Ta-Nehisi Coates’ response to Cliven Bundy’s racist comments
Let’s be honest, 70% of teams in NBA could fold tomorrow + nobody would notice a difference w/ possible exception of increase in streetcrime
— Rep. Pat Garofalo (@PatGarofalo) March 9, 2014
The following post was written by Ta-Nehisi Coates, a writer for “The Atlantic.” It is in response to controversial comments made by Cliven Bundy, a Nevada rancher who was in the news recently for having won a two-decade long fight with the federal government for refusing to pay over $1 million in grazing fees after it was discovered that his cattle were grazing on federal land. The article was originally published under the title, “Cliven Bundy Wants to Tell You All About ‘the Negro.'”
By: Ta-Nehisi Coates
A couple days ago Jonathan Chait asserted that modern conservatism is “doomed” because it is “rooted in white supremacy.” The first claim may or may not be true, but there’s little doubt about the second. Whether it’s the Senate minority leader claiming that America should have remained legally segregated, a beloved cultural figure fondly recalling how happy black people were living under lynch law, a presidential candidate calling Barack Obama a “food-stamp president,” or a campaign surrogate calling Barack Obama “a subhuman mongrel,” the preponderance of evidence shows that modern conservatism just can’t quit white supremacy.
This is unsurprising. White supremacy is one of the most dominant forces in the history of American politics. In a democracy, it would be silly to expect it to go unexpressed. Thus anyone with a sense of American history should be equally unsurprised to discover that rugged individualist Cliven Bundy is the bearer of some very interesting theories:
“I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro,” he said. Mr. Bundy recalled driving past a public-housing project in North Las Vegas, “and in front of that government house the door was usually open and the older people and the kids—and there is always at least a half a dozen people sitting on the porch—they didn’t have nothing to do. They didn’t have nothing for their kids to do. They didn’t have nothing for their young girls to do.
“And because they were basically on government subsidy, so now what do they do?” he asked. “They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton. And I’ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn’t get no more freedom. They got less freedom.”
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