Ta-Nehisi Coates, the author of We Were Eight Years in Power, gave the host of The Late Show a lifetime reply on Monday show. One of the questions addressed by Coates in his recent books which discussed Obama’s presidency is he hates to being asked if there is any hope for racial politics in America in which America would become post-racial utopia. On Monday night, Coates faced the same question by Colbert, the host of The Late Show. For Coates, post-racial utopia of America is a future he doesn’t believe in, for Stephen Colbert this future it is realisable.
As Coates sees it, white supremacy is so foundational to America that it will be impossible to ever eradicate it. “Our story,” he concludes at the end of Eight Years in Power, “is a tragedy,” but it’s one that Coates has dedicated himself to resisting nonetheless.
White people seem to have decided that it is Ta-Nehisi Coates’s job to teach us all there is to know about racism in America. And once he’s finished, we would also like for him to make us feel better, to absolve us of our guilt and tell us that things will get better. Which is a lot to put on a single person, however brilliant — to say nothing of the fact that, as Coates pointed out on The Late Show on Monday night, it’s not actually his job.
“You’ve had a hard time in some interviews expressing a sense of hope in this country,” Colbert said toward the end of the interview. “Do you have any hope tonight for the people out there, about how we could be a better country, we could have better race relations, we could have better politics?”
“No,” Coates said, to scattered laughter. “But I’m not the person you should go to for that. You should go to your pastor. Your pastor provides you hope. Your friends provide you hope.”
Surprised and dejected by Coates’ answer. Stephen Colbert replied, “I hope you are wrong.”
Watch the video below here.