What is Coates trying to express about reparations and his views on reparations with this article? https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/01/tanehisi-coates-reparations/427041/

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teachsuccess eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In this article, Ta-Nehisi Coates's main argument is that the conversation regarding reparations is necessary and that it ought to be part of the national dialogue. He argues that the era of slavery mandated discrimination against African Americans. Coates maintains that this state of affairs continues to be augmented by present-day inequities.

So, Coates is in favor of Congress exploring the possibilities of paying reparations to the descendants of slaves. He supports Representative Bill Conyers's Commission to Study Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act (H.R.40). The Commission aims to discuss the effects of slavery and its impact on present-day African American citizens and to suggest appropriate remedies for the redress of grievances. 

In his article, Coates suggests that the conversation will be a difficult one. He cites the 2014 YouGov and Huffington Post polls stating that majorities of white Americans oppose reparations compensation. Although whites acknowledge the suffering of slaves, they also point to the stability and freedom present-day African Americans enjoy. 

For his part, Coates maintains that there is more to the conversation. He wants to address how past discriminatory housing policies negatively affected the advancement of African Americans after the era of slavery. Because the Federal Housing Administration refused to back home loans to African Americans from 1934 to 1968, black families were consigned to live in under-developed and undesirable neighborhoods. Coates maintains that the consequences of such disastrous red-lining policies continues to be seen in wealth discrepancies between white and black neighborhoods today.

Coates acknowledges the conflict surrounding how reparations installments to African Americans should be calculated. Despite this, he remains hopeful that the subject of reparations will continue to be part of the national conversation.

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