“The thing to remember is that that cover came out when I was in college, and I was a reader of the New Republic, and I knew that that was where all the hot, young wannabe narrative journalists went. I knew that no black people worked at the New Republic. I also knew that the New Republic very much opined on quote-unquote “black issues” very often, in a fashion that struck me to be blunt and completely ill-informed and utterly ignorant. [Laughs]
If you want to know the source of some of my motivation, it’s that. It strikes you to be a young person and watch people in general speak about you as though you’re not there … Specifically I’m reacting to … the idea of people having a conversation as though you’re not in the room, with no curiosity about who you are about your humanity. Discussing you as a problem. Disease, an infection. That’s what comes across in that cover,” – Ta-Nehisi Coates with Isaac Chotiner, TNR.