Toward a Manifested Courage, Cont.

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In the thread just below commenter Eva14 writes:


It really is too easy. I hate to make the inevitable Hitler reference, but I remember taking on most of my classmates in a Nazism seminar - they seemed to think they all would have been the ones hiding Jews in their attics. I'd sure like to hope so, too, but of the 30 of us in that class, most would have been just keeping our heads down at best, and a few would have been actively informing to the Gestapo, or worse. It's just facts - and it's one more reason to be grateful I don't live in a time and place where I really have to find out what I'm made of. It's pure hubris to be sure I'd like the answer.

This made me think of the great Richard Pryor riff on courage and the Nazis. "Vat is dis?" There's a lot before that, but most of shows what I love about Pryor. He found his art in his own averageness, in his vulnerability, in his human cowardice. Of course stripping yourself naked is, in itself, a kind of courage.

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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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