Killer Mike Claps Back at Ta-Nehisi Coates Over Bernie Sanders Criticism

By Sameer Rao Jan 21, 2016

In his latest move to defend Bernie Sanders‘ reputation in communities of color, rapper, activist and would-be politican Killer Mike clapped back at Ta-Nehisi Coates in a series of tweets. 

Mike’s tweets addressed Coates’ recent piece for The Atlantic that criticized the Democratic presidential candidate, who is often praised for his progressive policies, for his position on reparations for African-Americans. In an interview with Fusion, Sanders said that a plan for reparations’ "likelihood of getting through Congress is nil" and that he wouldn’t be in support of it. Coates’ piece highlighted a seeming hypocrisy on this position, given that the senator supports many other policies that have trouble getting through Congress:

Sanders says the chance of getting reparations through Congress is “nil,” a correct observation which could just as well apply to much of the Vermont senator’s own platform. The chances of a President Sanders coaxing a Republican Congress to pass a $1 trillion jobs and infrastructure bill are also nil.

Coates’ piece also criticizes what he calls Sanders’ "class first" approach to tackling racial injustice, saying that the case for reparations (which he has written and spoken about about extensively) is an important part of racial justice dialogue that Sanders refuses to have:

If not even an avowed socialist can be bothered to grapple with reparations, if the question really is that far beyond the pale, if Bernie Sanders truly believes that victims of the Tulsa pogrom deserved nothing, that the victims of contract lending deserve nothing, that the victims of debt peonage deserve nothing, that that political plunder of Black communities entitle them to nothing, if this is the candidate of the radical left—then expect White supremacy in America to endure well beyond our lifetimes and lifetimes of our children. Reparations is not one possible tool against White supremacy. It is the indispensable tool against White supremacy. One cannot propose to plunder a people, incur a moral and monetary debt, propose to never pay it back, and then claim to be seriously engaging in the fight against White supremacy.

Mike defended Sanders yesterday (January 20), articulating his support for reparations (and a very-specific plan for them) in his tweets:


Mike’s rebuttal to Sanders criticism was addressed by writer and historian Jelani Cobb:

Both Mike and Coates tweeted today that they spoke with one another and share no acrimony:

(H/t The New Republic, The Atlantic, Fusion