Making the Case for Reparations: During his 1984 and 1988 presidential campaigns, Reverend Jesse Jackson made reparations to African Americans a central plank of his platform. Now, decades later, the issue is back in the national conversation: Several 2020 candidates support the idea, and today on Capitol Hill, the House held a hearing on H.R. 40, a bill that aims to create a committee to study and develop proposals for reparations. But how long will this momentum hold?
+ In his testimony before the panel, the writer Ta-Nehisi Coates, whose own work for The Atlantic helped reignite the national conversation about the issue, offered a rebuttal to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who said yesterday that present-day Americans should not be held liable for something that happened 150 years ago. “We are American citizens, and thus bound to a collective enterprise that extends beyond our individual and personal reach,” Coates said. Read his full congressional testimony here.
A Day to Remember: Juneteenth, which commemorates the abolition of slavery in the United States, is a day of contradictions, writes Vann R. Newkirk II: “The idea of reparations is somehow both avant-garde and extraordinarily old. Its reemergence stems from a broad reassessment of the trajectory of black America’s material conditions, and a realization that even with the extraordinary efforts of individual black people and some political and economic protections, true equality always appears just out of reach.”
Take Two: Trump’s Tuesday-night rally in Orlando, where he “officially” launched his reelection bid, was markedly different from his first presidential announcement back in 2015, writes Elaina Plott, who interviewed Trump supporters at the event: “To attend his second [announcement] is to have conversations with steadfast loyalists who,” she writes, “now represent the power of the incumbency.”
Making the Most of It: In our July 2019 issue, Arthur C. Brooks explores how to handle professional decline—which will likely hit you sooner than you think—and outlines four specific commitments one can make to stay happy later in life. “Decline is inevitable, and it occurs earlier than almost any of us wants to believe,” he writes. “But misery is not inevitable.”
Senator Cory Booker greets the actor Danny Glover before they testify about reparations during a hearing on H.R. 40 before a House panel. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP)
Ideas From The Atlantic
There Is No Middle Ground on Reparations(Ibram X. Kendi)
“These Americans claim they oppose racism and reparations. They support the drive for economic equality between the races at the same time they are pumping the brakes on the only foreseeable policy that can dramatically close the growing racial wealth gap.” → Read on.
Legal Abortion Isn’t the Problem to Be Solved(Pasquale Toscano and Alexis Doyle)
“Beyond undermining women’s autonomy unfairly, bans on selective abortion also worsen the stigma against people with disabilities—while doing nothing to address the practical issues they and their families face.” → Read on.
Los Angeles Is in Crisis. So Why Isn’t It Building More Housing?(Reihan Salam)
“While the Garcetti administration was helping to move 380 people off the street each week, some 480 others were joining the ranks of homeless Angelenos. Put another way, until someone does something about the city’s larger housing crisis, homelessness will be as much a part of the city’s landscape as Runyon Canyon.” → Read on.