TNC: a left radicalism ‘that fails to debate its own standards’

Ta-Nehisi Coates, discouraged by the Sanders campaign’s response to his reparations campaign: Liberals have dared to believe in the seemingly impossible—a socialist presiding over the most capitalist nation to ever exist. If the liberal imagination is so grand as to assert this new American reality, why when confronting racism, presumably a mere adjunct of class,Continue reading “TNC: a left radicalism ‘that fails to debate its own standards’”

‘”Race is not a sober-minded description of peoples. It is casus belli’

“Race has never been much about skin color, or physical features, so much as the need to name someone before doing something to them,” Ta-Nehisi Coates writes. “Race is not a sober-minded description of peoples. It is casus belli.” He refers to the oft misunderstood Toni Morrison line about Bill Clinton as the America’s firstContinue reading “‘”Race is not a sober-minded description of peoples. It is casus belli’”

TNC: Dylann Roof ‘correctly understood’ what the rebel flag ‘stood for’

Sometimes Ta-Nehisi Coates interviews provide as much satisfaction as his essays. For example: Q: Your book is a lot about people who are victims of circumstance and history. Do you ever look at Dylann Roof like that, as a victim of history from the other side? A: Sure I do. Dylann Roof is not theContinue reading “TNC: Dylann Roof ‘correctly understood’ what the rebel flag ‘stood for’”

The lyric and gritty Michiko Kakutani

To lapse into Didionspeak, Ta-Nehisi Coates may or may not have written a good book in Between the World and Me, but he doesn’t deserve the fate of a Michiko Kakutani book review: Sometimes Mr. Coates can sound as though he’s ignoring changes that have taken place over the decades, telling his son that “youContinue reading “The lyric and gritty Michiko Kakutani”

TNC: ‘Asserting the moral faults of black people tend to gain votes’

Ta-Nehisi Coates‘ latest post is the kind of cry of despair that one tries to hide with a derisive, sad chuckle. Taking a cue from Barack Obama’s most recent public appearance flanked by E.J. Dionne, Robert Putnam, and Arthur Brooks, in which the president alluded to “job training” and “fatherhood” as if he were BillContinue reading “TNC: ‘Asserting the moral faults of black people tend to gain votes’”

Poverty ‘as a matter of values’

Paul Krugman: Most notably, mortality among white women has increased sharply since the 1990s, with the rise surely concentrated among the poor and poorly educated; life expectancy among less educated whites has been falling at rates reminiscent of the collapse of life expectancy in post-Communist Russia. And yes, these excess deaths are the result ofContinue reading “Poverty ‘as a matter of values’”

Solzhenitsyn: ‘Wherever the law is, crime can be found’

Here’s the problem with a jury trial in the Freddie Gray case: While Ms. Mosby offered a detailed timeline of the events surrounding Mr. Gray’s death, she did not reveal any of the evidence supporting it. Nor did she say any of the officers personally caused the spinal injury that killed him. But whatever caseContinue reading “Solzhenitsyn: ‘Wherever the law is, crime can be found’”

Power vs violence

Ta-Nehisi Coates laments the frequency with which American society obliges the police to solve problems abjured by voters and the men and women they elect: At some point, Americans decided that the best answer to every social ill lay in the power of the criminal-justice system. Vexing social problems—homelessness, drug use, the inability to supportContinue reading “Power vs violence”

Coates: white supremacy ‘the machinery of Galactus’

I missed Ta-Nehisi Coates’ post on the Justice Department’s Ferguson report. A masochist with a yen for reading insane doggerel so that I can have fictional arguments, I noted responses from the usual suspects questioning the report’s accuracy. Besides! It doesn’t change the fact that those Ferguson blacks are poor and aren’t changing their circumstances,Continue reading “Coates: white supremacy ‘the machinery of Galactus’”

‘The interest in power is almost always accompanied by the need to sanctify that power’

Bravo to Ta-Nehisi Coates for excerpting Alexander Stephens’ writings. The vice president of the Confederacy, as Edmund Wilson’s chapter in Patriotic Gore makes clear, was no fool. He articulated a rebel creed without equivocation. All whites are equal under the law, Stephens wrote. Not Negroes though: Subordination is his place. He, by nature, or byContinue reading “‘The interest in power is almost always accompanied by the need to sanctify that power’”

The peril faced by Northern blacks

Racism wasn’t limited to the South. Isabel Wilkerson reminds people of the conditions that blacks fleeing Jim Crow faced in the North at the turn of the century: Indeed, it was resentment toward the Southerners’ arrival and obstacles to their entering the mainstream of Northern life that helped create the current conditions. Northern cities hadContinue reading “The peril faced by Northern blacks”

Culture of poverty versus black culture

I choked on the astonishment that is TNC’s final response to Jonathan Chait. Taking him to task for confusing and conflating a “culture of poverty” and/with “black culture,” Coates writes: Accepting the premise that “black culture” and “a culture of poverty” are interchangeable also has the benefit of making the president’s rhetoric much more understandable.Continue reading “Culture of poverty versus black culture”