November 26, 2014

"The genre of Obama race speeches has always been bounded by the job he was hired to do."

Says Ta-Nehisi Coates in "Barack Obama, Ferguson, and the Evidence of Things Unsaid":
Specifically, Barack Obama is the president of the United States of America. More specifically, Barack Obama is the president of a congenitally racist country, erected upon the plunder of life, liberty, labor, and land. This plunder has not been exclusive to black people. But black people, the community to which both Michael Brown and Barack Obama belong, have the distinct fortune of having survived in significant numbers. For a creedal country like America, this poses a problem—in nearly every major American city one can find a population of people whose very existence, whose very history, whose very traditions, are an assault upon this country's nationalist instincts. Black people are the chastener of their own country. Their experience says to America, "You wear the mask."...
Creedal... chastener... yeeesh....

I expect to read the genre of reading the genre of Obama race speeches for the rest of my life. I only wish my friend Barack Obama could go meta and talk about the talking about what he has to say about race. If only — if only! — Obama — when he's out of office — would bust loose and tell us everything he really thinks, transcend this sententiousness, and tell us the truth... as it looks to him.

I retreat, white-ladylike, into the OED and look up "creedal." "Of, relating to, or characterized by a creed." I bounce straight to the relevant Obama speech:
It was a creed written into the founding documents that declared the destiny of a nation: Yes, we can. It was whispered by slaves and abolitionists as they blazed a trail towards freedom through the darkest of nights: Yes, we can....
Remember how beautiful that once was?


90 comments:

Bobber Fleck said...

Remember how beautiful that once was?

I'm going to need taller boots...

pm317 said...

This Ta-Nehisi Coates dude has money to go somewhere else on this planet, no?

It is a shame that people like this guy pull down their own by incessantly spouting harmful creed in their screed like that. Why don't they STFU?

MadisonMan said...

Remember, Coates didn't write about Cosby for reasons of money, and then he did write about Cosby for reasons of money.

I assume he's being paid for what he writes. Whether or not he believes it, who knows.

You can be held down by the past, or you can find a way to work through it. Coates is trying to make money off of the plight of some blacks in this country.

Captain Ned said...

Why is anyone still listening to Ms. Coates?

Hagar said...

I think when you go to using Al Sharpton as a frontman for the White House, you are really bottom-feeding "the base."
Jeremiah Wright and "black liberation theology" on Sunday morning is one thing; Al Sharpton in prime time on weekdays something else.

Maybe, this will serve to some reflection about whether at 150 years later, it might be time to revise some of the Sunday ritual.

BTW, where does Coates get this about Obama "belonging"? A large part of his problem, I think, is that he does not really belong anywhere, and he is trying so hard to fit in somewhere. But his somewhere is a lot of somewheres as is evident from his many accents and body languages.
Basically, he is from the international ex-pat fraternity.

Birkel said...

Obama is not wise.

MikeR said...

The sad part is that they believe what they say. Sigh.

The Drill SGT said...

TA-NEHISI COATES appeals to the worst sort of tribalism. Blacks are race traitors if they don't vote for blacks, Whites are racist if they vote for a white. Our history is founded on the corrupted fruit of Slavery,(even those that were never connected to the spoils)

To buy into this meme is to anticipate a genocidal race war in our future...

Big Mike said...

Ta-Nehisi Coates, Maria Chappelle-Nadal, and Eric Holder -- perhaps even Barack Obama as well -- seem to feel that fomenting a race war is a good thing for racial harmony. I'm not at all certain that they're right. Seems like a pretty bad idea to me.

pm317 said...

I think it is typical minority behavior. This Ta-Nehisi Coates has made it and has a regular job and money and he thinks he has made a name for himself. Maybe he thinks it diminishes his own 'accomplishments' if more blacks persevere and get out of their ghettos and succeed like (for example, Ben Carson). Who is going to talk about Ta-Nehisi Coates if the world is full of Ben Carsons? Or What will guys like Ta-Nehisi Coates talk about if the world is full of Ben Carsons?

