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If you have a good 45 minutes to waste on a long-winded Ta-Nehisi Coates think piece navel-gazing over his blackness in the final days of Black Run America (BRA), you will not want to miss “My President Was Black”:
“In the waning days of President Barack Obama’s administration, he and his wife, Michelle, hosted a farewell party, the full import of which no one could then grasp. It was late October, Friday the 21st, and the president had spent many of the previous weeks, as he would spend the two subsequent weeks, campaigning for the Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton. Things were looking up. Polls in the crucial states of Virginia and Pennsylvania showed Clinton with solid advantages. The formidable GOP strongholds of Georgia and Texas were said to be under threat. The moment seemed to buoy Obama. He had been light on his feet in these last few weeks, cracking jokes at the expense of Republican opponents and laughing off hecklers. At a rally in Orlando on October 28, he greeted a student who would be introducing him by dancing toward her and then noting that the song playing over the loudspeakers—the Gap Band’s “Outstanding”—was older than she was. “This is classic!” he said. Then he flashed the smile that had launched America’s first black presidency, and started dancing again. Three months still remained before Inauguration Day, but staffers had already begun to count down the days. They did this with a mix of pride and longing—like college seniors in early May. They had no sense of the world they were graduating into. None of us did. …”
It begins with a BET hosted cocktail party with the Obamas on the South Lawn of the White House in late October and ends with Trump’s unexpected victory.
- “Usher led the crowd in a call-and-response: “Say it loud, I’m black and I’m proud.”
- “It was the feeling that this particular black family, the Obamas, represented the best of black people, the ultimate credit to the race, incomparable in elegance and bearing.”
- “Whiteness in America is a different symbol—a badge of advantage.”
- “But Obama appealed to a belief in innocence—in particular a white innocence—that ascribed the country’s historical errors more to misunderstanding and the work of a small cabal than to any deliberate malevolence or widespread racism. America was good. America was great.”
- “For most African Americans, white people exist either as a direct or an indirect force for bad in their lives.”
- “African Americans typically raise their children to protect themselves against a presumed hostility from white teachers, white police officers, white supervisors, and white co-workers.”
- “That lens, born of literally relating to whites, allowed Obama to imagine that he could be the country’s first black president.”
- “The national anthem was played first, but then came the black national anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” As the lyrics rang out over the crowd, the students held up the black-power fist—a symbol of defiance before power. And yet here, in the face of a black man in his last year in power, it scanned not as a protest, but as a salute.”
Poor Ta-Nehisi Coates … he just doesn’t get it. He is utterly blind to how his own Black Nationalist identitarianism and racial grievance politics inexorably leads to Richard Spencer’s White Nationalist identitarianism:
So, I’m a White male. I’ve heard about this “Alt-Right.”
I’m sitting here wondering why Ta-Nehisi Coates is considered legitimate and is a celebrated public intellectual, but Richard Spencer is demonized as a hateful extremist. Why is Ta-Nehisi Coates railing against “white supremacy” when he is feted by the black president of the United States at a cocktail party on the South Lawn of the White House? Why is Ta-Nehisi Coates writing for The Atlantic? Why does he have his own “Black Panther” comic book? Why is Ta-Nehisi Coates teaching a course at MIT?
It’s because Richard Spencer is White, isn’t it?
Obviously, The Atlantic doesn’t have a problem with hail victories so long as it is the black power salute. They don’t have a problem with blacks nurturing racial grievances. They don’t have a problem with “extremist groups” like the Black Panthers. They don’t have any objection to black identity politics or racial animosity toward Whites. Their sole objection is to White identity and White interest group politics.
What would they say if a White musician was on the South Lawn of the White House leading an overwhelmingly White crowd in a call-and-response: “Say it loud, I’m White and I’m proud.” Hell, we all know that would be a “story about race in America,” wouldn’t it? That would be a story about “hate” or something.
The real story here is how that doesn’t work anymore like it used to.