None of us are perfect, and those in public, those we have made leaders, deserve constructive, truthful criticisms. Truth is Ta-Nehisi Coates, is a leader (whether he wants to be or not) and he is being admonished for not being critical of Obama. This is just untrue—and we need to be truthful and constructive of our criticisms of our brothers and our sisters, who have a platform. I have made a short list of articles in which Coates was critical of Obama.
(I was able to compile this list while, chatting with a friend online, playing with a 12 year-old-birthday girl, and drinking my coffee, so I hope the rest of you will add to the list.)
Black poverty is fundamentally distinct from white poverty—and so cannot be addressed without grappling with racism.
American politicians are now eager to disown a failed criminal-justice system that’s left the U.S. with the largest incarcerated population in the world. But they’ve failed to reckon with history. Fifty years after Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s report “The Negro Family” tragically helped create this system, it’s time to reclaim his original intent.
In their efforts to strengthen the black family, Clinton and Moynihan—and Obama, too—aspired to combine government social programs with cultural critiques of ghetto pathology (the “both/and” notion, as Obama has termed it), and they believed that Americans were capable of taking in critiques of black culture and white racism at once. But this underestimated the weight of the country’s history.
Addressing the moral failings of black people while ignoring the centuries-old failings of their governments amounts to a bait and switch.
I have never been among those who thought President Obama should “say more” about Ferguson, because I don’t believe most of the people who elected him actually want to “hear more.” What these people have never tired of hearing is another discourse on the lack of black morality or on the failings of black culture. It saddens me to see the president so sincerely oblige.
Violence works. Nonviolence does too.
On Monday night, watching Obama both be black and speak for the state was torturous. One got the sense of a man fatigued by people demanding he say something both eminently profound and only partially true. This must be tiring.
How Jonathan Chait and other Obama-era liberals misunderstand the role of white supremacy in America’s history and present
Obama-era progressives view white supremacy as something awful that happened in the past and the historical vestiges of which still afflict black people today. They believe we need policies—though not race-specific policies—that address the affliction. I view white supremacy as one of the central organizing forces in American life, whose vestiges and practices afflicted black people in the past, continue to afflict black people today, and will likely afflict black people until this country passes into the dust.
Paul Ryan’s explanation for urban poverty isn’t much different from Barack Obama’s. Why did it make liberals so angry?
Cousin Pookie and Uncle Jethro voted at higher rates than any other ethnic group in the country. They voted for Barack Obama. Our politics have not changed. Neither has Barack Obama’s rhetoric. Facts can only get in the way of a good story. It was sort of stunning to see the president give a speech on the fate of young black boys and not mention the word racism once. It was sort of stunning to see the president salute the father of Trayvon Martin and the father of Jordan Davis and then claim, “Nothing keeps a young man out of trouble like a father who takes an active role in his son’s life.”
How Black America talks to the White House
An appeal to authority—even the authority of our dead—doesn’t make Barack Obama any more right. On the contrary, it shows how wrong he is. I can’t think of a single credible historian of our 500-year tenure here who has concluded that our problem was a lack of “personal responsibility.” The analysis is as old as it is flawed, and that is because it isn’t analysis at all but something altogether different.
Why arguing that we should have a health-care expansion for the most vulnerable or no health-care expansion at all is ultimately wrong
We are six years into the Obama administration and with each report of profiling, with each report of unaccountability, with the scuttling of the Democrats 2008 national security platform, the horrific success and mad genius of 9/11 becomes clearer.
Is this any way to go to war?
But when you have majorities in your own country opposing a war, when the president can’t convince his own party, when alleged allies in the region and your strongest ally in the world oppose war, then it’s time to rethink.
If we are honest with ourselves we will see a president who believes in particular black morality, but eschews particular black policy.
Indeed, if we are—as the president asks us to be—honest with ourselves, we will see that we have elected a president who claims to oppose racial profiling one minute, and then flirts with inaugurating the country’s greatest racial profiler the next. If we are honest with ourselves we will see that we have a president who can condemn the riots as “self-defeating,” but can’t see his way clear to enforce the fair housing law that came out of them.