The First Rule of White Club

America’s foremost public intellectual, Ta-Nehisi Coates, has published a new best-selling minibook, Between the World and Me, that’s interesting for what it reveals about a forbidden subject: the psychological damage done by pervasive black violence to soft, sensitive, bookish souls such as Coates. The Atlantic writer’s black radical parents forced the frightened child to grow up in Baltimore’s black community, where he lived in constant terror of the other boys. Any white person who wrote as intensely about how blacks scared him would be career-crucified out of his job, so it’s striking to read Coates recounting at length how horrible it is to live around poor blacks if you are a timid, retiring sort.