Response to David Brooks's recent piece on Ta-Nehisi Coates

In what he writes David Brooks is just being David Brooks, and in his piece, Listening to Ta-Nehisi Coates While White, as in most of what he writes for the Times, he is still being highly reasonable.

To read David’s piece, go here, and to read Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Letter,


go here.

—To download from Amazon’s Kindle page onto your smart phone. It will cost you only $10. I wonder why this writer didn’t make his brief essay freely available online to anyone interested. It beats me. A missed opportunity to do a neat thing. I wouldn’t have any idea why he didn’t do so. To me it seemed like an obvious thing to do, not to put a ticket price on this important essay, even if only $10. For he clearly wanted us all to hear, better, to feel his anger.

Anyway, to return to David’s piece I have this to say: — If reason be the filter through which I pass David’s words I have no quarrel with anything he says. In fact I pretty much agree with him.

However, in the world that Mr. Coates is evoking reason has absolutely no place. And that’s why many who have commented would have preferred if David had not spoken at all, had responded with silence, had left the voice of reason, where it probably wasn’t appropriate, out of it entirely.

Coates is angry, and we hear his anger, and we understand, but no way, if I too may respond inappropriately and not remain silent, no way is his private version of America any more than that, his own, private version. It’s probably not even that of his teen age son to whom he addresses the Letter. Will it be when his son is a grown man? I don’t know, but his vision is certainly not mine.

Between the World and Me is rather a letter/message to himself, and to all of us with a $10 price. But it is his own private cry, and yes the best response would perhaps have been to listen quietly, and then move on and back into the real world, our world which is made up of hundreds, thousands of no less loud and colorful voices, cries and shouts, all just as important and legitimate as those of his Letter.

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