We pay for things all the time that we didn’t do. I wasn’t around when World War I happened but we’re still paying pensions. That had nothing to do with me, but I understand that I have to pay into that. That’s sort of what government means. If a state dies with every generation, what kind of state is that? When people talk about debt, or the state of Social Security, they talk about what kind of world are we leaving to our children. They understand that the country continues, that the country was here before us and that it will be here after we die.
Ta-Nehisi Coates, author of the Atlantic’s June cover story on reparations, responds to four common arguments against them.