Journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates’ love letter to Barack Obama

by Niles Niemuth and David Walsh, via WSWS

Ta-Nehisi Coates, national correspondent for the Atlantic, recently wrote a lengthy piece for that publication, “My President Was Black.” It is a love letter to Barack Obama.
Coates is the author of Between the World and Me, which gained him the 2015 National Book Award for Nonfiction. Last year he received a “genius” grant, worth $625,000, from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
“My President Was Black” is a piece that takes sycophancy and prostration before authority to extraordinary new heights.
The Atlantic—for many years the Atlantic Monthly—was founded in Boston in 1857 as a journal of cultural commentary. It was initially an organ of leading New England literary circles (James Russell Lowell, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Harriet Beecher Stowe, etc.), which at the time had some substance to them, including opposition to slavery. Presumably, even in its present state, the publication views itself as a commentator on and critic of the American cultural and political scene.
But the Atlantic’s “national correspondent” openly expresses admiration and even awe for the top politician in the country, his wife and the people around them. It is not necessary to be a socialist, one need only be someone with democratic sentiments, to see that this is an intellectual and moral conflict of interest. Would it not have raised eyebrows if the Atlantic had employed a journalist who met regularly with and was so clearly and self-admittedly in the back pocket of Bill Clinton or George W. Bush?
If the reader thinks we exaggerate, let us provide a small sampling from “My President Was Black.”
Describing a White House party attended by wealthy celebrities (including himself) in October 2016, presented by Black Entertainment Television, Coates writes: “This would not happen again, and everyone knew it. It was not just that there might never be another African American president of the United States. It was the feeling that this particular black family, the Obamas, represented the best of black people, the ultimate credit to the race, incomparable in elegance and bearing.”
After retroactively lauding the future president’s keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, Coates continues, “Over the next 12 years, I came to regard Obama as a skilled politician, a deeply moral human being, and one of the greatest presidents in American history.”
Discussing an “off-the-record” conversation he and a number of other journalists held with the president at the White House, Coates writes self-deprecatingly, “My efforts were laughable and ineffective. …. I was discombobulated by fear—not by fear of the power of his office (though that is a fearsome and impressive thing) but by fear of his [Obama’s] obvious brilliance.”
Remarkably, the final “chapter” of Coates’ essay—about the Obamas’ impending departure from the White House—is titled, “When You Left, You Took All of Me With You,” a line from a Marvin Gaye love song. The Atlantic national correspondent concludes his 16,000-word article by describing how he had felt “seeing Barack and Michelle during the inauguration, the car slow-dragging down Pennsylvania Avenue, the crowd cheering, and then the two of them rising up out of the limo, rising up from fear, smiling, waving, defying despair, defying history, defying gravity.”
What can one say?  “The Ascension of the Obamas.”  This is hagiography of an almost unhinged variety.
Coates is a representative of a privileged layer of African Americans that has emerged and prospered on the basis of the American ruling elite’s Affirmative Action and “black capitalism” strategy over the last several decades, i.e., the deliberate cultivation of a section of the black petty bourgeoisie who would identify with and come to the defense of US capitalism.  Black intellectuals of an earlier period—Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin and others—would have been organically incapable, whatever the immediate state of their political views, of producing this sort of worship of state power.
Seeing society in racial terms is pernicious and leads in every single case in a foul political direction.  One must say bluntly as well that Coates’ perpetual insinuation that no one in history has suffered except African Americans, and, more especially, Ta-Nehisi Coates, is repulsive.  The self-pity of well-to-do social layers on the make for more is never a pretty thing to encounter.
Coates’ occasional references to the conditions of working class African Americans are entirely hollow.  Otherwise, he could not be so entirely blind to the right-wing character of the Obama administration, whose policies have led to the worsening of conditions for tens of millions, black, white and immigrant.
