Dear Ta Nehisi Coates,
A friend of mine recently sent me a facebook “meme” depicting one of your quotes regarding the election of Donald Trump and by proxy racism. In the meme and quote which you can read above, you assert that racism means that a person who is a different race must work harder than someone who is white to achieve the same result.
Now I know many people will take this literally and argue, “Well,that means basketball is racist, I am short so I have to jump higher to reach the hoop. Therefore, basketball is racist.” Those people are simply being contrarian and arguing semantics.
Your argument is worse than that. It is a misleading comment taking a series of anecdotal events without taking into account the facts surrounding them. Why did Barack Obama have to be so much more qualified, by your own standards I might add, than Donald Trump was to win his election.
Well, let's look at who he had to run against. Mitt Romney was a popular, moderate Republican, with an impressive track record of work in a traditionally Democratic State. Donald Trump’s opponent, Hillary Clinton, was a divisive Establishment Democrat whose campaign was haunted by controversy after controversy. Hmmmmm, I wonder why Barack had so much more trouble than Donald.
Let's set the politics of the situation aside and let's look at some NUMBERS. Because both Donald and Barack ran against the same person, Hillary Clinton, although Barack is on a smaller scale, if we look at percentages it should be clear that Barack should have had a harder time against Hillary. Barack Obama won 54% of delegates compared to Hillary’s 46%. Meanwhile in the Electoral College Donald Trump won 56% of US Electors to Hillary’s 42% and lost the popular vote to boot!
If we also want to consider Barack’s election against Mitt, who is also a Wealthy White Man, we see Barack trounced him with 62% of the Electoral College to Mitt’s 38%. Hmmmmmm I suppose the system is truly stacked to favor Wealthy White Men over Wealthy Black ones right?
At the end of the day Mr Coates, your misrepresentation of facts and use of anecdotal evidence to push a harmful narrative is shameful. As a journalist and more importantly as an American pushing for equality your willingness to latch onto a bottom of the barrel argument for the sake of getting a few views is repulsive and no better than the click bait articles and memes you see on facebook… oh wait.
Moussa “Trash” Bechwati