Jon Stewart's Talk with Ta-Nehisi Coates on Race Relations is Absolutely Worth Your Time

July 24th 2015

Kyle Jaeger

On Thursday night's episode of The Daily Show, host Jon Stewart caught up with Ta-Nehisi Coates, the Atlantic's National Corespondent and author of the new best-seller, Between the World and Me. The two discussed issues of racial inequality, police-involved killings, and the marginalized status of African Americans in the 21st century.

Coates is well-known for his commentary on subjects such as race relations and discrimination. He's written extensively about incidents of hate crime and violence in Black communities in the United States, and his 2014 cover story for the Atlantic, "The Case for Reparations," which looks at the history of racism in this country, has earned him several national magazine awards.

In his interview with Stewart, the author talked about a close friend of his, Prince Jones, who was shot and killed by police 15 years ago. "One of the things we tell ourselves as African Americans is if we work hard, if we play by the rules—and we do start back a little ways—but if we can be twice as good, somehow we can escape history and heritage and legacy," Coates said. But that is not always the case.

Asked why he thinks Americans struggle to have a substantive conversation about race, Coates said it was "because it insults many of our deepest notions."

"If you accept, as I argue in this book, that the plunder of Black communities is not a bump along the road—that it is, in fact, the road itself, that you can't have an America without slavery, without Jim Crow, without everything that came after that—it makes it very hard to preach to other countries," he continued.

Between the World and Me is a narrative-driven account of Coates' personal experience with racial discrimination as well as a reimagined history of the American society that informed that experience. The book, which ranks at the top of the New York Times' Best Sellers list for nonfiction, has been widely lauded by reviewers across the country.