Ta-Nehisi Coates on Obama's blackness, America's white supremacy, and Trump's victory

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2016/12/13/ta-nehisi-coates-on-obamas-b.html


Thank God that’s over.

I can finally look my insufferable, ignorant, thieving, bullying, bellicose goon of a child in the eye and tell him “Son, you can be anything you want, even the President of the United States”.


O’bama might have been only the eleventh Irish president, but he has the most Irish name.


I’m assuming he’s rich, white and straight right?


And 100 percent Christian, too.


The secret to being a great Christian isn’t to act with kindness toward your fellow man or follow the teachings of Christ or actually go to church. Heck, President Obama did all of those things and everybody knows he is a secret Muslim. The secret to being a great Christian is to TELL everyone you are a great Christian. And have white skin. Or at least orange skin.


And the secret to being a true patriot is to wear the biggest flag pin in your lapel…being white helps here too.


Thanks Obama!


But not Catholic. Oh sure we had a Catholic president, but… well… That didn’t end well.


Started reading Coates’ superb piece on the train this morning but didn’t finish it, yet. I HAVE finished his, “Between the world and me” and I heartily recommend that book.


Especially with bumper stickers. Bumper stickers are important. Like “I’m not perfect, just forgiven.”

Oh, and little fish things stuck to the trunk lid.


Can someone help me out with something? I’m asking honestly, not being a trolley, honestly.

But Coates says that Obama’s unique blackness also led to blind spots for the president, manifested in his tendency to lecture black people on being better parents, getting off drugs, eating better food and turning off the TV, and other racist shibboleths.

I remember both he and Michelle catching hell for saying such things, but I’m at a loss to find examples of when he directed this at black people specifically. It’s something that made me nod my head when I heard it; my wife’s a teacher, and when she taught in a poor district, the mostly-white parents, when there was an extracurricular activity like a concert, would drive up, drop off their kids, then go home, with the most common reason being that they were going home “to watch my stories.” It’s heartbreaking to watch those kids come in, fully aware that their parents don’t give a shit about 'em.

Again, not trying to start a fight.

The comment about the white counties around Chicago resonates with me as an Illinoisan living in Not Chicago, because they don’t just hate non-white people–the affluent right-wingers I’ve met from the ring counties and white burbs aren’t shy about their racism–they also hate the rest of the state and how their tax dollars pay for stuff outside Chicago. Meanwhile we’ve got schools that are falling apart, but God forbid the people in Barrington have their tax dollars pay for something other than maintenance on their high schools’ Olympic-size swimming pool.


Not driving trollies, eh?

  1. We’re not your Google monkeys. Examples of Obama blaming black people’s problems on their own behavior and attitudes, rather than on systemic racism and classism, are easy to find; otherwise, Coates wouldn’t have included them.

  2. You slyly go on to say that in your anecdotal experience, whether or not Obama uttered such tired stereotypes, by gum they’re true!! And in the process, you too implicitly blame black people’s problems on their own behavior and attitudes, rather than on systemic racism and classism.

If you really do think you’re not driving trollies, please hear this – what you just wrote isn’t helping.

1 Like

Hi, Milliefink.

Honestly, what you said isn’t helping, either. All you did was accuse me of doing the thing I said I wasn’t doing, and do a long-winded version of, “We’re not here to educate you.” It’s not as if I’ve only been here five minutes to concern trolley with a “blacks is the real racists” comment, milliefink. Surely we’ve seen each other on here.

We’re not your Google monkeys. Examples of Obama blaming black people’s problems on their own behavior and attitudes, rather than on systemic racism and classism, are easy to find; otherwise, Coates wouldn’t have included them.

I’m asking about the specific quote, which in all honestly I have never seen directed directly at black people. When someone makes a claim, the burden of proof is on the person making the claim, not everyone else.

I’m sure that asking for clarification will earn me another “we’re not here to educate you,” so I guess we’re done here. If you can’t be bothered to address how my honest question, and instead take the time to dismiss every bit of what I said as casual racism, I can’t be bothered to think about it anymore, either. I’ll just go from honest curiosity to assuming they either got it wrong or are lying for effect. Because I was my own Google monkey, and every example I could find of Obama talking about turning off the TV, he was talking about obesity.


Cory, it appears that you are in favor of the President using “authoritarian” methods in pursuit of ends you support, and are against those methods when used in support of ends you do not support.

It would not be hard to find a lot of Trump voters who think exactly the same way.


My apologies, I misread your initial comment – I read that mostly-white as mostly-black. Reading it correctly changes the whole meaning!

I’m curious, though – what made you think others would read your comment as driving trollies, and as “trying to start a fight”?



When I was little, the term for someone regarded as “Black on the outside, white on the inside” was “Bill Cosby”.

Somehow I thought it would be a happier day when it didn’t mean that any more.

1 Like

I love Coates.