Broad sympathy and broader skepticism

Ta-Nehisi Coates on “Fear of a Black President”:

Racism is not merely a simplistic hatred. It is, more often, broad sympathy toward some and broader skepticism toward others.


3 responses to “Broad sympathy and broader skepticism

  1. Thanks. That Atlantic article looks good. I’ll have to go back and read it in full.

    What bothers me, and what leads me to conclude that there’s a lot of racism in the GOP, is that Obama is culturally white. When middle class Americans divide the world into “us vs. them” they should be including Obama in the “us” part. But many will consistently put him in the “them” part. It is hard to reach a conclusion, other than that they are looking at the color of his skin, rather than at who he is as a person.

    The positive thing about this, is that the younger generation of Americans is far less affected by this old racism. And that change is what made Obama’s election possible.

  2. Yes, the younger generation is mostly better about race, but too often they’re not as good as they think they are. I know at least some who think they’re not racist b/c (they tell themselves) they dislike Obama b/c of his policies, not b/c of his skin color. But then they use lines of attack (demanding birth certificate, college transcripts, claiming he’s not a “real” American, etc.) that they would never use against a white candidate.

    But ten years ago I never would have guessed that the U.S. might elect a black president named Barack Hussein Obama. Pleasant surprise.

    And Coates’ piece is very good, well worth reading (though not short).

    • Yes, the full Coates piece was well worth the read.

      This was on NPR radio this morning (Wed Aug 29), and Coates was interviewed as part of that piece. I thought the interview went very well.

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