Because of his fantastical presentation of the Obama administration’s policies as “progressive,” Coates is obliged to blame Donald Trump’s victory on the supposed accumulated resentment of white people against America’s first black president.
“Whiteness in America,” he writes, as is his wont, “is a different symbol—a badge of advantage.”  According to Coates, “For eight long years, the badge-holders [that is, the white majority] watched him. … The badge-holders fumed.  They wanted their country back. And, though no one at the [October 2016 White House] farewell party knew it, in a couple of weeks they would have it.”
Coates never coherently explains how Obama was elected—and re-elected.  One has the impression reading the Atlantic piece that Obama’s 2008 victory was simply the opportunity for the racist majority to gather itself and prepare a counter-offensive.  But then, Coates writes blandly, “Yet in 2012, as in 2008, Obama won anyway.” How?
This is the best he can offer: “Pointing to citizens who voted for both Obama and Trump does not disprove racism; it evinces it.  To secure the White House, Obama needed to be a Harvard-trained lawyer with a decade of political experience and an incredible gift for speaking to cross sections of the country; Donald Trump needed only money and white bluster.”  Truly wonderful arguments.  The white population was merely waiting for the occasion to reveal its heart of darkness, an opportunity temporarily thwarted by the “brilliant” Obama, but provided by the “blustering” Trump.  This is not political analysis, but self-serving sophistry.
There was no rush to Trump in 2016.  There was a fall in the Democratic Party vote in important regions, including in numerous inner city areas, because of the miserable, widely hated policies of the Obama administration and Clinton’s promise of more of the same.
In multiple, apparently intimate conversations, according to his own account, Coates gave Obama a free hand to list the “accomplishments” of his administration without offering serious criticism or challenge.
“[D]espite this entrenched racial resentment, and in the face of complete resistance by congressional Republicans, overtly launched from the moment Obama arrived in the White House,” Coates gushes, “the president accomplished major feats. He remade the nation’s health-care system. He revitalized a Justice Department that vigorously investigated police brutality and discrimination, and he began dismantling the private-prison system for federal inmates.”
What country has Coates been living in for the last eight years? On numerous occasions the Justice Department under Obama whitewashed rampant abuse and racism in police departments across the US and argued in defense of the use of force by police every time the issue came before the Supreme Court. The Obama administration supported the suppression of protests over police killings in Ferguson, Missouri and Baltimore, Maryland, and continued funneling military-grade equipment to police departments throughout the country. It has deported some 2.5 million impoverished undocumented workers.
The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, Obama’s single major legislative achievement, was designed to increase corporate profits by destroying the health benefits won by workers over decades of struggle, while channeling billions of dollars into the coffers of the health insurance companies.
Coates does not refer once to Obama’s foreign policy. The 2009 Nobel Peace Prize winner will have the distinction of being the first resident of the White House to have been at war every day of his two terms. How many hundreds of thousands of people—or more—have died as the direct or indirect result of Obama’s policies in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia?
Obama, Coates’ “deeply moral human being,” presided over “kill lists” and expanded the use of unmanned aerial vehicles, known as drones, to rain death and destruction on far-flung parts of the planet.
Behind the backs of the American people, the Obama administration has pursued a foreign policy that has set the stage for devastating conflicts with nuclear-armed Russia and China.
Coates’ silence on these matters is not an error, but indicates his support for the global operations of the American military.
Nor does he have anything to say about the trillion-dollar bailout of Wall Street and the halving of auto workers’ wages, two of Obama’s first actions in office.
Coates’ essay is disgraceful and revealing. His deplorable racialism is certainly not incidental, but, in the end, his work reflects, above all, the degree to which a considerable section of the American upper middle class “intelligentsias” of every ethnicity has been integrated into the state and now functions largely as a propaganda unit of the White House, Pentagon and CIA.


