Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Janie B. Cheaney ― The atheism of Ta-Nehisi Coates gets in the way of real reconciliation

The atheism of Ta-Nehisi Coates gets in the way of real reconciliation

(World Magazine)

As an atheist, Coates may not be able to conceive of any reality beyond the physical body, but it’s an odd formulation: Instead of “The white man is out to get me,” whites are always, consciously or not, angling for his body and the bodies of the brothers. The emotional core of his memoir is the death of a college friend, Prince Jones, in 2000. Jones was on the road late at night when he was mistaken for a wanted drug dealer and pursued by an undercover cop. It was not a racist incident—the officer was also black—but somehow this and other forms of violence in the community are due entirely to white plundering.
Black identity is bound up with suffering, whether intentional or collateral. The damage is great; the pain is real; the roots are long. But though Coates’ book is hailed as an important “conversation starter,” it does not invite conversation. He presents his feelings as the whole story. He adopts suffering as his identity, to which there’s no adequate answer except further suffering (while living off the substantial royalties of the most heralded book of 2015).
Whites are told that they must deal honestly with the tortured history of race relations in America. But by now that history is too tortured for either side to deal with honestly. As Jeremiah 17:9 asks, Who can understand the heart?

Read the full article HERE.