Ta-Nehisi Coates of the Atlantic and Jonathan Chait of New York have, over the past week, been engaged in something equal parts duel and duet in the pixels of their respective magazine’s websites. Their debate has plumbed the depths of race and racism in America, working out the questions of civic and historical responsibility in a public forum with respect and grace. As readers and citizens we are privileged to bear witness to this dialogue. They’ve also thrown some damn good shade at each other, so let’s look at that.
The Gawker piece provides a quick synopsis of the debate (you should read all the links) and since then Coates (who is the clear winner in my opinion) has followed up with this and this, which I cannot recommend enough. Continue reading