Because There Are No Racists

Adam Serwer posts a video that basically nails what it's like to be black and moving into the professional class, complete with the awkward "I'm not a racist" disclaimer. What's amazing about this disclaimer is how it always emerges as a defense to a charge that isn't actually being made. The host accuses her of being off-topic. Her defense is "Oh, I'm sorry. But I'm not a racist." 


This leads me to separate point--I'm very interested in, precisely, what it means among white people to be considered a racist. I don't mean under the sanction of black people. I mean in places where there are no black people. It almost feels like, among whites, to be accused of being a racist is a class slur. Like racist is short for "inbred uncultured hick." It's fascinating. 

Anyway, the woman is 90 years old,. Props to her for making it this far. I should be so lucky.

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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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