People sort of went crazy when 'BTWAM' came out. I'm happy a bunch of people read it. I'm happy it touched so many people. I'm less happy that it became an object for certain folks or was discussed that way. I'm less happy that journalists started scrolling through my kid's Instagram account.
Amiri Baraka went to Howard. Lucille Clifton went to Howard. Ossie Davis went to Howard. And I was aware of that when I was there. Charles Drew went to Howard. Thurgood Marshall went to the law school. Being aware of that and having all of that brought to bear, again, it's one of those things that I can't really separate from my career as a writer.
I guess I'd be put in the ID politics camp. But there is really nothing in the world-view of, say, Bernie Sanders I actually disagree with. I'd like a guaranteed income, single-payer health care, a stronger safety net, etc. The problem is the temptation to paper over historically fraught issues to achieve that is tempting.
The casualties in the Civil War amount to more than all other wars - all other American wars combined. More people died in that war than World War II, World War I, Vietnam, etc. And that was a war for white supremacy. It was a war to erect a state in which the basis of it was the enslavement of black people.
I'm not familiar particularly with Hillary Clinton's neighborhood, but I wish people were a little bit more curious about what we call privilege and about why it's there. Black people in this country have no choice but to be curious. We have to know. I wish folks would do a little bit more investigation.
Germany has spent the decades since World War II in national penance for Nazi crimes. America spent the decades after the Civil War transforming Confederate crimes into virtues. It is illegal to fly the Nazi flag in Germany. The Confederate flag is enmeshed in the state flag of Mississippi.
People review my comic books. People review every article I write - 'The Atlantic' even publishes them. A great deal of the critique of 'Between the World and Me' was from a feminist perspective. bell hooks pushed back, among others. Some of that has value. Some of it does not. I try my best to separate the wheat from the chaff.
You had eight years before President Trump, a situation where the opposition party basically ran in opposition to the president on a platform of thinly based racism. That doesn't mean that the politicians themselves were outright racist, but when charges of birtherism came up, no one repudiated it.
Eddie Conway is central to my first memories. My parents used to take me to, when it was open, the Baltimore city penitentiary to see Eddie Conway - I was talking to my dad about this recently - from the time I might have been one or two years old. I mean, literally, my first memories are of black men in jail, specifically of Eddie Conway.
Abraham Lincoln is singular. Abraham Lincoln, before he was killed, stood up and, you know, for the first time from any sitting president, stood for the right for suffrage for African-American men who had served in the Civil War. And that's a limited suffrage, but it was quite radical at the time.