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Pains Conquest
Pains Conquest
Dec 28, 2016 10:31 PM

Interesting that two white writers take offense at a piece Ta-Nahesi Coates writes of his recollections of Obama – as a black man in America – not primarily as a political leader, but as an African American social leader and how he got to where he was and spin it to strip both men of their blackness; something which in America is integral to their very identities. Know what else strips black men of their blackness? 5 miles of dirt road.
And then there’s “his deplorable racialism ” – what kind of fucking bullshit 19th Century line is that? This is a black man writing about another black man from a black perspective. I’m sure he’s really sorry he didn’t white it up for you white readers out there.
Ta-Nehesi has often, and frequently, criticised Obama throughout his presidency in print, and it is now, at the end of his presidency that he is writing this summation of that era that he, and many black Americans fear they may never see again. (And I doubt either of the writers are aware of some of the various chapter title references in their smug, white intellectual ivory towers – maybe next time Coates will reference some Death In June song titles for them.)
Nor, do they appreciate what it means historically for the White House to have an entire party being held consisting of African-Americans? And what that might mean to the writer and many of the other attendees? Clue: it was kind of a big deal.
Instead, this piece comes across as petty racism, mean-spirited and judging by the comments, as are many of the commentors. “House negro”, “servile”, “quisling”, “retard”, “coconut” – I dare some of the people using these words online to say them to any black person they meet on the street to their face.
If the writers wanted to write a tear-down of Obama’s eight years in office they could have just written it from whole cloth, instead of clinging to someone else’s coattails. Or do they need to have a better writer’s name in the headline to show up in the search engine so they can be found, hmm?

Trumpesconi (@DonTrumpesconi)
Trumpesconi (@DonTrumpesconi)
Jan 9, 2017 8:47 AM
Reply to  Pains Conquest

What I find interesting is how a lot of black people both in the UA and outside are reluctant to criticise Obama. Excusing his moving to the right of GWB 43 as “he was not allowed to do anything by the Congress and the Repugnicants etc.”
Of course this is why his election was engineered, to draw the sting, for a while. To let time pass. To give people some temporary delusion that he would do at least something or failing that to at least say something, which he sometimes did.
His legacy was to have superficially calmed things down for a while, nothing more. The real underlying situation is now much worse that it was in 2008.
So having tried BO 44 as a temporary delusion we now have DT 45 as an illusion. Things have become more virtual and hallucinated and detached and unreal BUT there are real consequences. Decline, reduction, withdrawal, depression, recession, aggression, defeat, collapse, contraction.
Again like 44, if 45 tries to really change anything significant he will be blocked or assassinated.

Jan 11, 2017 7:34 PM
Reply to  Pains Conquest

It is true, some parts of this article were “tone deaf” as white people writing about racism often are. And the article did not emphasize the voices of Black people in Amerikkka enough. However, the fundamental point this article is making, that Donald Trump did not win because white folks who did not vote for Obama came out in mass to vote in Trump IS true. Trump won because: (1) white people who voted for Obama in swing states in both elections voted for Trump in this election; (2) most of those white people voted against Hillary, not against Obama, and (3) like those disappointed white people who hoped to get change and didn’t get it, Black people stayed home and did not vote. The majority of Americans are worse off now than they were 8 years ago and it is illogical for them to vote for a continuation of more hope rhetoric. Trump was the anti-establishment candidate–if Donald Duck ran an an anti-establishment candidate on the Republican platform he could have won also.
It is important for white people and folks outside of America to hear the voices of average Black Americans. The vast majority of Black people whose lives are HARDER THAN EVER eight years later, unlike Ta-Nahesi Coates’. The website http://BlackAgendaReport.com is a radical, but not sectarian, viewpoint for news by and for Black Americans from a radical viewpoint. A recent article speaking exactly to this from the left-liberal Counterpoint is “Obama’s Racial Counter-Revolution and the Disappointment of Ta-Nahesi Coates” at http://www.counterpunch.org/2017/01/11/obamas-racial-counter-revolution-and-the-disappointment-of-ta-nahesi-coates/.
Thank you, Off-Guardian, your news is so very important in this time of massive fake mainstream media news.