Michael K said...

I teach medical students, some of whom are black and most of whom are foreign born. I know other blacks that are foreign born. They all say that foreign born blacks avoid American born blacks because they think they are crazy. People who are black, much darker than most American "blacks," spend time and money to come here and live. They are astonished by the American born blacks who, not only don't appreciate what they have by birthright, but are constantly complaining about it and refuse to take advantage of the opportunities they have.

It mystifies most sensible people, white and black.

rhhardin said...

American Prayer was the decent Obama music video.

It was all estrogen hot air, as guys said at the time.

But this one is nice music.

It works by running on the fourth of the key it's in, except for the choruses.

That makes it float, musically.

Except the choruses, which are featureless.

Anonymous said...

I am a white guy. I have had a lot of white teachers, bosses, friends, neighbors, acquaintences, and teammates. Guess what, black people. I have had a lot of conflict with some of them. Self-centered white jerks spread trouble whereever they go. Curing racism is a good idea but we will still have jerks among us. That is a different problem.

Michael said...

It was never beautiful. It was always a crock - or at best a performance, by someone who didn't understand or believe in what he was talking about. A lot of people just wanted very badly to believe: in hope and change, and butterflies and unicorns.

Iconochasm said...

That video is still the creepiest thing I've ever seen in American politics. And those tools had the audacity to call Paul supporters "cultists"!

rhhardin said...

Blacks have (since OJ) embraced self-destructive stupidity.

Thanks mostly to the MSM's choice of "black leaders."

No other narrative has legs.

Skeptical Voter said...

A black hack speaks.

Chef Mojo said...

Just words. As always.

eddie willers said...

They all say that foreign born blacks avoid American born blacks because they think they are crazy.

I have a buddy from Barbados that came to the same conclusion. He was sad about it, but had no other choice.

I helped him bone up for his Citizen Test and he is now one of us.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

The rhetoric is still beautiful. It's the people who've gotten ugly.

EMD said...

Obama is HALF-black.

theribbonguy said...

"Remember how beautiful that once was?"

Ummm...sure...about as "beautiful" as the
"I'd Like to Buy The World a Coke" jingle..and as about as substantive.

Just another group tested line to sell a product from Madison Ave.

EMD said...

Remember, Coates didn't write about Cosby for reasons of money, and then he did write about Cosby for reasons of money.

Coates is a "convenient" investigative journalist.

Jupiter said...

Imagine what Ta-Nehisi Coates would do for a living if all the white people disappeared tomorrow.

The Drill SGT said...

eddie willers said...
I helped him bone up for his Citizen Test and he is now one of us.


Hopefully, he can inoculate his kids against the virus of refusing to "act white"

Tom Gallagher said...

PT Barnum: I am a showman by profession...and all the gilding shall make nothing else of me.

Sound like somebody else?

Wilbur said...

"It was never beautiful. It was always a crock - or at best a performance, by someone who didn't understand or believe in what he was talking about. A lot of people just wanted very badly to believe: in hope and change, and butterflies and unicorns."

This nails it, except that Obama DID believe and understand it in the sense that Yes We Can elect me President.

That's all it meant to him.

buwaya said...

Absurd opinions have become normal.
This attitude is similar to what my children (and most children) got in school. In very good schools too. I cant blame Mr. Coates. He was taught this way.

steve said...

Why is a black person's life special only when a white person takes that life? Thousands of black people are killed every year by other black people and no one ever raises a fuss. I don't get it.

Has anyone ever watched the A&E show "The First 48"? If black people didn't kill black people that show would be off the air. It's so sad.
On that show I watched a 16 year old black kid get interrogated after he had killed someone. All he wanted to do was sleep. He didn't want to answer a bunch of questions.
We send counselors to help our military people who have seen combat and may have killed someone. I can really affect a soldier. Yet this sixteen year old kid just wants to sleep.
Life is cheap in the black community

Brando said...

