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Progress and Hope

Progress and Hope

A friend of mine shared this enlightening and powerful Ezra Klein and Ta-Nehisi Coates interview a few days ago. It's chock full of compelling assessments, information and history, so I thought I would share it. The show notes are below and I hope you take 90 minutes to listen to it...


The first question I asked Ta-Nehisi Coates, in this episode, was broad: What does he see right now, as he looks out at the country? “I can't believe I'm gonna say this,” he replied, “but I see hope. I see progress right now.”

Coates is the author of the National Book Award-winner 'Between the World and Me' and 'The Water Dancer,' among others. We discuss how this moment differs from 1968, the tension between “law” and “order,” the contested legacy of MLK, Trump's view of the presidency, police abolition, why we need to renegotiate the idea of “the public,” how the consensus on criminal justice has shifted, what Joe Biden represents, the proper role of the state, the poetry Coates recommends, and much more.

But there’s one thread of this conversation, in particular, that I haven’t been able to put down: There is now, as there always is amidst protests, a loud call for the protesters to follow the principles of nonviolence. And that call, as Coates says, comes from people who neither practice nor heed nonviolence in their own lives. But what if we turned that conversation around: What would it mean to build the state around principles of nonviolence, rather than reserving that exacting standard for those harmed by the state?

Book recommendations:
'Punishment and Inequality in America' by Bruce Western
'Marked: Race, Crime, and Finding Work in an Era of Mass Incarceration' by Devah Pager
'The Country Between Us' by Carolyn Forche

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