Ta-Nehisi Coates: 1935 Ineligible

Posted by admin on Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Meaning of Ta-Nehisi Coates Money Quote: saying When Social Security signed 1935, 56-80 percent African Americans Ineligible. Ta-Nehisi Coates said:

Social Security into law in 1935, African Americans nationally and between 70 and 80 percent were ineligible Quote


“When President Roosevelt signed Social Security into law in 1935, 65 percent of African Americans nationally and between 70 and 80 percent in the South were ineligible” — Ta-Nehisi Coates


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This quote from Ta-Nehisi Coates highlights how the original Social Security system failed to adequately cover many African Americans when it was first enacted in 1935 during the New Deal era. Some key points in interpreting this perspective:

  • Coates notes that over 65% of black Americans nationwide and an even higher percentage in Southern states were excluded from Social Security benefits at inception.
  • This was due to systemic discrimination and socioeconomic barriers that prevented significant portions of the black population from working in covered employment eligible for Social Security.
  • The quote draws attention to how initial Social Security left behind many in the African American community by not addressing the realities of pervasive racism and lack of opportunities they faced in the early 20th century job market.
  • A balanced interpretation acknowledges both this perspective as well as the ongoing efforts over time to make Social Security more equitable and universally accessible through legislative reforms that expanded coverage.

Overall, Coates’ observation reflects an important critique of how even New Deal programs fell short of fully protecting all Americans equally in practice due to historical discrimination and economic disparities of the era. Both this viewpoint and the ongoing work to strengthen social insurance merit consideration in discussions of the program’s history and impact.

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