Coates sees the mass incarceration of African Americans as the “national action” that America chose to undertake to address the problems Moynihan described. Moynihan’s framing of poverty as a problem of black families—of black people—has enabled political leaders for half a century to look away from restitution and towards punishment as a way to address social problems. We are still living in Moynihan’s moment.The Moynihan Report Resurrected, by Sam Klug [more inside]
The 2015 crop of MacArthur Fellows has been announced, starring Ta-Nehisi Coates, puppeteer Basil Twist, sociologist Matthew Desmond (whose work on eviction has been previously discussed on MetaFilter), and poet Ellen Bryant Voigt. [more inside]
His passions intersected in May, during the magazine’s New York Ideas seminar, when he interviewed Sana Amanat, a Marvel editor, about diversity and inclusion in comic books. Ms. Amanat led the creation of the new Ms. Marvel, a teenage Muslim girl living in Jersey City, based on some of her own childhood experiences. “It was a fruitful discussion,” he recalled.
In his latest essay for The Atlantic, Ta-Nehisi Coates (previously) examines "The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration." [more inside]
“I love you so much, I want to carry you around all day in my pocket”. Emily Bernard writes about being the mother of brown-skinned daughters after Ferguson. [more inside]
Letter to My Son, by Ta-Nehisi Coates, July 4, 2015: "I came to understand that my country was a galaxy, and this galaxy stretched from the pandemonium of West Baltimore to the happy hunting grounds of Mr. Belvedere. I obsessed over the distance between that other sector of space and my own. I knew that my portion of the American galaxy, where bodies were enslaved by a tenacious gravity, was black and that the other, liberated portion was not... And I felt in this a cosmic injustice, a profound cruelty, which infused an abiding, irrepressible desire to unshackle my body and achieve the velocity of escape."
"I knew, from a very early age, that there was love in my house, imperfect love, love that was built, decided upon, as opposed to magicked into existence. That was how Peter loved Mary Jane." In The Atlantic, Ta-Nehisi Coates reflects on love and marriage as portrayed between Peter "Spider-Man" Parker and Mary Jane Watson. [more inside]
Jordan Davis's mother, Lucia McBath, reflects on the guilty verdict in his murderer's trial. by Ta-Nehisi Coates (SLAtlantic) [more inside]
Ta-Nehisi Coates writes in The Atlantic:The Effects of Housing Segregation on Black Wealth. As the wealth gap widens between whites and blacks in America, and after reading this list and this list, he concludes The Ghetto Is Public Policy. [more inside]
Michael Dunn was convicted on three counts of attempted murder, but the jury was unable to reach a verdict on the charge of the first degree murder of Jordan Davis. Davis and friends were sitting in an SUV listening to music outside a convenience store, when Dunn initiated an argument with them that ended in Dunn firing 10 rounds into their vehicle, including several as they drove away. Dunn fled the scene and then remained silent for many hours before eventually claiming self-defense. Ta-Nehisi Coates interviewed Davis's mother in the days before the verdict, and in response to the verdict, he writes a sweeping indictment of America's treatment of young black men.
"If I was to die, today or tomorrow, I do not think I would die satisfied till you tell me you will try and marry some good, smart man that will take care of you and the children"
Author Jon Meacham has a new book out on Thomas Jefferson. It is reviewed in the New York Times: Cultivating Control in a Nation’s Crucible
But this book does not address its principal concern, power, until Jefferson has accrued some. When it comes to the force that he wielded as a slaveholder, Mr. Meacham finds ways to suggest that thoughts of abolition would have been premature; that it was not uncommon for white heads of households to be waited on by slaves who bore family resemblances to their masters; and that since Jefferson treated slavery as a blind spot, the book can too.[more inside]
Ta-Nehisi Coates discusses male mythology, biology and Raymond Chandler's Private Dick
Ta-Nehisi Coates, a senior editor at The Atlantic, recently touched on a couple of interesting aspects of the American Civil War. First, Racism Against White People briefly looked at how Southern intellectuals argued that Northern whites were of a different race. Then a subthread in the comments on that post spawned an investigation of American Exceptionalism in History and the notion of preserving democracy in the context of the American Civil War. After all, "if a government can be sundered simply because the minority doesn't like the results of an election, can it even call itself a government?" Definitely check out the comments of both posts.
Ta-Nehisi Coates has written about his evolving view of the American Civil War (among many other things) on his Atlantic blog for over two years. A reader has now compiled links for all of them for our reading pleasure. There is also a page of recommendations that will help a reader find the most often mentioned civil war resources in the discussions. [more inside]
A Warm Hug from a Cold Algorithm: Ta-Nehisi Coates checks out an inner-city school where every student takes a diagnostic test daily, and then is assigned individual work and tutelage based on a computer's nightly re-assessment.