Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote

The focus on one sector of Trump voters—the white working class—is puzzling, given the breadth of his white coalition. Indeed, there is a kind of theater at work in which Trump is pawned off as a product of the white working class as opposed to a product of an entire whiteness that includes the very authors doing the pawning. The motive is clear: escapism. To accept that even now, some five decades after Martin Luther King Jr. was gunned down on a Memphis balcony, the bloody heirloom remains potent—even after a black president, and, in fact, strengthened by the fact of the black president—is to accept that racism remains, as it has since 1776, at the heart of the country’s political life.

Ta-Nehisi Coates

The focus on one sector of Trump voters—the white working class—is puzzling, given the breadth of his white coalition. Indeed, there is a kind of theater at work in which Trump is pawned off as a product of the white working class as opposed to a product of an entire whiteness that includes the very authors doing the pawning. The motive is clear: escapism. To accept that even now, some five decades after Martin Luther King Jr. was gunned down on a Memphis balcony, the bloody heirloom remains potent—even after a black president, and, in fact, strengthened by the fact of the black president—is to accept that racism remains, as it has since 1776, at the heart of the country’s political life.

Related Quotes

About Ta-Nehisi Coates

Ta-Nehisi Paul Coates ( TAH-nə-HAH-see; born September 30, 1975) is an American author and journalist. He gained a wide readership during his time as national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he wrote about cultural, social, and political issues, particularly regarding African Americans and white supremacy. Coates has worked for The Village Voice, Washington City Paper, and TIME. He has contributed to The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post, The Washington Monthly, O, and other publications.
He has published three non-fiction books: The Beautiful Struggle, Between the World and Me, and We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy. Between the World and Me won the 2015 National Book Award for Nonfiction. He has also written a Black Panther series and a Captain America series for Marvel Comics. In 2015 he received a "Genius Grant" from the MacArthur Foundation. His first novel, The Water Dancer, was published in 2019.