Seamus Padraig
Seamus Padraig
Dec 26, 2016 7:54 PM

On the subject of Obama, Zero Hedge was a lot closer to the truth than The Altantic: http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-12-25/losers-malice-whats-behind-obamas-attacks-putin. It’s sad. As recently as 15 or twenty years ago, The Atlantic was still a readable magazine.

James Williamson
James Williamson
Dec 26, 2016 7:07 PM

Wow. Coates is rather clueless, isn’t he? Or just plain servile.

Seamus Padraig
Seamus Padraig
Dec 26, 2016 7:41 PM

In other words, he’s what we in America call a “genius”. 😀

Dec 26, 2016 7:03 AM

Malcolm X wouldn’t have had to look beyond this person for an illustration of the House Negro.

Dec 24, 2016 6:51 AM

Well Mr President certainly does not get fawning adoration from The First Lady, so maybe he needs to get it somewhere else. Hookers are a no-no, but journos? MAybe he can spin that OK over the dinner table….

Kathleen Lowrey
Kathleen Lowrey
Dec 24, 2016 3:08 AM

Cripes. First the misogyny, then the anti-semitism, now the racism. Where do the leftists who understand why Clinton was indefensible, reject propaganda about Syria and Ukraine, but are not swivel-eyedly reactionary about identity politics hang out?

Dec 24, 2016 6:35 AM

Where do the leftists who don’t toss around unsupported accusations of “misogyny”, “anti-semitism” or “racism” hang out? Some of them are here, but you’re not one of them.

Douglas Urbanski
Douglas Urbanski
Dec 24, 2016 2:45 PM

There’s nothing more racist or sexist than the SJW assumption that no racial minority and no woman can be defined by or critiqued for anything beyond their race or gender.

Moriarty's Left Sock
Moriarty's Left Sock
Dec 24, 2016 2:54 PM

Hmmm…so what form would a non-racist critique of Coates’ piece read like?
Is it racist to point out that Coates’ adoration of Obama is bordering on unhinged?
Is it racist to point out that Coates’ claim that Obama is moral is not supported by Obama’s actions in office?
How could a critique of Coates’ piece be constructed to remove the racism you see there?

Norman Pilon
Norman Pilon
Dec 24, 2016 4:49 PM

Hi Kathleen,
Greetings from a swivel-eyed reactionary!
One of the best rationales I have read for foregoing all forms of identity politics on at least a personal level was nicely summed up in the following few words:
blockquote>I, the man of color, want only this:
That the tool never possess the man. That the enslavement of man by man cease forever. That is, of one by another. That it be possible for me to discover and to love man, wherever he may be.
The Negro is not. Any more than the white mam.
Both must turn their backs on the inhuman voices which were those of their respective ancestors in order that authentic communication be possible. Before it can adopt a positive voice, freedom requires an effort at dis-alienation. At the beginning of his life a man is always clotted, he is drowned in contingency. The tragedy of the man is that he was once a child.
It is through the effort to recapture the self and to scrutinize the self, it is through the lasting tension of their freedom that men will be able to create the ideal conditions of existence for a human world.
Superiority? Inferiority?
Why not the quite simple attempt to touch the other, to feel the other, to explain the other to myself?
Was my freedom not given to me then in order to build the world of the You?
[. . .] I want the world to recognize, with me, the open door of every consciousness.
My final prayer:
O my body, make of me always a man who questions!

