Breaking Brown

The Atlantic

11/08/11 Black Media # , , , , , ,

ta-nehisi coates asks the obvious (and already answered) question

 

Ta-Nehisi Coates

Ta-Nehisi Coates

In today’s blog entry, Ta-Nehisi Coates asks his readers to talk to him like he’s stupid. He asks, “Are the London riots about race?”

I’m not picking on The Atlantic’s Ta-Nehisi Coates. I’m a fan, really I am. I read his column regularly, almost daily, and find his views (mostly) thoughtful, even eloquent (at times). But is a black man who attended Howard University really asking this question?

If you were white Ta-Nehisi, then maybe I’d “talk to you like you were stupid”. But you’re not white or stupid. You have more than enough historical background- both personal and learned – to answer this question for yourself. As a fellow Howard alum, I’m calling bullsh*t on this one.

It reminds of a conversation I had with my dear friend and expatriate / Howardite who – while at dinner with a group of friends – feigned disbelief at how big of an issue race had become in America. Another of our friends reminded him that although he lives abroad, that’s certainly not his point of reference. Race is now and always has been an issue in America. And him catching a 10 hour flight hadn’t changed that.

The Coates readers, many of whom are white, expect to be educated on the issue of race by the black writer and HBCU attendee, not vice versa. And a role reversal- where Coates becomes the pupil and his “Horde” the teachers – muddies the water on race and its impact. If a black man can’t see race here – in a case where singling out young blacks clearly sparked an uprising – then white people can’t be expected to see race anywhere. This is the rabbit hole we all go down when those of us with a voice on such issues abdicate our responsibility to inform our readers based on our own life experiences and collective understanding. And this is why and how Coates dropped the ball.

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09/08/11 Black Politics # , , , , , , , , ,

not that it matters all that much, but hillary IS tougher…

Hillary Clinton

Hillary IS Tougher. No Doubt About It...

In a  Daily Beast article entitled “Hillary Told You So”, the writer explores the increasing  level of buyer’s remorse among disaffected Obama supporters. She recounts a few particular observations:

At a New York political event last week, Republican and Democratic office-holders were all bemoaning President Obama’s handling of the debt-ceiling crisis when someone said, “Hillary would have been a better president.”

“Every single person nodded, including the Republicans,” reported one observer.

Click here to find out more!

At a luncheon in the members’ dining room at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on Saturday, a 64-year-old African-American from the Bronx was complaining about Obama’s ineffectiveness in dealing with the implacable hostility of congressional Republicans when an 80-year-old lawyer chimed in about the president’s unwillingness to stand up to his opponents. “I want to see blood on the floor,” she said grimly.

A 61-year-old white woman at the table nodded. “He never understood about the ‘vast right-wing conspiracy,’” she said.

Looking as if she were about to cry, an 83-year-old Obama supporter shook her head. “I’m so disappointed in him,” she said. “It’s true: Hillary is tougher.”

The Atlantic’s Ta-Nehisi Coates discounts the Monday morning quarterbacking as,

Coates is just wrong on this one. It certainly doesn’t change anything since there’s no going back now. But upon reflection,it  is remarkably easy to glean the Clinton toughness that’s so missing from the current occupant of the White House.
Drew Westen smacked us with the how and why of our collective blind spot in his August 6th editorial;
On substance, there are only marginal differences between Obama and Hillary Clinton, but there are many more differences where experience and competency are concerned. But in 2008,  we were all so busy swooning over Mr. Obama’s rhetoric that we missed it. Now we see it. Now we’re clear. 

There’s nothing wrong with looking back and saying to yourself, “I goofed.”

 

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