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The most obvious point of the titanic curiosity that has greeted Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Between the World and Me may also be its most overlooked: Across the nation, in parlors and schoolrooms, in restaurants and train stations, on television and radio, in churches and barbershops, in newspapers and on blogs, on Twitter and Facebook and nearly every other social-media platform, we are talking, all at once, finally, about a black man’s book. Not his death, thank God, or his latest film, or his hot rap record. We are talking instead about his willful and unapologetic act of grand literacy. Perhaps I’m of a generation that still takes pride in extraordinary accomplishments by black folk. And recently no accomplishment has been bigger than this: A young man who uses words to expose the extravagant hoax of whiteness has also won a hearing among some of its most stubborn beneficiaries. It is remarkable to call a spade a spade, so to speak, when it comes to white identity; it is more remarkable to be caught doing that, and to get away with it, and not just that, but to prosper in ungluing the artifice of race with a blow torch—with a relentless stream of words hot to the page, and even more, burning millions of other pages marshaled in defense of a white identity that he has just unwritten.