Ta-Nehisi Coates on The Jamie Weinstein Show

by Jamie Weinstein

My latest podcast, with Ta-Nehisi Coates, is now up. I encourage you to take a listen.

Though Coates and I have significant differences in our worldviews, the conversation is respectful, and I think insightful. We discuss everything from police shootings, to why he admires Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant so much, to why he left Twitter.

The most newsworthy part of the podcast: Coates reveals he sent a letter to President Obama after he left the White House expressing disappointment that the former president had been accepting paid speaking gigs. “I just think that you take money from a group of people, and you end up around them quite a bit, and that probably affects your worldview,” Coates explained.

Though Coates says he accepts money for speeches, he said that is different because “I don’t owe my prominence to the democratic process and people investing their hopes and dreams in me.” And while many politicians accept paid speaking gigs once they leave office, Coates said Obama promised to “be cleaner” during his presidential campaigns.

“I think people actually saw them that way,” Coates added. “I think that when you do that, people view you on a different level. I think, given the general and, I think, correct discomfort that people have about stratification in terms of income and wealth in this country, I mean it’s bad to take however amount of money, 200,000, whatever it was, you know what I mean, to talk on Wall Street. I just don’t think you have to do that.

Coates isn’t sure if Obama ever read the letter.

I encourage you to listen to the entire interview.

The Corner

The one and only.