“I had not been prepared for the simple charm of watching someone you love grow. “

So far the most surprising, beautiful sentence in Ta-Nehisi Coates’ We Were Eight Years in Power. It’s about his wife and part of one of the meta-essays that introduce his previously published essays in this collection. Some have aged better than others, but the meta-essays alone are worth the read alone. Man, that guy can write.

Read the Political Divide

Lisa Lucas, head of the National Book Foundation, recommends two books to read to understand the current US – and help each ‘side’ understand the other: This year’s National Book Award finalist Strangers In Their Own Land by Arlie Russell Hochschild about tea party supporters in Louisiana, and last year’s winner Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. Between the …

The case against Clinton’s “basket of deplorables” is a triumph of style over substance, of clamorous white grievance over knowable facts. This is what Andrew Breitbart, and his progeny, ultimately understood. What Shirley Sherrod did or did not do really didn’t matter. White racial grievance enjoys automatic credibility, and even when disproven, it is never …

My answer has been characterized, in various places, as an “endorsement,” a characterization that I’d object to. Despite my very obvious political biases, I’ve never felt it was really my job to get people to agree with me. My first duty, as a writer, is to myself. In that sense I simply hope to ask …

Ta-Nehisi Coates’ “Letter To My Son”

Coates, possibly the most important writer at this moment in America, wrote a long letter to his son about growing up and being Black:“I knew that my portion of the American galaxy, where bodies were enslaved by a tenacious gravity, was black and that the other, liberated portion was not. I knew that some inscrutable …

History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again. A great quote by Maya Angelou, that in face of the discussion around Ta-Nehisi Coates’ article, the misogynist shooting in Isla Vista, and the electoral success of several rightwing-extremist patries in Europe is a relevant as ever.  Sadly, …

Words exist within the realm of politics. In politics, words are sometimes perverted by the speaker. It’s worth considering which words come under attack for perversion (“racist,”; “homophobe,”; “bigot”) and which do not (“democratic,”; “bipartisan,”; “anti-American”). I am always skeptical of people who seek to curtail their use, instead of interrogating their specific usage. Some …

I came up in a time when white intellectuals were forever making breathless pronouncements about their world, about my world, and about the world itself. My life was delineated lists like “Geniuses of Western Music” written by people who evidently believed Louis Armstrong and Aretha Franklin did not exist. That tradition continues. Dylan Byers knows …

It should come as no surprise that Victor Davis Hanson’s generational advice has met with mixed results. But when you are more interested in a kind of bigoted nationalism than your actual safety, this is what happens. It’s the Racism, Stupid – The Atlantic  Victor Davis Hanson, writing for the National Review, “countered” President Obama’s …