Ta-Nehisi Coates at The Atlantic on Richard Cohen "in context." Cohen's outrage-inducing Washington Post column from yesterday sought to explain Tea Party racism, but instead gave us this line: "People with conventional views must repress a gag reflex when considering the mayor-elect of New York — a white man married to a black woman and with two biracial children." Coates responds, "Context can not improve this. 'Context' is not a safe word that makes all your other horse-shit statements disappear. And horse-shit is the context in which Richard Cohen has, for all these years, wallowed." So "Richard Cohen's unfortunate career is the proper context to understand his column today and the wide outrage that's greeted it." Cohen said yesterday that allegations of racism are "hurtful." Coates explains, "I find it 'hurtful' that Cohen endorses the police profiling my son. I find it eternally 'hurtful' that the police, following that same logic, killed one of my friends. I find it hurtful to tell my students that, even in this modern age, vending horse-shit is still an esteemed and lucrative profession." New Yorker web producer Caitlin Kelly tweets, "I feel like there is not a big enough mic in the world for Ta-Nehisi to drop after he presses 'Publish' for a post." New Inquiry contributing editor Ayesha A. Siddiqi agrees: "Establishment media white noise columnists need to recognize their own irrelevancy lol at thinking they're even in Ta-Nehisi Coates' league."
David Weigel at Slate on the claim that the Tea Party is racist. "The problem with Cohen's column was that he made an assertion about an entire class of people being racist, and did no work to prove it," Weigel writes. That's "quite an assertion about a group of people Cohen didn't even try to talk to for his column." Weigel notes that Cohen could have "asked Tea Partiers whether they were bothered by Clarence Thomas's marriage to a white woman, given that she took a (short-lived) role as a would-be Tea Party leader in 2009 and 2010. He could have asked about their reaction to FreedomWorks's outreach director Deneen Borelli, whose husband Tom is white. Or, because anecdotal evidence is only worth so much, he could have 'taken the Internet express' to Gallup.com and noticed that 85 percent of whites and 70 percent of elderly people are fine with interracial marriage." But he didn't. Middle East scholar Andrew Exum tweets, "Yeah, @daveweigel says the last thing that needs to be said about this."