Since Ta-Nehisi Coates's cover story on reparations was published this month, he's been asked repeatedly whether he really thought reparations for African Americans were politically feasible. His answer has been consistent: maybe not, and certainly no time soon.
But it seems my colleague overlooked one important asset for the pro-reparations side: elected officials' short attention spans. That's how Dallas County, Texas, ended up adopting a resolution this week that backed significant monetary awards for the victims of racism. And in the Old Confederacy, no less!
Here's what happened: The Dallas County Commissioners Court* was voting on an item labeled in their agenda as the "Juneteenth Resolution," referring to the annual commemoration of June 19, 1865, arrival of U.S. troops in Texas to free slaves after the Civil War. John Wiley Price, the only black member of the commission and evidently something of a character, submitted the resolution, which for some reason wasn't sent around to commissioners ahead of time, nor was it posted on the commission website. Instead, Price read it aloud as his colleagues ignored him, perhaps playing tic-tac-toe or checking Twitter. Then the resolution came up for a voice vote and passed unanimously. (You can watch it here, starting around the 20-minute mark.)