Coates is a giant whiner. He's free to leave this racist country any time he chooses, and surprise, he's still here.

Either suggest something useful to fix our problems (and not idiotic pipe dreams like reparations) or shut up while grown ups are talking.

What a stupid idiot.

RecChief said...

Every speech by President Obama is bounded by what's good for President Obama and his family. Coates is full of shit.

John Lynch said...

So what is Coates hiding this time? What's he going to tell us in the months and years ahead about what he's writing now?

What's he lying about?

pm317 said...


It mystifies most sensible people, white and black.


Your comment mirrors my experience as a faculty in a university -- my immigrant black students had a different attitude and a level of confidence..I tried to write about it in 2009.

Michael said...

Coates' pomposity is astonishing. It rises as his thinking declines. He is dreadfully boring and predictable. He seems to think that he is an intellectual and must write in such a strange way. Delectible to the readers of the Atlantic I am sure.

CWJ said...

I clicked through and read most of TNC's column. What is this guy's appeal outside of the tribe? His writing is incoherent nonsense.

His litany of what cannot be said are things I've heard said my entire adult life.

"And that is because the death of all of our Michael Browns at the hands of people who are supposed to protect them originates in a force more powerful than any president: American society itself."

I think that's my favorite sentence. Michael Brown not only held up a convenience store minutes before his death, he literally held up the store's clerk. He subsequently thought he could assault a police officer in the officer's vehicle without consequence. Michael Brown was a thug.

TNC was itching so bad to write that sentence and indict the entire country that it doesn't bother him the his notion of who is there to protect whom is off by 180 degrees.

pm317 said...

the death of all of our Michael Browns at the hands of people who are supposed to protect them

Does he mean Browns' parents?

rcocean said...

Tennessee Coats writes to please his white masters at Atlantic - who hired him.

He appeals to the people who who read Atlantic Magazine - he is their "Black Voice". Why did they choose TNC out of all the available Black writers?

If I was Crack, I'd be upset.

Tank said...

True, Crack has more talent than Coates.

He's more wrong then right, but he does have talent.

Anonymous said...

Their experience says to America, "You wear the mask."

To paraphrase Tonto: What you mean "you", non-paleface?

rcocean said...

I predict that after his Presidential Gig, Obama will become the voice of Black America. He will be Jesse Jackson, Colin Powell, Al Sharpton, and Spike Lee all rolled into one.

He will be the MSM go-to-guy on race issues. When not making speeches for $$Millions, or hanging out in Hawaii, he will be on TV speaking out for black America.

Anga2010 said...

The time for talking about Barack Obama going meta and talking about the talking about what he has to say about race is over.

rhhardin said...

The female fault corresponding to male skepticism is foolishness.

"He means well."

Clayton Hennesey said...

The uncomfortable demographic truth is that the majority of African-Americans in the U. S. now are descended from the losers other more successful, triumphant Africans decided and managed to capture, sell off, and rid themselves of.

Ta-Nehisi Coates certainly helps us understand those historical victors' thinking.

traditionalguy said...

Hypocrite / Actor Obama does a sincere MLK impersonation for political power over white guilt sufferers. You owe him for being a clean black man preaching peace. Right?

mccullough said...

Coates is upset that as the U.S. becomes less white it is not becoming more black.

Asians and Latinos are not sympathetic to Coates victimology and excuse making. Nor are African immigrants. Barack Obama is not descended from slaves. His father was Kenyan and he was raised by a white mother and grandparents.

That really hurts Coates.

The Cracker Emcee said...

TNC, like most African-Americans, can't wrap his head around the idea that Obama isn't Black in the way they are Black. I doubt that Obama thinks of himself as Black at all. It's a mask and a tool to exploit the suckers, the gullible, and the simple. And he's spent his whole life brilliantly exploiting it.

chickelit said...

steve said...
Why is a black person's life special only when a white person takes that life? Thousands of black people are killed every year by other black people and no one ever raises a fuss. I don't get it.

