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James Baldwin

Ta-Nehisi Coates' new book speaks resolutely to black America (but should be read by all)

Ta-Nehisi Coates' new book speaks resolutely to black America (but should be read by all)

Recently I had a conversation with my 10-year-old son. He had asked me why my voice sometimes sounds different when I am in the company of my black friends than it does when I am on the phone talking with, say, his white camp counselor. I told him: “Because black folks have language that feels good among us, and language that is necessary for certain other folks to hear -- language we use when we are on our cultural best behavior that sounds more formed, facilitated, intentional.” My brown boy responded, not half a second between the end of my sentence and the beginning of his, clear and unhesitant: “I know.” It was the kind of exchange that Ta-Nehisi Coates...

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