TN Politics: Race and Reparations in a Campaign Season

Jun 21, 2019

As the campaign for U.S. President gets underway, candidates addressing racial issues may find themselves in a traditionally nuanced situation. As political analyst Otis Sanford points out, African Americans aren't just concerned about social justice -- race infuses a variety of liberal concerns. Prominent white Democrats such as Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden have been criticized for tone-deaf remarks recently.

One thing is certain: Democratic voters are moving to the left on issues of race. This week, Memphis Congressman Steve Cohen chaired a panel to explore reparations for slavery, in which panelists spoke directly to current Republican leaders such as Mitch McConnell, who have argued that no one alive today bears any responsibility for laws or circumstances that have marginalized black people. 

Finally, this week, a federal judge ruled against Memphis Light Gas & Water's firing of an employee over his social media posts. Private companies have more latitude to fire people over Facebook screeds, but governments have certain responsibilities toward the First Amendment.