Thursday, February 11, 2010

Why Ta-Nehisi Coates Is, for Me, the Ideal Blogger

Because of posts like this: "There are No Desperadoes. There Will Be No Rosewood." It begins:
It's been twenty years since Nelson Mandela got out. This was like the defining political event of my youth. I was either a freshman or sophomore in high school, can't remember which. What I think is pretty cliche: Whatever South Africa's problems, the fact that the country (and its leaders) did not descend into mass revenge mode is an enduring tribute to compassion and empathy.

It's a great object lesson on how to handle being wronged. It's one of the things I've struggled to accept as an African-American. There is no Rosewood. Often you are wronged, and by your hand, or even in your lifetime, your persecutors will never be brought to account. There are limits to our justice. It doesn't mean you shrink in the face of injustice (South Africa did no such thing) but that you recognize that it's not really in your power to even the odds.
Read the whole thing.

Coates, or "TNC" to his growing legion of fans, is the guy who turned me on to the fascinations of 19th-century American history, and the almost-too-good-to-be-true Oxford History of the United States series, with his updates last summer as he made his way through James McPherson's definitive one-volume Civil War history Battle Cry of Freedom. Since then I've also devoured What Hath God Wrought. The Glorious Cause is already on my bookshelf, waiting for me to finish The Bauhaus Group.

Also, as usual, his commenters are off-the-charts outstanding on this post. This is all due to TNC's assiduous policing of his comments section: he warns, and then bans, the trolls and the topic hijackers. It makes all the difference, and it takes no small amount of effort on his part. If I could read only one blog (probably should read only one blog), it would be Coates's, no contest.

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