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I've talked quite a bit about this deep-seated sense that the wealth gap materialized out of natural market forces. Concurrent with that is the deeply flawed notion that any kind of black advancement that can be tied to a government program is unnatural social engineering.


Melissa Harris-Perry, subbing for Rachel Maddow, gives about the best summation I've seen on television of this concept. Government -- at all levels -- was indispensable in the creation of the racial wealth gap, and specifically in keeping black wealth significantly lower then white wealth. Any grappling with the history reveals this to be, not a unintentional side effect, but the entire point.

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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle. More

Born in 1975, the product of two beautiful parents. Raised in West Baltimore -- not quite The Wire, but sometimes ill all the same. Studied at the Mecca for some years in the mid-'90s. Emerged with a purpose, if not a degree. Slowly migrated up the East Coast with a baby and my beloved, until I reached the shores of Harlem. Wrote some stuff along the way.

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