authors | December 13, 2012

Ask Ta-Nehisi Coates Anything: Daily Beast Readers Interview The Author

Ta-Nehisi Coates has made his mark in the blogging world by promoting the importance of community and collaborative interaction. In fact, it is his lively and relatable writing style that made his Atlantic blog so popular and earned him a place on TIME's list of the 25 Best Blogs in the World. It is no surprise then, that Coates would participate in The Daily Beast's running series: "Ask Me Anything." Readers sent in a myriad of questions ranging from heavy-hitters (Coates' opinion on whether the GOP opposition to Obama is racially motivated) to less serious questions about the author's penchant for the game Dungeons & Dragons. In typical Coates style, his answers were equal parts perceptive, intriguing, and engaging—all while remaining to not take himself too seriously. Qualities that make him, and his work, accessible to a wide variety of audiences.

When he answered a question about whether he still plays video games, Coates could have simply replied yes or no. Instead, he had a much more developed response that explained how now that he is older and has more outlets for his creativity, he plays games less—and writes more. He says that if he had more time, he would play more games because the creative energy required to play a game or to write an article are the same and both require one to use their imagination. He also answered several questions relating to class, race, and the intersection of the two—something he speaks on quite frequently in his pieces for The Atlantic, and in his books. In response to a question that asked him how he discusses issues of race and class relations with his son, he says he approaches it in the same way he talks about anything else. "If anything, I find myself having to complicate some of his narratives of justice and how the world works," Coates says. He says that he constantly challenges his son to see things from both sides, "even if [he] completely disagrees with that side."

Coates is currently writing his first novel about an interracial family in pre-Civil War Virginia. He is able to draw from a large body of work to cater his speeches to his audience, and builds connections between all types of people in his talks. He sees the world from both the small-scale, personal angle to the society-wide, big-picture angle—and constantly presents new ways of thinking about our culture and our interactions with each other.

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science | December 12, 2012