Shares His Various Perspectives on Black Progress
Systematic Racism, Reparations, and Black Power.
Coleman Hughes is a writer, podcaster, and opinion columnist who specializes in issues related to race, public policy, and applied ethics. Hughes’ writing has been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, National Review, Quillette, The City Journal, and The Spectator. He has appeared on TV shows and podcasts, including Real Time with Bill Maher, Making Sense with Sam Harris, and The Jordan B. Peterson Podcast.
MONARCH MAGAZINE: Who inspires you?
COLEMAN HUGHES: On the topic of race, I’m inspired by Martin Luther King Jr., Bayard Rustin, Zora Neale Hurston, and many others.
MONARCH MAGAZINE: Who are some of your favorite authors?
COLEMAN HUGHES: My favorite writers are Thomas Sowell and Steven Pinker.
MONARCH MAGAZINE: Where did you develop your worldview regarding race relations?
COLEMAN HUGHES: From reading lots of books and living lots of life.
MONARCH MAGAZINE: What do you think are some barriers to Black America’s progress?
COLEMAN HUGHES: Despite the narrative of doom and gloom, Black Americans have been making huge strides in terms of health, wealth, education, and other standard metrics of well-being in the past several decades. As long as we keep society on the rails and remain vigilant, we should expect this progress to continue.
MONARCH MAGAZINE: I’ve watched interviews of you expressing your thoughts surrounding reparations. The pushback of responses that you received lead me to believe that due to the subject matter being so personal. The message you are communicating is not clearly heard. If you don’t mind, please share with our readers your stance on reparations?
COLEMAN HUGHES: Reparations should have been paid to freed slaves or their children. Perhaps reparations could still be paid to those who lived under Jim Crow. The rest of us (the vast majority of Black Americans) are so many generations removed from the crime that reparations are not owed. Reparations would not fix any of the problems associated with inner-city poverty, nor would it help race relations in general. Reparations is a tempting distraction from the real issues.
MONARCH MAGAZINE: Do you believe you have been embraced by white media more than Black media?
COLEMAN HUGHES: I’m not exactly sure what you mean by white media and Black media. (For instance, is CNN “white” or “Black”?) The truth is I don’t pay close attention to which media outlets like me and which do not. I do everything through my own media company to avoid the pressures of toeing the line that would come with being affiliated with any particular media outlet.
MONARCH MAGAZINE: And if so, why do you believe that is?
It may be safe to say that white America’s view of Black people can be described as monolithic. But are we, as Black Americans, guilty of pigeon holding ourselves?
COLEMAN HUGHES: I don’t think white America’s view of black people is monolithic. White Americans on the left and the right disagree deeply about the source of racial equality, the prevalence of racism in society, the barriers facing the Black community, and much more. There is enormous diversity of opinion both among white people and among Black people. That’s why it’s never wise to assume that you know what someone thinks just because you know their race.
MONARCH MAGAZINE: Within our community, we often hear the following expressions “Talking white” or “Black people should only date Black” What are your thoughts on this behavior?
COLEMAN HUGHES: We should all live and let live. Some people find that they can only form those kinds of bonds with people from their culture. That’s OK. Other people are comfortable dating outside the race. That’s OK too. Either way, no one should force their choices on others. As for “talking white:” it is an unfortunate bullying tactic that can discourage Black kids from trying their hardest in school. School is thought of as a “white thing,” so many Black kids avoid trying their best for fear of being called out. It’s a real shame.
MONARCH MAGAZINE: Generally, there is a comparison between African Americans’ horrific experiences in America with the Jewish Holocaust.
How do you reckon with the Jewish community telling their story to the point that it’s embedded within American culture yet did not happen in America? Versus the stifling of Black people telling our experience in America from slavery to the modern-day?
COLEMAN HUGHES: But Black people have been very successful at telling our story. Jews may have Schindler’s List, butwe have Roots. We forget this, but more Americans watched Roots than watched the Super Bowl the year it came out! Out of eleven federal holidays in America, two are dedicated to the Black freedom struggle: MLK Day and Juneteenth. Not to mention Black History Month and the magnificent Smithsonian museum dedicated to Black history in Washington D.C.––with an extensive exhibit on slavery and the middle passage. We have been far more successful at telling our story than we care to admit.
MONARCH MAGAZINE: Can you share the solutions America should adopt to equal the playing field when it comes to race?
COLEMAN HUGHES: Most of our efforts should be directed at improving public safety in dangerous neighborhoods and improving K-12 education. If a generation of Black kids grows in low-crime neighborhoods with excellent early childhood education, many of our problems will sort themselves out.
MONARCH MAGAZINE: Final question, any political aspirations?
COLEMAN HUGHES: I think I’d rather die than become a politician.