, common sense, integrity and — dare I say it — IQ that you have.

  74. Great job Coleman. One last thing you have to do to put the cherry on the cream is to vote for Andrew Yang. All other demotards keep beating this reparation dead horse. OK, my ancestors were serfs in Europe, treated pretty much like slaves or worse. They were not free people by any means. Should I also ask reparations from the EU? Should most if not all whites in the US do the same? I doubt there are many European descendants in the US at the moment which don’t qualify! So yeah, let us all who are descendants of oppressed people ask for reparations. How pathetic is this!

  75. Brad G says

    The concept of reparations is evil frankly. Only the most progressive parrot who cannot think beyond the most popular trope of the day would find this idea palatable. Who is alive today that is responsible for slavery? Who owned a slave? And how many who are promoting the idea of reparations now, can say with certainty that he/she wouldn’t have owned a slave when it was common practice? How is it that anyone thinks he can cleanse his soul by punishing himself and others who had nothing to do with what is by today’s standards an atrocity? This absurd idea, of making people who live now, pay for something they have no connection to, essentially deprives them of free will, of individuality — and is a nightmarish concept period. It won’t change anything, other than to make progressives feel good about having done something that doesn’t do anything to erase history, or amend it. My advice is to stop being such a bonehead. If this is the fruit of progressive thought, it obviously hasn’t progressed much since slavery was popular.

  76. Pingback: Coleman Hughes Leaves the Dem Plantation – 'Nox & Friends


    The root of the problem is African-american culture which does not value education and self-discipline. Government should contract with the Chinese to run boarding schools for ghetto kids and any parent who wanted to send their kid(s). There they would learn self-discipline and correct thinking.

  78. Kevin Herman says

    Coleman you need to stop voting for Democrats immediately. I was disappointed to see you have never voted for anyone but a Democrat. I don’t know how you can square that away with a lot of your writings here. Not that Republicans are all that much better mind you. Just dont vote or write in people if you cant stomach voting R. But progressiveism is a dead end and the modern Democratic party is lock step with it. Excellent remarks to congress it must have taken a lot of guts to do so. However I cant help but feel the thing whole was a circus. As unfair as reparations would be. And it would be borderline tyranical I would happily agree to them if I thought it would improve race relations in this country one iota. It would not.

  79. Reparations for pre-1865 chattel slavery would require legislation. Legislation would require administration, Administrators would write regulations. Regulations would at some point have to determine who is eligible on the basis of “race” and family history of bondage. This would be an in-tractable problem open to fraud and inflated claims.

    This exercise would be a gigantic governmental boon-doogle that would inspire resentment and racial animus. It would institutionalize “victim-think” that is a stop on the road to failure. It is a loser with the electorate.

    Life isn’t fair. Politics ain’t beanbag. If you want to stabilize Trump’s base, support reparations.

    • Morgan Foster says

      @Don Hope

      “Legislation would require administration …”

      Ultimately, this is where much of the reparation money would go. Salaries and benefits for tens of thousands of young Democrats with Humanities degrees in Victim Studies.

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  81. Rev. Wazoo! says

    Perhaps it’s time to recognizer the “reparations discussion” – and the House Bill to constitute a committee to study it – for what it is : a cynical ploy by politicians who have zero intention of making good on their rhetoric but see political advantage in tantalising a key demographic of their traditional base.

    It’s getting high-profile attention from them because they’ve realized that if even a quarter of that demographic votes elsewhere they’re in big trouble electorally. Losing a significant portion of previously safe demographics is precisely the nightmare theoretically established parties have been savaged by, especially on the theoretically center-left.

    Witness Italy, Germany, Denmark etc and even a France where an entirely new center-right party swept the presidential and legislative elections. They are scared shirtless, have no intention of passing reparations legislation but are exploiting it to shore up one of their bases.

    Especially after having alienated most working-class women and men in the Mid-West, giving Trump the Presidency, on the back of Obama/Sanders voters who just couldn’t stomach a machine candidate offering them nothing or worse.

    The numbers are tight and fear of even slight erosion in a previously 90% solid bloc is producing duplicitous teasers to prevent that erosion.

  82. Is this reparations for slavery or Jim Crow? Slaves couldn’t buy houses or have careers, only free people could do so. Since this is an argument about economics not personal freedom, it has to be about segregation. And if it’s about segregation, then every group that has experienced segregation (women, the Irish, all Asians, Native Americans, (add your pick)) has the right to also receive reparations.

  83. Kudjo Adwo El says

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