The New Republic: An Appreciation

Ta-Nehisi Coates, The Atlantic, December 9, 2014

Last week, Franklin Foer resigned his editorship of The New Republic. A deep, if not broad, mourning immediately commenced as a number of influential writers lamented what occurred to them as the passing of a great American institution. The mourners have something of a case. TNR had a hand in the careers of an outsized number of prominent narrative and opinion journalists. {snip}

Earlier this year, Foer edited an anthology of TNR writings titled Insurrections of the Mind, commemorating the magazine’s 100-year history. “This book hasn’t been compiled in the name of definitiveness,” Foer wrote. “It was put together in the spirit of the magazine that it anthologizes: it is an argument about what matters.” There is only one essay in Insurrections that takes race as its subject. The volume includes only one black writer and only two writers of color. This is not an oversight. Nor does it mean that Foer is a bad human. On the contrary, if one were to attempt to capture the “spirit” of TNR, it would be impossible to avoid the conclusion that black lives don’t matter much at all.

That explains why the family rows at TNR’s virtual funeral look like the “Whites Only” section of a Jim Crow-era movie-house. For most of its modern history, TNR has been an entirely white publication, which published stories confirming white people’s worst instincts. During the culture wars of the ’80s and ’90s, TNR regarded black people with an attitude ranging from removed disregard to blatant bigotry. When people discuss TNR’s racism, Andrew Sullivan’s publication of excerpts from Charles Murray’s book The Bell Curve (and a series of dissents) gets the most attention. But this fuels the lie that one infamous issue stands apart. In fact, the Bell Curve episode is remarkable for how well it fits with the rest of TNR’s history.

The personal attitude of TNR’s longtime owner, the bigoted Martin Peretz, should be mentioned here. Peretz’s dossier of racist hits (mostly at the expense of blacks and Arabs) is shameful, and one does not have to look hard to find evidence of it in Peretz’s writing or in the sensibility of the magazine during his ownership. In 1984, long before Sullivan was tapped to helm TNR, Charles Murray was dubbing affirmative action a form of “new racism” that targeted white people.

Two years later, Washington Post writer Richard Cohen was roundly rebuked for advocating that D.C. jewelry stores discriminate against young black men–but not by TNR. The magazine took the opportunity to convene a panel to “reflect briefly” on whether it was moral for merchants to bar black men from their stores. (“Expecting a jewelry store owner to risk his life in the service of color-blind justice is expecting too much,” the magazine concluded.)

TNR made a habit of “reflecting briefly” on matters that were life and death to black people but were mostly abstract thought experiments to the magazine’s editors. Before, during, and after Sullivan’s tenure, the magazine seemed to believe that the kind of racism that mattered most was best evidenced in the evils of Afrocentrism, the excesses of multiculturalism, and the machinations of Jesse Jackson. It’s true that TNR’s staff roundly objected to excerpting The Bell Curve, but I was never quite sure why. Sullivan was simply exposing the dark premise that lay beneath much of the magazine’s coverage of America’s ancient dilemma.


TNR might have been helped by having more–or merely any–black people on its staff. I spent the weekend calling around and talking to people who worked in the offices over the years. From what I can tell, in that period, TNR had a total of two black people on staff as writers or editors. When I asked former employees whether they ever looked around and wondered why the newsroom was so white, the answers ranged from “not really” to “not often enough.” {snip}

I always knew I could never work at TNR. In the latter portion of the magazine’s heyday, in the mid-’90s, I was at Howard University with aspirations toward writing. Howard has a way of inculcating its students with a sense of mission. If you are going into writing, you understand that you are not a free agent, but the bearer of heritage walking in the steps of Hurston, Morrison, Baldwin, Wright, and Ellison. None of these writers appear in Insurrections of the Mind. Howard University taught me to be unsurprised by this. It also taught me that writing was war, and I knew, even then, that TNR represented much of what I was at war with. I knew that TNR’s much celebrated “heterodoxy” was built on a strain of erudite neo-Dixiecratism. When The Bell Curve excerpt was published, one of my professors handed out the issue to every interested student. This was not a compliment. This was knowing your enemy.

TNR did not come to racism out of evil. Very few people ever do. Many of the white people working for the magazine were very young and very smart. This is always a dangerous combination. It must have been that much more dangerous given that their boss was a racist. (Though I am told he had many black friends and protégés.) Peretz was not always a regular presence in the office. This allowed TNR’s saner staff to regard him as the crazy uncle who says racist shit at Thanksgiving. But Peretz was not a crazy uncle–he was the wealthy benefactor of an influential magazine that published ideas that damaged black people.


