Shred of Truth: Antinomy and Synecdoche in the Work of Ta-Nehisi Coates

  • Stephen C. Ferguson North Carolina State University
  • Gregory D. Meyerson North Carolina A&T University
Keywords: higher education, activism, workplace activism, academic freedom, race, Marxism, racism

Abstract

In this essay, from a Marxist perspective, we aim to examine the conceptual underpinnings of Coates’ analysis of race and racism, principally in his award-winning book but also in his well-known articles for The Atlantic. We hope to clarify the differences between Coates’ anti-racist (essentially liberal-nationalist) analysis and a Marxist (class) analysis of racism. We examine several antinomies that run throughout Coates’ work: class versus race, white freedom versus Black subordination, voluntarism versus determinism and essentialism versus anti-essentialism.

Published
2018-01-06
Section
Resisting Neoliberalism in the University - Classes, Campuses, Communities