September 15, 2017

‘It’s Impossible to Imagine Trump Without the Force of Whiteness'

Ta-Nehisi Coates – The Atlantic:

“The foundation of Trump’s presidency is the negation of Barack Obama’s legacy,” writes Ta-Nehisi Coates in his feature for The Atlantic’s October 2017 issue.

I’ve posted commentary on excerpts from Coates’ forthcoming book, We Were Eight Years In Power: An American Tragedy, as published in The Atlantic. Here he is discussing the critical point of the work in audio/video format.

Coates destroys the notion that Mr. Trump was elected solely, or even mainly as a cry of desperation by citizens economically “left behind.” And while he doesn’t rule it out altogether, Coates does wonder at why the “left behind” meme almost always comes packaged as working class whites, as if working class everyone else are still enjoying the fruits of their labor undiminished by automation, offshoring, and corporate downsizing.

Two minutes, 8 seconds. Short enough to listen and go, long enough for Coates to get his idea across. The one thing I like most about his writing is that the ideas are simple, yet folded together into compact, impactful prose. You’ll need to listen closely to this, despite its brevity.

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6 comments:

  1. Other voices disagree with Coates....my money is on Thomas Sowell
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g6IJV_0p64s

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  2. "Some things are believed because they are demonstrably true but many other things are believed simply because they have been asserted repeatedly "

    ergo Coates' many views.

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  3. Sowell is great for generalizations and apple-to-oranges comparisons. I think neither of you has read Coates' writing, because neither of you address his specific arguments.

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  4. Andrew, I read the Atlantic and have read Coates. I find his premises completely unhinged. Do you really subscribe to all the points in his manifesto?? Seriously, do you? Its Eldridge Cleaver's 'Soul on Ice' (which I doubt you've read) run through a vocabulary building randomizer program. In all seriousness, take for example the anchor of his article: "To Trump, whiteness is neither notional nor symbolic but is the very core of his power." Even at face value its so ridiculous as to be laughable. But in this era of Identify Politics it seems that you (and your comrades in though) take it a sacred scripture, as gospel. His premise is false. Is everything that you and Kelly have, all you built, because whiteness is at the core of your power? According to Coates it is. If you truly believe that then justice demands that you divest yourself of it all and move to Baltimore. What I do believe is that you and Kelly's success is due to hard work. Period. Not hard work and that you're white. I have Vietnamese, African, Aborigine friends that would totally disagree with what you believe and what Coates peddles as a socially acceptable screed of racism. Coates. Is. Racist. That you cannot see that is actually sad. That you cannot accept that black people too, can be racist, is sad.

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  5. besides, your quip about Sowell proves to me you've never read the man's work. To brush his work aside as 'good for generalization' while you embrace a wannabe like Coates is eyebrow raising at best. Coates has no opus compared to Sowells prolific and prodigious output, including his writings on race in America. You discount him because he's Conservative, or a classical liberal before it got hijacked by license.

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  6. Whiteness is at the core of my privilege, which is Coates' central point. It's not a color. It's a badge that lets me into the club.

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Above all, follow Wheaton's Law: don't be a dick.