                                                            -- Frantz Fanon, 1986

Fanon recognizes that curing oneself of the pathology of race or ethnicity, whether as a person accidentally marked by the ‘sign’ of the oppressor or that of the oppressed, doesn’t automatically translate into ridding the world of a discrimination embedded in structural imperatives inherited from a past rife in sectarian and racial divisions, but it does help the individual recapture a sense of dignity and self-worth in world that would deny it to him or her, and thereby liberate him or her toward the greater task of collectively challenging the rule of power vested in property or money, which is by far the greater curse upon all of mankind.
Or are you comfortable with the idea that justice is served if only the face of the oppressor becomes representative of all races, cultures, genders, or whatever happens to be the “oppressed community” defined in such terms and that you happen to privilege?
As Fanon also put it, the white man who likes the black man is every bit as much a racist as the white man who hates the black man, and conversely.
Another beautifully succinct formulation of the same idea, by the way, is that by Jiddu Krishnamurti:

“When you call yourself an Indian or a Muslim or a Christian or a European, or anything else, you are being violent. Do you see why it is violent? Because you are separating yourself from the rest of mankind. When you separate yourself by belief, by nationality, by tradition, it breeds violence. So a man who is seeking to understand violence does not belong to any country, to any religion, to any political party or partial system; he is concerned with the total understanding of mankind.”

Dec 24, 2016 6:36 PM
Reply to  Norman Pilon

Most excellent Fanon-referencing post, Norman! Wasted on its target, most probably, but not wasted on us.
I’m running out of things I consider more exasperating than crypto-NeoLiberal-SJWs, btw.
“the white man who likes the black man is every bit as much a racist as the white man who hates the black man…”
Not unlike the swinger who invariably proclaims how much he “loves women”.

Dec 25, 2016 4:38 AM

Dear Kathleen: If the following piece had been written by a white journalist instead of Ta-Nehisi Coates, would this not strike you as racist? Yet it is Coates who brings up the issue of race, the notion of black people as though they are another species of human: the framing that, if done by anyone other than a black person, would attract accusations of racism.
“…This would not happen again, and everyone knew it. It was not just that there might never be another African American president of the United States. It was the feeling that this particular black family, the Obamas, represented the best of black people, the ultimate credit to the race, incomparable in elegance and bearing …”

Dec 24, 2016 12:04 AM

“his work reflects, above all, the degree to which a considerable section of the American upper middle class “intelligentsias” of every ethnicity has been integrated into the state and now functions largely as a propaganda unit of the White House, Pentagon and CIA.”
Propaganda doesn’t really work if it isn’t wall-to-wall, 24/7 and self-perpetuating. It’s only now, with our Total (two-way) Immersion Media, that Propaganda has truly come into its own. There were probably more heretics (people who thought one way while professing to think another) in a village under, say, Medieval Christianity, than there are in all of contemporary California. I now have an utterly different sense of Humanity than what I had a decade or so ago. I thought the pro-Dubya people were slimy and base, largely, but at least those Dubya partisans were recognizable human types (like the Klan) and consistent: generally Selfish, law-of-the-jungle Fucks who put Money and Power above all else, at all times. I never knew one who pretended to be an Ascended Being. This new breed of Propaganda-produced, (neo) Liberal Schizo-Zombie (who thinks it’s saving the world by drinking free-range lattes while cheering on a smiling psychopath who incinerates babies and dismembers grannies with his ongoing drone program, for example)… yipes. What the fuck are they, really? Huxwellian blowback!

Dec 23, 2016 10:05 PM

The authors, who possess, clearly, properly functioning moral compasses, accurately take the measure of Obama and establishment sycophants like Ta-Nehisi Coates. I confess, I don’t read around in the major media (dailies or otherwise) much. I also confess that I’m fond of referring to rightwingers, like Obama and this fellow Coates, as having embraced darkness and stupidity, which darkness leads to. Darkness is it’s own reward. You can start out ‘clever’ (smart enough to be clever), when you scheme successfully so that you get ahead in this world, but over time, your embrace of darkness – lying, deceit, manipulation and working with other exploiters to exploit and oppress – sees that cleverness, which was never wisdom, even if it displayed intelligence, fade. When I hear Obama speak (and for me, I never really heard anything else), I hear nonsense. Dangerous, perverted nonsense.
This article brings home to me that boy o boy are those who have ventured down the path of darkness a sorry lot. Coates’s sickening ode to the Obamas isn’t just sycophantic. It’s embarrassingly dumb. I don’t spend much time looking at what this glossy crowd says about our violent world and the deciders who make it so. And that’s probably good. I don’t know that my mental health would be well served by knowing more than I know.
Thank goodness for ‘fake news’!