Probably because of money. They know they can't shake down other black people but they still hope to get a payoff from guilty whites. It's not rocket science. Collective guilt is the necessary ingredient.

Fight The Glower!

Pianoman said...

This post screams Crack-Bait. Where's he at? There should have been at least a dozen ellipsis-ending posts by now ...

averagejoe said...

"Remember how beautiful that once was?"
Seemed to me to be bullshit, and it turns out it was bullshit. What a surprise- but not to me.

chickelit said...

I just read Coates' screed. The subtext is "rioting works. We rioted before and it worked. And we're going to riot again until you give us what we want, by force if necessary."

Sebastian said...

"But black people, the community to which both Michael Brown and Barack Obama belong, have the distinct fortune of having survived in significant numbers."

Barry didn't "belong" to a "community" that "survived." He merely piggybacked on the remembered suffering of others.

"Remember how beautiful that once was?"

OK, I'll bite. I remember how beautiful it was to those who wanted to believe, in spite of the evidence. It will go down as a remarkable performance in the annals of fabricated charisma.

John Cunningham said...

If Coates thinks the USA is such a racist hellhole, he ought to STFU and get out to a better place ruled by Blacks. I suggest Liberia, Mali, Zaire, orNamibia. I would kick in $10 to a Kickstarter campaign to fund a one-way ticket for him.

Brando said...

Rioting only "works" in that it creates more support for law and order and less sympathy for whatever the rioters seem to favor. Rioting ended the civil rights movement in the '60s, and created a bipartisan consensus for cracking down on rioters and criminals.

Then in the early '90s, the L.A. Riots gave rise to political careers of law and order candidates (such as Guiliani, and Clinton even ran as a law and order Democrat).

Had this happened closer to 2016, I'd predict the same pattern.

rcocean said...

"He's more wrong then right, but he does have talent."

Really? I was being satirical. I hope you are.

Anonymous said...

Hagar wrote:

"A large part of his problem, I think, is that he does not really belong anywhere, and he is trying so hard to fit in somewhere. But his somewhere is a lot of somewheres as is evident from his many accents and body languages.
Basically, he is from the international ex-pat fraternity."

That's an excellent insight. I recall reading back in 2008 that when Obama ran against Bobby Rush, many in the black community in Chicago were quite skeptical of Obama because he wasn't "one of them." They derided his accent, his mannerisms, his education and his exotic background. He was far more appealing to white leftists and academics.

Of course, that earlier skepticism was completely forgotten in 2008.

John Lynch said...

Facts do not matter to Ta-Nahesi Coates.

I read this and I stopped reading anything he wrote. He no longer had my trust.

Anonymous said...

chicklet wrote:

"They know they can't shake down other black people but they still hope to get a payoff from guilty whites. It's not rocket science. Collective guilt is the necessary ingredient."

True, but also because focusing on black-on-black crime would mean taking responsibility for changing their own communities. That's a tall order. It would be very hard work and brutal honesty. Blaming the Other for all one's problems is much easier and more comforting - especially when there is no shortage of white liberals assuring them that they are absolutely right to blame Whitey for keeping them down.

On an individual level, I have seen people stay in miserable situations - unhappy marriages, terrible jobs - for years, in large part because changing their lives seemed impossibly difficult to them and they had actually become accustomed to a certain level of misery. What if you finally dump the crappy spouse or quit the awful job and go on to make it on you own - and fail? You can't blame the spouse or the job any more.

Personal responsibility is difficult for everyone of any race to face at times. It's not so surprising that humans try to evade it.

Carl said...

Imagine what Ta-Nehisi Coates would do for a living if all the white people disappeared tomorrow.

That's easy. Just what he's doing now, only for a handful of black people (mostly young and female), instead for all of them.

He'd have to get a flash car, I guess, and replace the glasses with shades. But he could keep the edgy beret.

FullMoon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
chickelit said...

exiledonmainst said...

