Creating an interesting comment space can take a lot of time and energy. In an interview from December, 2011, Bob speaks to The Atlantic senior editor and blogger Ta-Nehisi Coates about his approach to internet comments and his own heavily moderated comment section.
Atlantic editor Ta-Nehisi Coates has also been covering the Trayvon Martin story since very early on. However, he tells Brooke that he hesitated for a couple weeks before he started writing about the story. Coates says he sees so many stories about young black men who are killed in questionable circumstances, and those stories are rarely covered by the media.
The uneasy embrace of slavery in colonial America produced an economic boom, rendered the founder's debates over freedom from kings and despots questionable distortions of truth and logic, slavery enshrined rascism in the U.S. Constitution and made the Civil War inevitable. The War itself created an identity for the United States from which there was no escape, even though it seems from time to time that the Civil War blinks out in relevance. Writer Ta-Nehisi Coates says this narrative has to change. In a piece in this month's Atlantic, Coates says more black Americans need to study the war and their role in it in order to understand their place in history.
In "Game Change," a book about the 2008 presidential campaign being released today, the authors report that Nevada Sen. Harry Reid's
encouragement of Obama was unequivocal. He was wowed by Obama's oratorical gifts and believed that the country was ready to embrace a black presidential candidate, especially one such as Obama – a "light-skinned" African American "with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one," as he said privately. Reid was convinced, in fact, that Obama's race would help him more than hurt him in a bid for the Democratic nomination.
Reid's words have drawn a flurry of criticism from RNC Chairman Michael Steele and other politicians who compare the statement to Sen. Trent Lott's 2002 assertion that if the country had voted for segregationist Dixiecrat Strom Thurmond in 1948, "we wouldn't have had all these problems over the years." Here to help unpack coded racial statements and point out those sitting in plain view are Omar Wasow, contributor to The Root, and Ta-Nehisi Coates, senior editor for The Atlantic, and author of “The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood.”
This week marks 25 years since "The Cosby Show" first hit the airwaves. The show documented the rich and often hilarious family life of the Huxtables, an upper-middle-class black family living in Brooklyn. The show starred Bill Cosby as Dr. Cliff Huxtable, an obstetrician, his wife Claire, an attorney played by Phylicia Rashad, and their four (and later, five) children and eventually, grandchildren. The show revolutionized television's portrayal of black families; our friend, Essence Magazine Senior Editor Patrik Henry Bass, has been looking back at the television phenomenon and thinking about how it has aged. We also get a perspective from Ta-Nehisi Coates, who profiled Bill Cosby for The Atlantic last year.
"In terms of American television, there had never been images of African-Americans the way we saw with the Huxtables. You have to remember that "Amos & Andy" was the first vision that white folks had of African-Americans when it debuted in the 1950s, and the images shown on that show were so stereotypical that the NAACP had it removed in 1966. We had "Julia," with Diahann Carroll in the late '60s -- she never had a husband. Her husband was conveniently killed in Vietnam. We had "Sanford & Son," who was a garbageman who had no wife. We had the Evans family in "Good Times" who lived in a housing project where the father was killed three years into the run of the show. We had "Webster," who was this magical negro child who had no family, who was adopted by white parents. And we had the Willises on "Diff'rent Strokes," who were taken in by a white man on Park Avenue, almost like a pedophile ... [laughter] ... so when the Huxtables came on in 1984, no one gave it a shot at surviving. The sitcom had been declared dead; NBC had been declared dead ... It saved NBC and it saved the sitcom. "
--Patrik Henry Bass, senior editor at Essence magazine
"As much as I loved the Cosby Show, I think it always bore the burden -- and any show in that time -- of representing all black people, which I think was always just a little too heavy to carry."