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Ta-Nehisi Coates essay: "The First White President"
Posted by: Ted King
Date: September 09, 2017 12:31PM
This is a LONG essay by Ta-Nehisi Coates. I think it is a masterpiece of writing from the quality of the substance and substantiation of his arguments to the quality of the craft and art of his written expressions.

I found the topic compelling because I have been pondering how liberals should address the issue of the white working class as an electoral demographic. I think what Coates is saying is that as liberals grapple with the issue of white working class voters that it is essential that they more fully understand the historic role of white working class people in our society. It's more than that, though. The topic he takes on is sweeping and as such it wouldn't be surprising that some facet or another of it may strike any particular reader as debatable, but in general it is a powerful examination of the crucial aspect of race on our social, economic and political dynamics.

It's hard to pick out a snippet that captures the essence of the essay, but this one may give you somewhat of a sense of it:

[www.theatlantic.com]

Quote

To Trump, whiteness is neither notional nor symbolic but is the very core of his power. In this, Trump is not singular. But whereas his forebears carried whiteness like an ancestral talisman, Trump cracked the glowing amulet open, releasing its eldritch energies. The repercussions are striking: Trump is the first president to have served in no public capacity before ascending to his perch. But more telling, Trump is also the first president to have publicly affirmed that his daughter is a “piece of ass.” The mind seizes trying to imagine a black man extolling the virtues of sexual assault on tape (“When you’re a star, they let you do it”), fending off multiple accusations of such assaults, immersed in multiple lawsuits for allegedly fraudulent business dealings, exhorting his followers to violence, and then strolling into the White House. But that is the point of white supremacy—to ensure that that which all others achieve with maximal effort, white people (particularly white men) achieve with minimal qualification. Barack Obama delivered to black people the hoary message that if they work twice as hard as white people, anything is possible. But Trump’s counter is persuasive: Work half as hard as black people, and even more is possible.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/09/2017 12:33PM by Ted King.
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Re: Ta-Nehisi Coates essay: "The First White President"
Posted by: $tevie
Date: September 09, 2017 12:39PM
I don't have time to read this right now, but I will say that Ta-Nehisi Coates is just about my very most favorite writer.



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Re: Ta-Nehisi Coates essay: "The First White President"
Posted by: Lemon Drop
Date: September 09, 2017 12:43PM
I have tickets to a Coates talk in early November, really looking forward to it. The man is brilliant, I always enjoy his writing.
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Re: Ta-Nehisi Coates essay: "The First White President"
Posted by: Lemon Drop
Date: September 09, 2017 12:53PM
Also - Ted I have to disagree with your assertion that Coates is blaming the "white working class" for bringing us Trump -- he is making the opposite argument. It's WHITE PEOPLE who brought us Trump -- affluent whites living in less diverse areas are more likely to be Trump supporters than poorer whites.


Asserting that Trump’s rise was primarily powered by cultural resentment and economic reversal has become de rigueur among white pundits and thought leaders. But evidence for this is, at best, mixed. In a study of preelection polling data, the Gallup researchers Jonathan Rothwell and Pablo Diego-Rosell found that “people living in areas with diminished economic opportunity” were “somewhat more likely to support Trump.” But the researchers also found that voters in their study who supported Trump generally had a higher mean household income ($81,898) than those who did not ($77,046). Those who approved of Trump were “less likely to be unemployed and less likely to be employed part-time” than those who did not. They also tended to be from areas that were very white: “The racial and ethnic isolation of whites at the zip code level is one of the strongest predictors of Trump support.”
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Re: Ta-Nehisi Coates essay: "The First White President"
Posted by: Ted King
Date: September 09, 2017 12:56PM
Quote
Lemon Drop
Also - Ted I have to disagree with your assertion that Coates is blaming the "white working class" for bringing us Trump -- he is making the opposite argument. It's WHITE PEOPLE who brought us Trump -- affluent whites living in less diverse areas are more likely to be Trump supporters than poorer whites.


Asserting that Trump’s rise was primarily powered by cultural resentment and economic reversal has become de rigueur among white pundits and thought leaders. But evidence for this is, at best, mixed. In a study of preelection polling data, the Gallup researchers Jonathan Rothwell and Pablo Diego-Rosell found that “people living in areas with diminished economic opportunity” were “somewhat more likely to support Trump.” But the researchers also found that voters in their study who supported Trump generally had a higher mean household income ($81,898) than those who did not ($77,046). Those who approved of Trump were “less likely to be unemployed and less likely to be employed part-time” than those who did not. They also tended to be from areas that were very white: “The racial and ethnic isolation of whites at the zip code level is one of the strongest predictors of Trump support.”

I guess I said something that appears to express that I think Coates is "blaming" white working class voters, but that certainly wasn't my intent.
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Re: Ta-Nehisi Coates essay: "The First White President"
Posted by: Lemon Drop
Date: September 09, 2017 01:04PM
Quote

I have been pondering how liberals should address the issue of the white working class as an electoral demographic.

is that really what "liberals" need to be doing?

I'm pretty sure that what Coates is saying is that what we need to address is white supremacy. An affliction that knows no economic bounds.
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Re: Ta-Nehisi Coates essay: "The First White President"
Posted by: vision63
Date: September 09, 2017 01:36PM
Yes
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Re: Ta-Nehisi Coates essay: "The First White President"
Posted by: Ted King
Date: September 09, 2017 01:43PM
Edit: never mind my earlier draft of this post. In terms of what matters most, I don't disagree with the thrust of what you are saying Lemon.



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 09/09/2017 02:05PM by Ted King.
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Re: Ta-Nehisi Coates essay: "The First White President"
Posted by: Ted King
Date: September 15, 2017 09:37PM
Ta-Nehisi Coates was interviewed by Chris Hayes today. It was an excellent conversation about the article cited in the OP - and more:

[www.msnbc.com]



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/15/2017 09:39PM by Ted King.
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