...many things I agree with but, let's just keep the topic on money. That's really all that Crack and Coates seem to focus on in the end: reparations. Why bring morality into it at all? They don't care about "morality" -- that's for "losers" like Cosby. They just want a pay off from a group they call "whites' for crimes committed by a subset they call "whites" with no subdivisions allowed. With malice towards some and charity for themselves.

What's changed is that they're now willing to wreck havoc and property damage to achieve the payoff and state as much. Who knows if they'll cross the moral line to include bodily harm, basing their "logic" on "revenge" for Trayvon Martin and Mike Brown.

m11_9 said...

"But Obama's moderation is as sincere and real as his blackness"

Seriously? BHO raised by white people offshore/overseas, TNC doesn't get him at all.

Unknown said...

Always sounded like bullshit to me. Why not you, Ann?

William said...

There's such a thing as white privilege but 80% of it is American privilege. You can bet Coates gets his American privilege card punched at frequent intervals.......Why do people assume that exaggerated hostility to whites is a form of sincerity? If you want to curry favor in the radical chic element of white society, it pays to lay it on with a trowel.

chickelit said...

Unknown said...
Always sounded like bullshit to me.

I remember asking back then "yes, change, but change to what?"

That was never specified, was it? The assumption was change for the better, but no one asked "change to what specifically?"

The whole campaign was premised on a negative: change to...not Bush.

chickelit said...

That's why the next election cycle had better be specific and not just a change to...not Obama!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Dick Stanley said...

It was beautiful unless you were then the parent of a small child and the repeated Yes We Cans kept reminding you that he stole the line from Bob the Builder.

SDN said...

We have a whole class o professional racists in this country: Sharpton, Morris Dees, Coates, all of them make an excellent living off of searching out racism like the witch hunters of old.

I haven't decided if Crack is one of them or just a useful idiot.

tim maguire said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
tim maguire said...

Yes, we can....Remember how beautiful that once was?

Obama has always been an adequate reader of other people's words, that was never a knock against him. The knock, in this department, is against the frequency with which his sycophants forget that they are other people's words which he is reading adequately.

Paul said...

If Coates thinks whites are so racist wait till all the Mexicans and other South Americans become US citizens.

It ain't gonna end up like Obama and Pelosi think it is.

Speaking of racist, does not all the evidence show a WHITE cop shot a Black suspect that had attacked him? And the Blacks want to LYNCH him?

Now ain't that racist?

Fernandinande said...

Accidental honesty:

http://www.ta-nehisi.com/about
"This WebSite is a news portal that was created to cover up the most recent and crucial events in the social, political and cultural life of the country."

Fernandinande said...

SOJO said...
The underlying issues are real, and not just for black ppl or Americans only, and need to be addressed.


What are the underlying issues? What happens after you "address" them?

Which underlying issues apply to thieves who assault armed people and are killed in self defense?

Just get to work on the redesign and stop blaming the materials (human beings) that have always been and always will be flawed.

Ah, now I see. Ignore reality and just go ahead and finally create that Workers Paradise(TM): we'll get it right *this* time.

CWJ said...

Fernandinande,

@8:12, I clicked through because I thought that that couldn't possibly be true. That's amazing. Either that's one of the most amazing typo's ever, or some prankster somehow hacked his text.

@8:22, Seconded! I had the same reaction.

Greg Toombs said...

Coates is living off the plunder too.

Scott said...

It is the black male rhetorical style to metaphorically suck all the air out of the room. Their ponderousness is borne of immense suffering and deep experience. Their viewpoint is the absolute truth, and if you presume to have another, you are a racist despite all your protestations. Nobody know the trouble they seen.

Ecce Fo Sheezy Coates.

bgates said...

Obama's moderation is as sincere and real as his blackness and his 2008 opposition to gay marriage.

Lawyer Mom said...

That montage has changed quite a bit over the years. Now, blacks are asking, "like broken families? High black unemployment? Rundown neighborhoods? Terrible schools? Yes, we can."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BUSRZo1BE5o

AST said...

