An American author, journalist, and comic book writer, Coates gained a wide readership during his time as national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he wrote about cultural, social, and political issues, particularly regarding African Americans and white supremacy.
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 WesternMarked: Race, Crime, and Finding Work in an Era of Mass Incarceration by Devah PagerThe Country Between Us by Carolyn ForcheWant to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.comPlease consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas.New to the show? Want to check out Ezra’s favorite episodes? Check out the Ezra Klein Show beginner’s guide ( - Jackson BierfeldtResearcher - Roge Karma Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
This one was a pleasure. Ta-Nehisi Coates joined me in Brooklyn for part of the “Why We’re Polarized” tour. His description of the book may be my favorite yet. It is, he says, “a cold, atheist book.” We talk about what that means, and from there, go into some of the harder questions raised not so much by the book, but by American history itself. Then Coates asked me a question I never expected to hear from him: Is there anything I could say to leave him with some hope? Don’t miss this one.New to the show? Want to check out Ezra's favorite episodes? Check out the Ezra Klein Show beginner's guide ( “Why We’re Polarized” tour continues, with events in Austin, Nashville, Chicago, and Greenville. Go to for the full schedule!Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.comCredits:Producer/Editor - Jeff GeldResearcher - Roge Karma Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Our Best of the Decade series continues with two of the most influential writers of our time. In 2015, Coates discussed his book 'Between the World and Me.' Formatted as a letter to his son, Coates writes about the different forms of violence young African Americans face on the street, in school and from the police. Morrison, who died in 2019, spoke with Terry Gross in 2015 about aging and regret.
Coates won a National Book Award in 2015 for 'Between the World and Me.' His debut novel, 'The Water Dancer,' is set in slave times and re-imagines the Underground Railroad's leaders as having a magical power to teleport people out of slavery.Also, Justin Chang reviews 'Judy,' the new Judy Garland biopic starring Renée Zellweger.And music duo Tegan and Sara revisit their teen years and early music in a new memoir, 'High School,' and companion album, 'Hey, I'm Just Like You.' They talk about figuring out their sexuality and the difficultly of being twins.
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10 hours, 48 minutes
Podchaser Creator ID logo 906616