Dec 23, 2016 9:08 PM

This is an excellent treatment of bald-faced propaganda. It occurred to me recently that this and like appeals to the intelligentsia are demonstrative of the nearly complete stratification of contemporary “political discourse,” if we can even still speak with such a term. One appears to join the intelligentsia in its current form when they begin to take into their identity, or perhaps more narrowly their means of self worth, by comparison of themselves to others via one, or perhaps even a few, stratified currents of sectarianism. In Mr. Coates’ case this is obviously race. But, if you’ll allow me to stick with the left for now, we also see this in the case of LGBT issues, women’s issues, etc. There is a persistent abandonment of thorough treatment of the world in exchange for narrow and often (ironically) extraordinarily privileged “discourse.”
The adoption of an identity as someone who cares or is knowledgeable about such sectarianism is charged by moral outrage at topics of terribly low hanging fruit, especially structural issues which require no substantive activism, and is perpetuated by endless battles against the simply uninitiated or those sinners disagreeable to these currents. Such failures in sophistication result in these strange articles where one can herald a character like Obama for his significance to people of color, while displacing his inarguable, real and physical damage to people of color like those of the Middle East and Northern Africa. We’ll exclude the tragic people of Ukraine as they are mere white-skins undeserving of attention by dubious agents like Coates. The case of Mr. Coates is perhaps more extreme as I cant conceive of, for example, attempting to pass off Obama as “committed” to “reversing the War on Drugs” as anything but a lie. However, recently a leftist desperately lamented Trump’s election to me, “Im so afraid for people who dont love like you and me (meaning members of the LGBT community).” I was flabbergasted by this. I couldn’t muster much of a counter to her concern. I simply kept wondering, I wonder how the LGBT community of Syria feel about the Trump election? I don’t know any members of those community personally, but I think I might know the answer.
Quite simply, when one has been sold on narrow, unsophisticated means of worldview, fortified by identity and trend, their ability to perceive of the world with criteria beyond those means of worldview weakens to the very same degree. The result is that, repulsive and even potentially dangerous as he (or any president for that matter) is, the nearly unicorn status of Trump as a somehow electable antiwar candidate is missed while his “symbolism” as a retaliation of “whiteness” stands large and outfront. If Obama were to have been replaced by Hillary instead, how do you think Mr. Coates article would have been different? People like Vaska provide some means of escaping the rat-maze of such stratification. And, it is in that frame that this retaliatory fervor about “fake-news” can be seen as the truly terrifying attempt that it is, to plug the few meager holes in the damn of true societal pacification.

Dec 24, 2016 2:50 AM
Reply to  AnonCommenter

What you identify may also be accountable for what has become known as “post-truth” politics/society.
Maybe people generally have finally stopped listening to or being influenced by the mass media?
When we are all being served up daily with real fake news by the mass media, what else is there to do?
Ultimately, we have to rely upon our own instincts if we cannot rely upon factually based information.
Why did people not vote the “right” way for Hillary?
Because their personal human instincts made it impossible to trust her or the Democrats any longer.
It really is that simple.

Dec 26, 2016 9:14 AM
Reply to  John

Yup. I have largely stopped reading, save the sports section and chronicles of the celebrity armageddon that has been 2016.
It’s just good mental, intellectual, spiritual hygiene – to steer clear of blatant untruth as much as is possible.

