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The First White President – The Atlantic – Ta-Nehisi Coates: Reviewed

In an interesting article that is making waves today, Ta-Nehisi Coates’ recent piece on Donald Trump’s rise to power is one that I believe should be a mandatory read for American voters.  While I don’t agree with everything stated in the writeup, it is a well written and much needed reflection on the question, “How did Donald Trump become President?”.

Coates looks through the history of America from the onset of slavery to the beginnings and evolution of indentured servitude and paints a picture of the inevitability of a Donald Trump.  One of the key points that Coates’ raises is the idea that all politics is identity politics and that to say otherwise is untrue.  I 100% believe this and both Democrats and Republicans play this game.  The author also discusses the odd double standard of White Americans versus other minorities.  He compares the recent opioid crisis met with funding requests to aid victims with the crack epidemic that is instead met with criminal results.  In addition, why, when a politician promises jobs to a majority white employment base, it is seen as jobs for all Americans, but if the same politician visits an employment base with majority blacks (for example), he is pandering and promoting identity politics?

In every example, Coates does a great job of making you ask the question, “Could this have happened to another group?”  Could Donald Trump win an election doing the exact same thing if he was anything other than a white male?  If the answer is no, how is that not a cause for concern and a realization that race matters (and racism exists).  Whether his election was a call the prove that “since we have a black President, any white person can be President” is a bit of a stretch, but the article does an effective job of making you consider just how far we are in race relations.

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