An MSNBC panel found themselves in hysterics Saturday over anyone’s individual concern regarding hypothetical reparations after a television show offered a surreal portrayal of the popular social justice objective, calling it a “nightmare scenario” where black people are “going to show up at our house.”
Tim Wise, a white activist and author of “Dispatches from the Race War,” joined MSNBC host Tiffany Cross and political commentator Dr. Jason Johnson on “The Cross Connection” where they previewed the latest episode of the FX series “Atlanta.” In the episode, a liberal white man portrayed by Justin Bartha learns about a lawsuit won against a Tesla executive by a black man who had accused the businessman of enslaving his ancestors, entitling him to reparations.
Cross played a clip where Bartha is told by a co-worker, “It’s cleared the way for personal litigation. Now they can look up and force you to pay the price,” before she explained she was looking up her history to see if she would be free from any debts.
The host then mirthfully asked her guest for his thoughts on the episode and Wise began, “Well, first of all, it is, it is brilliant. It is genius. And as Jason said, you know, it is of the nightmare scenario that my people have when it comes to this, right? It’s this idea that we’re going to have our water bill, our cable bill and, oh God, there’s the black people bill, I totally forgot to pay that one last month.”
The panel laughed as Wise went on, “And so to the extent that it tweaks that kind of bizarre interpretation of what black folks are talking about when they talk about reparations or what it would look like, I think it does its job, right?”
“But what I really do appreciate about the episode is that it demonstrates the way that the intergenerational transmission of advantage and disadvantage is the ghost in the room of the national house. And it haunts us all, right?” the activist argued.
The newest episode of Atlanta about reparations is like if you let Tucker Carlson write a Black Mirror episode pic.twitter.com/pJF7dgZawW
— Ostonox Research Group (@ostonox) April 13, 2022
In an interview with Complex, Bartha, who referred to his character as “a little liberal”, described his character as going through the five stages of grief before ultimately killing himself at the end and said, “once white people truly wake up, that’s where you really see the repercussions will start to sink in.”
The actor later stated about the “very complicated” issue, it “would be incredibly difficult to put it into the hands of person-to-person like it is here. But there are certain corporations that are so obviously continuing to benefit off of unpaid labor and slavery, that it seems crazy that it’s not talked about more.”
Ignoring the fact that the government produces no goods and collects its wealth through the taxation of individuals, Wise echoed Bartha’s views and deflected any negative impact this would have on society, saying, “It will be done by the collective. It will be done by the state. It was the state that enshrined enslavement. It was the state that enshrined it and kept it protected by the Constitution. It’s the state that would pay.”
Of course, a California panel on reparations has already demonstrated the near impossibility of obtaining accurate records on the genealogy of descendants from slaves as they make moves toward legislative recommendations, not to satisfy any sincere argument on the matter, but rather to have the best chance of surviving legal challenges.
Still, Wise contends that no individual will be harmed by any such policy, stating, “But I got to talk my people down off a ledge now because this is so well done that white folks are like, ‘See, this is what they’re going to do. They’re going to show up at our house.'”
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