Greg Bacon
Greg Bacon
Dec 23, 2016 7:35 PM

“…a deeply moral human being…” Really? Which Obama is he talking about? The one I know and that tens of thousands dead Muslims know is a homicidal maniac, who seems to derive pleasure from killing people thousands of miles away. Dear Leader even gets to pick the next victims personally for his drone murders. He lied about Libya and that nation got destroyed by the USA and NATO; he lied about Syria and that nation almost got ‘wiped off the face of the Earth,’ thanks to OBOMBER. And he’s still fanning the flames for the next war against Iran, even though he’s leaving office.
In 2008, when he had a chance to set Wall Street right and clean up the corruption, he tossed Americans overboard and snuggled up to the fiends that have been stealing–and continue to do so–from our pension funds and retirement accounts for decades. This is moral?
I realize marijuana is legal in many places, but I suggest that Coates cut back on his daily joint intake.
252 Ways Obama is destroying America

Dec 23, 2016 10:42 PM
Reply to  Greg Bacon

That’s quite a list! I find #54 interesting. There’s also the Jeffrey St. Clair and Joshua Frank edited book titled “Hopeless – Barack Obama And The Politics Of illusion.” One nugget from that interesting book would be the section that talks about Senator Obama’s support for the Class Action Fairness Act Of 2005 (http://bit.ly/2haBt82). Before that, victims (mostly colored) would have been better able to get redress for damages from crimes like those perpetrated against them by scammers in the subprime mortgage fiasco that led to the global financial meltdown (but no meaningful reforms).

Dec 23, 2016 7:23 PM

Obama has been a complete disappointment.
Only today – finally – his administration may be actually contemplating doing something about trying to stop the extension of illegal Israeli settlements in Occupied Palestine.
Where have he and his administration been for the last 8 years?
The only defence I can find for him is that with less than a month in office, he can be sure he won’t be JFK’ed.

Dec 24, 2016 11:48 AM
Reply to  John

I agree, though Ms Power’s abstention was purely symbolic – and they know it. For the rest of their term the Obama regime has been tacitly and tactically supporting the encroachment into Palestinian land – and we all know where Trumps sympathies lie.
So there will be no peace process and no two state solution – although the likes of Mr Coates will eulogize about “great statesmanship” I would call it for what it is – an empty and spineless betrayal by a woman and her ‘leader’ who have repeatedly shown themselves as incapable of shame. Good riddance.

Dec 24, 2016 5:19 PM
Reply to  BigB

I think the idea of a so-called two-state solution has been utterly negated by fascist-zionists like Netanyahu.
The more he renders such an outcome as being increasingly impossible, the more he makes a single-state solution the only real solution in town.
So, while I lukewarmly welcome Obama’s final minor throw of the UN dice, I do not expect it to have any meaningful outcome and I believe that the fascist-zionists will end up having to incorporate all the people living inside occupied former British Mandate Palestine into one country.
This will clearly render his attempts at having a one-religion state an impossibility.
Serve him and all his fascist-zionist hangers-on right!
On that forward-looking note, I wish all offGuardian supporters compliments of the season and a happy 2017.

Dec 26, 2016 12:31 PM
Reply to  John

The two state, the one state or indeed any solution are negated by Netanyahu – that was part of his mandate, I believe.
The one state solution is flawed demographically from the outset – the Palestinian people would be ‘included’ as second class citizens without universal suffrage (no change there then) – nor would the exiled children of the Nakba be allowed the right of return – as the Israelis would then be in the minority.
The dire situation is complicated by the fact that there are gas reserves in Gaza – which Israel “would never” buy from Palestine (i.e. it is theirs) and oil in the Golan Heights (ditto.)
As if to say f__k you to the UN, hundreds more homes have been announced in East Jerusalem today – that must be at least a hundred UN resolutions they have ignored with impunity and without sanction (wasn’t Iraq invaded for ignoring two?)
So, it will be at least four more years of apartheid, defended by Trump and supported by the international community. The UNSC resolution is an irrelevance once again.

