So Ta-Nehisi Coates has been blogging for a week now for the Atlantic, replacing Matt Yglesias, who will start at the Center for American Progress on Monday. So what did Coates, “West Baltimore’s only black nationalist nerd” (self-professed) and the author of “‘This Is How We Lost To The White Man’”(a hunk of an Atlantic article about Bill Cosby’s black conservatism) choose to write about his first week as an Atlantic Voice?
He made some distinctions, for one: between race-baiting and racism; class elitism and knowledge elitism; credentials and education; and white racism and white resentment (or for that last, according to him, the lack of distinction therein).
He also touched on ad-libbing as an effective campaign strategy of anti-intellectualism, employed some choice phrases (“when we refused to be mature and decided to segregate”), issued a courteous warning (“Guys, we have some hot emotional topics up to day.”), demonstrated a propensity for linking to HuffPo, and this morning posted an excerpt from a book (i.e. no hyperlink!).
On his blog last week, Coates worried about following in Yglesias’s footsteps, partially because he didn’t think he had Matt’s sense of humor. But take this post from his old blog, before he officially became Atlantic material, about Obama opposing reparations to the descendants of slavery:
This is news because black leadership—also known as the NAACP—supports reparations. Obama isn’t like most black people. Get it? At this rate, he will cede his share of the black vote to Cynthia McKinney—the true black candidate. Everyone knows that African-Americans think that reparations is the most critical issue facing the black community. Critical, I said.
Think he’ll be alright on the humor front.Jane Kim is a writer in New York.