Every once in a while, an article or book comes along that changes how we think and talk about race in America. So it is with the cover story in the new issue of The Atlantic magazine. Written by journalist Ta-Nahisi Coates, its provocative title is "The Case for Reparations," and it urges that we begin a national dialogue on whether the United States should compensate African Americans not only as recognition of slavery's "ancient brutality" -- as President Lyndon Johnson called it - but also as acknowledgement of all the prejudice and discrimination that have followed in a direct line from this, our original sin. "I am not asking you, as a white person, to see yourself as an enslaver," Coates explains to Bill Moyers this week on Moyers & Company (check local listings). "I'm asking you as an American to see all of the freedoms that you enjoy and see how they are rooted in things that the country you belong to condoned or actively participated in in the past. And that covers everything

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