Dec 23, 2016 7:22 PM

Coates is exceptionally dumb, admits to reading comic books, and may actually be clinically retarded. His writing is like watching an adult retard masturbate in public.
His career is the exemplar of black privilege.

Dec 24, 2016 12:21 AM
Reply to  Pavlik

“His career is the exemplar of black privilege.”
NATO/WASHINGTON learned long ago to hide behind the “Liberal” cover of using Minority/Female/ LGBT kapos in highly visible positions. No one expected the Fourth Reich to come studded with so many smiling brown and not-straight-white-male faces… the trick will probably work another generation until people expect a charming-and-capable Black Woman running the camps (and so on), and then they’ll have to change tactics again. I’m sure both MLK and MX would be flabbergasted to see what “The Prize” turned out to be (token collaborators). The First Black President and he makes LBJ look like a fucking peace-loving beatnik in comparison. And I say all this as a Writer of Color.

Dec 24, 2016 2:39 AM
Reply to  StAug

A friend of mine describes Obama as a coconut President: brown on the outside but pure white on the inside.
I suppose the same appellation could be attributed to quislings like Coates?

Dec 24, 2016 6:28 AM
Reply to  John

Well, the last thing I want to do is assign color values to character traits… I just think that politicians like BHO/ HRC are psychopaths and modern propaganda-writers like Coates are useful idiots with a schizophrenic, cog-diss twist. “Bananas”, “coconuts”, “Oreos”… I think we should look at those slurs more closely, but that’s another discussion!

Doug Colwell
Doug Colwell
Dec 27, 2016 6:47 AM
Reply to  StAug

I’m not sure about MLK but my reading of MX is that this would be no surprise to him. From what I’ve heard and read Malcolm saw “Uncle Tom” pretty clearly, and I don’t think he would have been flabbergasted or surprised in the least. Maybe that’s just me.
Aside from that it’s a great comment.

Dec 27, 2016 9:33 AM
Reply to  Doug Colwell

Hey Doug!
Yeah, that comment was a little too compressed… I probably should have gone into greater detail about my feeling that both men would have been astonished that so many fell for the trick of the meaningless “achievement” of BHO as “the first Black president”. Just as so many were primed to fall for the trick of HRC as “the first female president”. Even for the people who were eventually disappointed with what BHO was clearly, from the beginning, programmed to do (and not to do), the trick obviously worked, because the expectations were so high. But why were expectations so high? When MX was eliminated, he took with him not only his own particular unbamboozleability but the viability of Unbamboozleability as a political preset (FBI’s cointelpro finished the job in the ’70s): too many started opting for “Positivity” as the highest social value. MX is honored as an icon but his “anger” and “bitterness” (and all those readings) were sidetracked as people flocked toward pied pipers of “affirmation” and “hope” and away from “haters”. The entire culture, including all colors and religions and genders and all that, has become an aggregate Dupe addicted to fanciful tales. Much easier to fool such a Dupe than it is to fool an “angry” Skeptic who’s ever alert to the latest angle of the scam. I think it’s time for the culture to reconsider its default position on “Haters”, for whom MX is a patron saint, really. Messenger Shooting is a corollary default with an eerily resonant title, eh?
And: I think we have to move beyond the well-meaning formulation that BHO is betraying his “true nature” as a “Black” man by being yet another charming psychopath in the WH; psychopathy isn’t peculiar to “Whites”. Proportionally speaking, there are just as many idiots/ con artists/ killers/ fools/ cornballs among Blacks as any other group. Believing in even “positive” Racial Essentialism will get us, as we see, pretty badly duped.
That’s what I should have said in the first place! Laugh

James Wells
James Wells
Dec 28, 2016 9:35 PM
Reply to  Pavlik

Outright ableism, sneering intellectual bullying, boorish classism, and borderline racism aside, how do you really feel?