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James Chong

Professor Delany

Writing 39B

15 February 2018

Put on Your Liberal Coat(es)

Ta-Nehisis Coates is an African American, multi-modal writer who emphasizes on black

rights and equality (West). He wrote the text, “The First White President” an article that informs

his audience how Donald Trump exploits the underground racist community in America to win

the presidential election of 2016. Coates also writes to bring awareness and argue that Trump is

not fit to be seated in the white house (Valdary). Coates’ text was published in October of 2017

to The Atlantic, a magazine that analyzes politics, culture, technology, and national relations

(Atlantic). The article was written in a time where political correctness and liberalism were at

large, more importantly the Black Lives Matter movement was active. The Black Lives Matter

movement campaigns against systemic racism and violence towards blacks. Coates discusses

how many Trump supporters are against the movement, and how Trump uses this as an

advantage in his campaign. Relating Trump’s and his supporters racism, Coates states, “But the

model for America’s original identity politics was set. Black lives literally did not matter and could

be cast aside altogether as the price of even incremental gains for the white masses.” This is in

context of 2017, where there are two strong, opposing arguments for liberalism and

conservatism. Coates reflects this time in history as he sides with the liberalism and the equality

for blacks, while Trump and his supporters support a conservative, “racist” view. He continues to

argue his liberal view by quoting other credible public figures, and add his own thought on it as

well. “When W. E. B. Du Bois claims that slavery was ‘singularly disastrous for modern

civilization’ or James Baldwin claims that whites ‘have brought humanity to the edge of oblivion:

because they think they are white,’ the instinct is to cry exaggeration. But there really is no other

way to read the presidency of Donald Trump.” Coates once again reiterates his 2017-esque
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liberal views, fighting for black right and equality. Coates goes to the extreme in the quote and

implicitly says that the whites, having brought racism, was the single reason for disaster in

today’s modern civilization, and then he relates this ideology directly to Trump’s presidency.

Coates’ ideals are parallel with the ideas of the Black Lives Matter movement in his advocacy

for anti-racism. In conclusion, it can be seen that Coates’ upbringing in the historical context of

the 20th century affected his political views seen in his writing about the racism against blacks

propelling Trump’s campaign in 2016.

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Works Cited

West, Cornel. “Ta-Nehisi Coates Is the Neoliberal Face of the Black Freedom Struggle |

Cornel West.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 17 Dec. 2017,


“The Atlantic.” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company,

Valdary, Chloé. “There's No Single Explanation for Trump's Election.” The Atlantic,

Atlantic Media Company, 28 Sept. 2017,


Coates, Ta-Nehisi. The First White President. The Atlantic, Oct. 2017,