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Very interesting read. Informative. Coates makes links from historical reference points and follows up with more recent ones to shoe how cyclic the nature of racism is and has been.
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The simplest way to describe “We Were Eight Years in Power” is as a selection of Ta-Nehisi Coates' most influential pieces from The Atlantic, organised chronologically. The book is actually far more than that, establishing Coates as the pre-eminent black public intellectual of his generation.
Coates is one of the first to show up to discuss all three contemporary themes: the man, the community, national identity. He critiques respectability politics. He writes about mass incarceration. He writes about Michelle Obama and Chicago's South Side. He writes about how Barack Obama was exceptional, in many senses, and about the paradoxical limits of the first black president's power to address race and racism. He writes about the qualitative difference between white economic prospects and black economic prospects, thanks to discriminatory policies promulgated by the government even during progressive times, and about how, in his view, reparations would be the only way to redress the problem.
An air of resignation begins to bleed into Coates' writing even before his last essay, coming into the final years of the Obama administration. It is an eloquent eulogy to the struggles that African Americans are facing and increasingly fearing today.
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