Ta-Nehisi Coates gave his testimony in front of the House Judiciary Committee on a Congressional hearing on reparations and responded to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's remarks that reparations were "not a good idea" as no-one living is responsible for slavery.
"I don't think reparations for something that happened 150 years ago when none of us currently living are responsible is a good idea," the Kentucky senator told reporters. "We've tried to deal with our original sin of slavery by fighting a civil war, by passing landmark civil rights legislation. We've elected an African American president."
But Coates decided to enlighten the ignorant senator on a few things:
"We recognize our lineage as a generational trust, as inheritance, and the real dilemma posed by reparations is just that: a dilemma of inheritance," Coates told the committee. "It is impossible to imagine America without the inheritance of slavery."
"Majority Leader McConnell cited civil-rights legislation yesterday, as well he should because he was alive to witness the harassment, jailing, and betrayal of those responsible for that legislation by a government sworn to protect them," Coates said. "He was alive for the redlining of Chicago and the looting of black homeowners of some $4 billion."
" Victims of that plunder are very much alive today. I am sure they'd love a word with the majority leader," Coates added.
McConnell's comments ruffled more than a few feathers, including Rep. Hakeem Jeffries: "Mitch McConnell has zero credibility on questions of racial, social and economic inequality," he told the Associated Press.