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Book review: the Bitwise naive about power and race in the united states

In the acclaimed and drew attention to the ”Between the world and me” (2015) theorize Ta-Nehisi Coates about the black body in american society. With the founda

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Book review: the Bitwise naive about power and race in the united states

In the acclaimed and drew attention to the ”Between the world and me” (2015) theorize Ta-Nehisi Coates about the black body in american society. With the foundation of James Baldwins ”The fire next time” writes Coates to his son about their body's vulnerability, their vulnerability, how naked they are before the winds. It's a brutal showdown with the american self-image, with whiteness and to a certain degree also with the democratic party.

”We had the power for eight years: an american tragedy” is the mission of another. Here Coates collected eight articles, previously published in The Atlantic, all of which touches on the racism against black people, but perhaps above all, is about AMERICA's first black president. Each article has got a newly written introduction, in which the author reflects on the text's origin and purpose, and the result is that the texts are acknowledged as both a historical document and craft.

this is The lyrics from the Obama era, a period of what Coates calls ”the functioning of the black management”, and, in particular, the early texts are characterised by a kind of wonderment. Is it possible that a black man has become president, that he is well liked, even celebrated? How, and in what way limited his actions because of his blackness?

time and time again to maintain the illusion of the so-called white innocence; slavery, genocide, deportations must be rubbed out or reshaped, to become the inspiring stories of strävsamhet or frihetstörst. If or when Obama confronts the rasbaserade inequality in the country, he immediately, by a backlash. And white anger, reminds Coates us, devastated black careers, homes and lives for centuries.

Coates himself admits that the group he criticizes embraces him. ”Why do white people what I write?” he asks.

But there is also something naive in the way ”We had the power for eight years” describes Obama. The otherwise explicit pessimistic and uncompromising Coates – who believe that the story of the united states is and must be a tragedy, seems almost hopeful. When Barack Obama becomes president, it feels ”like a possibility that the white power structure,” may, after all, bring defeat during His lifetime, and the deportations, drones in Yemen, big business influence over policy, is mentioned only in passing and briefly.

the President is portrayed as a hopeful and well-intentioned pragmatist; his innocence is a power of innocence. This makes the lyrics almost provocative in its appeasement. In them there is no criticism of the empire, or even the capital, and without these are also the criticism of the whiteness weaker.

has at all times had a penchant for happy endings”, writes Coates, and perhaps it is the tendency that also affects him in relation to Obama. But other texts, such as ”To the quantication of defense”, arguing elegantly that no reconciliation is possible so long as one of the group survival is dependent on others ' exploitation.

Then Coates as the clearest: when he's talking about the black husägares vulnerability in the housing market, or if the checks ”inherited vulnerability to hazards”, that in Virginia before the civil war, there were ”seventy-three offences that could lead to the death penalty for slaves and one for white”. In a society that neither can admit their crimes or to replace the people who have been exposed to them becomes the dream of a postrasistisk world violent. It becomes a dream to escape responsibility, to renounce his past.

In his critique of Ta-Nehisi Coates at the Guardian writes scholar and activist Cornel West to Coates ' represent the neoliberal faction that allows militant about the white power structure, but osynliggör black organization”. And Ta-Nehisi Coates himself acknowledges that the group he criticizes embraces him. ”Why do white people what I write?” he asks.

he rhythmically, beautifully, throws a much needed light over the whiteness. (It should be added that Eva Åsefeldts translation feels smooth and completely natural.) But for the other maybe Cornel West has a point when he says that Coates does not really challenge the regime, or at least not through the texts in the ”We had the power for eight years”. The resistance are portrayed, as West points out, almost always as something individual, and usually as something historical.

Despite that, I know I will return to ”To the quantication of defense” in the same way as I have returned to the ”Between the world and me” in the last few years. When Coates is the best, he is staggering good.

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