I don't listen to speeches anymore. I've heard too much high flown rhetoric from people who don't believe a word of what they're saying.

I do remember those riots thrown by whites in the South at Ole Miss, in Birmingham and Selma and the hatred they showed. It was ugly.

But since then then, all the riots seem to have been in black communities, just as full of hate and violence, and just as ugly.

The main difference is that the white riots faded away because the rest of the country backed away and opposed them. But the black riots haven't, because the nation has been intimidated and shamed by claims of racism.

There may be racism in peoples' hearts, but it's probably in all hearts; black, brown or white.

buck smith said...

so sick of this racial guilt tripping. The US conscripted 2 million men and sent them into combat to end slavery. Right now all over Africa people of color are trading slaves. Does Coates feel any guilt about that? She shouldn't and neither should the US. Our record on freedom and human rights is way better than most.

JAL said...

They all say that foreign born blacks avoid American born blacks because they think they are crazy.

We have a (black) true "African American" (naturalized) family member.

After he had lived here a while he wanted to know what was the matter with American blacks ...? and essentially stayed away from them (graduate school and a second bachelor's).

He would bring his girl friends over for lunch and one day he showed up and the girl getting out of the car was a black American. I almost fell over. He ended up marrying her. Interesting thing was her dad was career non-com military. I think that made her a bit different.

Bradoplata said...

What they fail nto understand is the police aren't there to protect us from them. They are there to protect them from us - 100 years ago they would have started to riot and an army of armed and angry Jacksonian Americans would have finished the job. It happened plenty of times where entire communities were wiped out and the survivors driven off by decent people sick of bad neighbors. 

RuyDiaz said...

"Remember how beautiful that once was?"

If by 'beautiful' you mean 'creepy and cultic', then yes, yes I do.

Tom Becks said...

Absurd opinions have become normal.
This attitude is similar to what my children (and most children) got in school. In very good schools too. I cant blame Mr. Coates. He was taught this way.


Remember when "Recovering Catholic" t-shirts were hot? I propose a new one: "Recovering College Graduate."

Anonymous said...

"Remember how beautiful that once was?"

Only naive idiots believed Obama's fatuous words back then. All you had to do was do a tiny modicum of research into how he screwed his mentors, screwed his fellow Democrats, screwed his GOP opponents--just how DID their sealed divorce records get leaked to the press??--and palled around with all manner of scumbags (Rezko, Wrigth, Ayers).

There was no promise. There were only crdulous idiots like the author whose weakness of mind delivered this disaster of a president to us.

Delayna said...

"Who knows if they'll cross the moral line to include bodily harm, basing their "logic" on "revenge" for Trayvon Martin and Mike Brown"

I thought that was the end game of picking these particular cases to riot about--to make the act of "self-defense while Caucasian" unthinkable.

Koblog said...

“To be honest, if they don’t come and restore these neighborhoods for these people, like when you gotta go travel miles to Walmart and to get gas and stuff like that, it should be right here. If they don’t restore this community for people who stay here it’s gonna be hell to pay.” -- unemployed black Ferguson layabout

So tell me, how many guilt-ridden rich white leftists are lining up to reopen businesses in Ferguson, Detroit and other bastions of black culture?

gerry said...

Coates is upset that as the U.S. becomes less white it is not becoming more black.

Thank Margaret Sanger.

And, of course, Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

SteveM said...

But Obama was raised by his financially well-off white grandparents in Hawaii and attended the most exclusive high school there, and later the most exclusive colleges on the main land ( Columbia and Harvard). Obama has nothing in common nothing in common with Michael Brown except for skin color

damikesc said...

Ta-Nehisi Coates, Maria Chappelle-Nadal, and Eric Holder -- perhaps even Barack Obama as well -- seem to feel that fomenting a race war is a good thing for racial harmony

Mealy-mouthed hack Coates doesn't care about harmony.

He wants the money.

He will happily sentence blacks to death in riots if it will give him a few more dollars.