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“We Should Be Better”: Ta-Nehisi Coates Addresses Black Men’s Outrage Against Gayle King’s Kobe Question

“We Should Be Better”: Ta-Nehisi Coates Addresses Black Men’s Outrage Against Gayle King’s Kobe Question

"We Should Be Better": Ta-Nehisi Coates Addresses Black Men's Outrage Against Gayle King's Kobe Question
Photo by Johnny Louis/Getty Images
"We Should Be Better": Ta-Nehisi Coates Addresses Black Men's Outrage Against Gayle King's Kobe Question
Photo by Johnny Louis/Getty Images

“We did not calmly express our dislike of the question. We were too weak for that,” Ta-Nehisi Coates said in an Instagram post.

Ta-Nehisi Coates has penned a statement in regards to the outrage Gayle King faced after a portion of her interview with WNBA star Lisa Leslie surfaced online recently.

READ: Bill Cosby Speaks Out Against Gayle King, Thanks Snoop Dogg For Support

The portion of the interview found King asking Leslie if she thought the 2003 rape allegations against Kobe Bryant complicated his legacy, and if the incident should be left in the past or “is it really part of his history.”

In response, Leslie said that Bryant’s legacy is “not complicated” despite the allegation, before adding: “I don’t think it’s something that we should keep hanging over his legacy.”

After the snippet surfaced, a number of social media users took offense to King’s question, including celebrities like Snoop Dogg. (King proceeded to say that the clip was taken “out of context.”)

On Sunday, Coates took to Instagram to address the backlash King faced for the question, speaking on his own experiences with the journalist before addressing the controversy.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

When I first met @gayleking she was hurrying off set and into the green room with a copy of my book. Post-its were poking out of the pages. Pages were dog-eared. I seem to remember her having questions scrawled on yellow legal paper. This was impressive. You’d be surprised how many interviewers are just master bullshit artists. Not Gayle. She reads. She studies. She prepares. I’ve benefited from Gayle’s preparation multiple times since that first interview. I’m trying to think of another journalist more instrumental in whatever awareness people have of my work, and I can’t. I say this as a black writer. I say this as a black man. It is perhaps naive to expect black men to be better—oppression is always demeaning and rarely ennobling. But black men, perhaps more than other men, have some inkling of what it’s like to have a body that can be taken for someone else’s pleasure. Indeed, we know more than we want to say, because if we ever said it all we might never stop crying. Maybe that really is the root of this. It’s certainly not about “protecting” anyone’s memory or their families. Men who want to hurt have been using the language of “protection” all my life. It’s certainly isn’t about Weinstein. Only a fool tolerates serial killing because Ted Bundy was once a neighbor. Whatever it’s about, there’s really no way to be neutral here. Gayle King dared speak of a man as though he were one, and a lot of us fucking lost it. We did not calmly express our dislike of the question. We were too weak for that. We threatened. We dragged. And we attacked. A friend, watching all this said, “damn, Gayle has a son.” To which I could only respond, “these dudes have sons too.” And this is what we’re teaching them. It’s wrong. We should want more. We should be better.

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A post shared by Ta-Nehisi Coates (@tanehisipcoates) on

“It is perhaps naive to expect black men to be better — oppression is always demeaning and rarely ennobling. But black men, perhaps more than other men, have some inkling of what it’s like to have a body that can be taken for someone else’s pleasure,” Coates wrote. “Indeed, we know more than we want to say, because if we ever said it all we might never stop crying.”

“Maybe that really is the root of this. It’s certainly not about ‘protecting’ anyone’s memory or their families. Men who want to hurt have been using the language of ‘protection’ all my life. It’s certainly isn’t about Weinstein. Only a fool tolerates serial killing because Ted Bundy was once a neighbor. Whatever it’s about, there’s really no way to be neutral here,” he continued. “Gayle King dared speak of a man as though he were one, and a lot of us fucking lost it. We did not calmly express our dislike of the question. We were too weak for that. We threatened. We dragged. And we attacked. A friend, watching all this said, ‘damn, Gayle has a son.’ To which I could only respond, ‘these dudes have sons too.’ And this is what we’re teaching them. It’s wrong. We should want more. We should be better.”

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