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Ta Nehesi Coates’ Bernie Sanders Brain Fart Isn’t Even About Reparations

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Bruce A. Dixon

When favored spokesnegro Ta Nehesi Coates urgently warns us that Bernie Sanders doesn’t support reparations, but doesn’t mention that his presumed candidate Hillary doesn’t either, or that the Green Party candidate Jill Stein does, it’s easy to see Coates doesn’t really want to talk about reparations. Coates just objects to the popularity of socialism, and wants to spread the old lie that socialism and socialists ignore the workings of white supremacy.

Ta Nehesi Coates is a black Baltimore born writer who enjoys prominence chiefly cause the good white folks at the Atlantic give him a column. For the moment, Coates lives in France, and earns his keep dispensing timely wisdom upon us all from across the water.

Coates’ latest transatlantic brain fart blasts Bernie Sanders for not embracing reparations. Since changing his own mind or reparations in a long June 2014 Atlantic piece, Coates is presumably qualified to speak on the subject. But in nine hundred words Coates never mentions that his own presumed candidate Hillary Clinton also has no use for reparations, or that the Green Party’s presidential candidate Jill Stein does endorse reparations.

So Coates’s piece is really not so much about reparations, as it is about Sanders or even something else.

Sanders doesn’t endorse reparations, Coates wants us to believe, because Sanders is a socialist, and socialists according to Coates downplay, ignore or deny the existence of racism and white supremacy. For the entire second half of the piece this is where Coates stays and doubles down, repeating nonsense claims that that socialists can’t see white supremacy, so presumably black folks in motion ought to avoid it, and calling Bernie Sanders “an avowed socialist”.

That pretty much sums up Coates’ weekly dose of disinformation, dispensed from across the water, courtesy of his sponsors.

  • Number one, stay away from Bernie cause he ain’t for reparations.
  • Number two look out for those socialists too, cause they make a point of ignoring and denying the role of white supremacy..
  • Number three, Bernie Sanders didn’t return my call to explain himself

Even as conventional neoliberal wisdom goes, this is pretty lazy stuff, which Mr. Coates could really have done in three tweets instead of nine hundred words. Maybe his patrons at the Atlantic pay him by the word.

Nice work if you can get it.

In the real world, not the fantasies of Mr. Coates, Bernie Sanders is no kind of socialist. Socialists stand for the working class, the poor, the common man and woman regardless of nation and color. Bernie’s socialism stops at the water’s edge, as he endorses apartheid in Israel, the Pentagon budget and the global empire of hundreds US bases and vast military industries that eat half the nation’s wealth annually. This makes Bernie no friend of the poor anyplace outside the US and not so much the friend of the poor inside it either, really no kind of socialist at all. Bernie know this, and has rarely if ever called himself one in recent years. But he allows, even encourages us to call him that this year because socialism is popular, even though Ta Nehesi Coates thinks it should not be.

As long as they keep paying Mr. Coates, we’ll be treated to more of his very conventional wisdom. Get read for it.

For Black Agenda Report, I’m Bruce Dixon. Find us on the web at


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Black Westchester - News With The Black Point Of View is an online news magazine for people of color for Westchester and the Tri- State area of New York at every economic level. Our mission is to promote the concept of “community” through media.
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