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Watch Ta-Nehisi Coates lay out the inescapable math of American racism

"If you say that African Americans have an inferior culture, have cultural pathologies that they're carrying with them, it seems to me you have to ask why that would be," Ta-Nehisi Coates says. In our full interview, he describes his blockbuster article, "The Case for Reparations", as an effort to answer that question.

In the clip above, Coates grounds his conclusion in the simple math of American history. "The period for which our enslavement in this country lasted was 250 years," he says. "Freedom's only lasted 150 years, and that freedom has been really halting. At least 100 of those years, you can question how much freedom it actually was. We have 50 years of kind-of trying to fix 350 years."

"When you think of it that way, I'm not sure how it becomes much of a question."

You should watch Coates lay out his case. In fact, everyone should watch Coates lay out his case.

For the full interview with Coates, including much more on how he wrote the article, what he's learned from blogging, why he tries to approach his journalism as a historian, and what books he recommends for people trying to understand American racism, click here.