“Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent for The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of The Beautiful Struggle, Between the World and Me, and We Were Eight Years in Power.”
MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE — That last book in the list reveal a lot about the current state of mind of Ta-Nehisi Coates. The writer rose to fame in the African American community for documenting a compelling historiography, The Case for Reparations, in which he artfully made the case to white America (and to the white American Federal Government of the United States) that after more than two hundred years of chattel slavery, plus some one hundred or more years of Jim Crow, plus more than sixty years of “segregated and unequal,” in addition to more than sixty years now of “integrated, yet unequal” (IYU), Africa America, more than any groups of people in America and the world who have been paid reparations, deserve and demand reparations.
After enjoying a brief status as a respected writer in the African American community, Ta-Nehisi Coates decided to come to the defense of the failed presidency of one mixed-race (mixed Caucasian) former president, Barack Obama, in “We Were Eight Years in Power,” when it became amply clear to African Americans, by and large, that Obama’s legacy was nothing but more of the same Washington Anti-Blackness. When it became clear that Ta-Nehisi Coates himself had been caught wining-and-dining with the Obamas at fancy restaurants, Coates quickly attempted to restore his faith with Africa America by pursuing a calm critique of Obama’s legacy on Black America in “How Barack Obama Failed Black Americans.”
His calm critique was more a tap on Obama’s shoulder. Ta-Nehisi Coates may have weathered an impending storm, but he did not fool Black America. Perhaps the straw that finally broke the camel’s back in Ta-Nehisi Coates’ attempt to bridge the growing chasm “Between Black America and He;” the discontent about his spineless critique of Obama and the Democrats after eight long years of Anti-Black policing and policies, came when he was awarded a “Genius Grant” by the suspected white supremacist institution, the McArthur Foundation.
More recently, Ta-Nehisi Coates decided to wade into the primitive snow of the white supremacist media project against Black men—a project to paint the face of the victims of the #MeToo Movement as white and female, and to paint the villains as Black and male. Recall that this project has been in play in the media, at least, since the Hollywood film “Birth of a Nation” aired inside the primordial waters of the White House (Washington) in 1915. Birth of a Nation is a fictional film that portrayed a white man dressed in blackface chasing and lusting after a white woman until the white woman jumps to her own death to escape the lust and predation of the white man dressed in blackface.
Birth of a Nation was the first #MeToo Movement. It pitched the fabricated idea of the predatory Black man against the angelic, yet sexy, rendition of a white woman who was not at all attracted to the “black beast,” a.k.a the white man in blackface, so much so that she would kill herself rather than be raped by him. The white supremacist project of the #MeToo Movement invariably continues more of the same priming in the media that Birth of a Nation started. It toots the fabricated idea of the Black male sexual predator (or according to Hillary Clinton, “super-predators”), by publicly, and with much fanfare as movie releases go, maligning the characters of notable Black men (Bill Cosby, Russel Simmons, R. Kelly and Kobe Bryant), even putting them behind bars upon the flimsiest of charges, while it either paints the victims of this predation as innocent white women or omit the very real occurrences of white male sex predatory behavior in America.
Hence, and in fact, what Birth of a Nation actually entailed and what the #MeToo Movement today glosses over, and what the Gayle “Skunks”, the “Agent” Duvernays, the “Orca” Winfreys and Ta-Nehisi “Chokes” miss in broad day light, is the man behind the mask – the Matt Lauers, the sex predator golden boys of NBC Mornings, the Mark Halperins (who the white woman, Mika Brzezynski, on MSNBC, defends with her life in the midst of several accusations of sexual predation), the Joe Scarboroughs, whose aides just die out of the blue in “unsolved mysteries” (according to the sex predator, US President Trump), and all the many others, most of whom are the actual white male sexual super predators hiding behind the shroud of blackfaces that are being accused in the white media by proxy.
Ta-Nehisi Coates may be a fine writer, and he may have even forever earned his respect in the African American community after many years of his own self-education, but he misses the deeper issues at stake in the project to shroud the real faces of the many white male sex super predators. When he claims that “Orca” Winfrey’s mate, “Molester” Moonves’ mate, “Harlot” Roses best friend, Gayle “Kinky,” should be calmly critiqued, Ta-Nehisi Coates himself forgets the spirit of his own raped, molested, killed, murdered, sodomized and dehumanized Ancestors, and Mothers, at the hands of Coates’ Caucasian handlers today; he forgets his initial fight against injustice in America before he was summarily co-opted to wine-and-dine with the Obamas and their beautiful daughters, and before he decided to take several hundreds of dollars paid to him by the McArthurs into the “fine” Caucasian suburbs of Paris – a city violently built with and notoriously maintained by the blood and sweat of African resources.
Ta-Nehisi Coates may be a fine writer, but he is no scholar. He cannot see what has not yet been revealed. And this is perhaps why he has become a beloved “journalist” among the vast masses of Washington’s ilk. When he says that “I say this as a black man,” he speaks only for himself. He has no following, or clout, to speak for African American men. Ta-Nehisi Coates cannot see the many shrouded faces of white male super predators in front of him, the same party he has become a vital component of. When he writes that it is “perhaps naïve to expect a black man to be better,” he forgets that he is actually so naïve that he cannot be expected to entertain the fleeting idea, for just a second, that he can neither expect the white man to be better. Which is the point! When he writes that “It’s certainly isn’t about Weinstein,” one is left with nothing but total disrespect for a writer who feels that the face of sexual predation should not be Weinstein, Halperin, Lauer and Woody Allen, but should rather be Bill Cosby.
Ta-Nehisi Coates first and only attempt at an analogy in his last statement on Instagram about this issue unveils his self-inflicted mis-education. When he writes that “Only a fool tolerates serial killing because Ted Bundy was once a neighbor,” the man clearly lacks the kind of processing power it takes to make sense of the complex issues of American Anti-Blackness. Ta-Nehisi Coates cannot see what has yet not been revealed. Is Coates suggesting, perhaps, that those of us living in the Black community and offering a critique of the Gayle Skunks live alongside worse Black male criminals than we suggest the white men in Hollywood are? Is Ta-Nehisi Coates equating the atrocities of R. Kelly to David Bowie’s? Is he equating Weinstein, Epstein, and Weiner to Bill Cosby?
In fact the correct framing there should be, “Only a fool tolerates the Ted Bundy’s in Hollywood and castigates his neighbor who shot and killed an intruder in self-defense.” Ya dig? The issue, which Ta-Nehisi Coates is missing, is that the white media has made the Black man the face of the villain in the #MeToo Movement in much the same way that the white man made the face of the villain in “Birth of a Nation,” in 1915, a black one. Ya dig?
In ending however, I would like to implore writers in the African American community to not bend to the overwhelming forces of white supremacism. Our resolve to defend the dignity of the Black person in America cannot wane in the face of white media terrorism. Malcolm X., once quoted Barry Goldwater, a racist white man, a white American politician, businessman, and author who was a five-term Senator from Arizona (1953–1965, 1969–1987) and the Republican Party nominee for president of the United States in 1964. That quote, even from a white supremacist, provides a scathing critique of what it seems has become Ta-Nehisi Coates docile, impotent political state of mind:
“Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice, and Moderation in the pursuit of Justice is no Virtue.”Malcolm X.
The notoriously sheepish idea of moderation that Ta-Nehisi Coates admonishes to “calmly express our dislike for the question,” flies in the faces of our heroes who fought for the soul of America in two major wars (for Independence and for the Union), and who continue to fight to rid this land of an invested European barbarism.