SH: Your writing style tends to be very lyrical in ways, tends to be very poetic in a lot of ways.
SH: This piece was not that. It was actually very prosaic in a lot of ways, almost flat in its dissemination of facts. Did you do that on purpose?
TNC: Well, I actually was trying to be lyrical, but that’s OK.
TNC: I was trying to be a little lyrical. There was just so much. Just to be quite blunt: This isn’t even the half of it. The facts are so much and so overwhelming that, at a point, you just kind of let it go. In edit, my editors were like, “You got to cut a lot of this flowery shit… The facts are enough.”
SH: That’s what I do every day.
TNC: Yeah. They were like, ‘That was a pretty sentence you wrote… It does nothing. It does absolutely nothing.’ I have a bias towards more of the purple prose. I mean, you meet Clyde Ross, and Clyde is just Clyde. I met him and he just started talking. If Clyde was here right now, you would just get it. You don’t even need a filter. He starts talking and that really is it. And that’s true I think for African-American history in this country, regrettably. If you just outline the facts. If you just say, “This happened this year, this happened this year…” It’s pretty damning. I mean, it really really is damning.
In Conversation With Ta-Nehisi Coates: The Case For Reparations. How can you not like TNC? And he’s right. The facts are utterly damning.