Things got better after Peretz was dislodged. The retrograde politics were gone, but the “Whites Only” sign remained. I’ve been told that Foer was greatly pained by Peretz’s racism. I believe this. White people are often sincerely and greatly pained by racism, but rarely are they pained enough. That is not true because they are white, but because they are human. I know this, too well. Still, as of last week there were still no black writers on TNR’s staff, and only one on its masthead. Magazines, in general, have an awful record on diversity. But if TNR’s influence and importance was as outsized as its advocates claim, then the import of its racist legacy is outsized in the same measure. One cannot sincerely partake in heritage à la carte.


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  • Alexandra1973

    Comments are closed. Wonder why?

    • JohnEngelman

      Comments are usually closed for articles that blame whites for black problems. Those who manage the website are afraid of what whites will say when they can contribute to “the conversation on race” without risking their jobs.

      • Alexandra1973

        It was a rhetorical question, but I’m sure you know that. 🙂

      • Fighting_Northern_Spirit

        There’s a fairly new one in the Yahoo news feed called Vox that doesn’t allow comments at all. Much of the clickbait anti-white drivel in the feed comes from Vox. Judging from the slickness of the site, it obviously has some deep pockets behind it.

        • JohnEngelman

          Tim Wise does not allow comments. Nation magazine seldom allows them on racial matters.

        • jim

          Yahoo has been using stories from Vox and HuffPo a lot lately. Yes, Vox has no comment section and HuffPo only allows comments from their friends on Facebook.

          • Alexandra1973

            I dumped Facebook three years ago. Why make it easier for them to spy on me?

          • DaveMed

            I like posting to some HuffPo stories, even with my Facebook account.

            There are actually ways to sneak racial realism in without causing too much fuss. Sarcasm is the easiest way.

  • phorning

    For Ta-Nehisi Coates it’s all Jim Crow, all the time. If it wasn’t for white liberal guilt he would be unemployed.

    • propagandaoftruth

      Ta-Nehisi hates us and is incapable of understanding us.

      If he did he’d hate us even more and maybe then he’d truly understand how much we hate him.

      Vive la hate…

  • [Guest]

    >>>That explains why the family rows at TNR’s virtual funeral look like the “Whites Only” section of a Jim Crow-era movie-house.

    A propagandist such as Ta-Nehisi Coates might think that sounds bad. But I sure don’t.

    • Sick of it

      Such a demographic situation makes it highly unlikely that someone will be murdered at the funeral.

  • Usually Much Calmer

    I am mildly interested in the fate of the New Republic but I simply do not care about what Coates thinks about ANYTHING. He should die one of those ironic se7en deaths with the sound of his own voice playing a part.

  • Well, Ta-Nehisi, I have good news for you. Now that TNR has now firmly arrived and planted itself in the Clickbait Era, you and your racial paranoia should be good for one maybe two high quality clickbait articles per week.

    • kikz2

      ta-nehisi a big fan of jew noel ‘abolish the white race’ ignatiev…. that’s as far as i got, the author… didn’t need to read anymore drivel.

  • superlloyd

    ‘Charles Murray was dubbing affirmative action a form of “new racism” that targeted white people.’
    Charles Murray is totally correct. This idiot cannot accept the reality of this or the Bell Curve because he’s a negro in denial and quite probably a beneficiary of AA.

  • JohnEngelman

    I appreciated The New Republic during the War in Vietnam. I am sorry that I have not been reading it more recently. Unlike most liberal journals it has had the courage to tell the truth about black social pathology.

  • TruthBeTold

    Funny how when they couldn’t get the racist charge to stick on Martin Peretz they outed him as gay.

    • Reynardine

      Homosexuality is teflon to racism. Homosexual men can proudly claim that they don’t want “curry, rice, or dark meat” and we think they’re just fabulous for telling us that.

      • John Smith

        It didn’t work with John Galliano and anti-Semitism, so there’s a limit.

        • Reynardine

          Loyalty to the Tribe is paramount. It’s the highest card in the degeneracy deck.

  • Eric Ruttencutter

    Andrew Sullivan stuck up for Jason Richwine in the recent brouhaha and did not back down when criticized by Coates and company.

    • B.A_2014

      I saw Andrew Sullivan debating in favour of gay marriage. I didn’t agree with a thing the man said but I can also recognize he is a man of significant intelligence and reason.

  • Rhialto

    The Atlantic founded ~1850 was for many decades a distinguished magazine featuring literature, cultural, and political issues. Apparently it has become a Liberal outlet, in the same class as Time, NYT, CNN, etc.

    • Kenner

      It took a sharp left about 5 years ago. I let my subscription lapse.

  • Tarczan

    “I always knew I could never work at TNR. In the latter portion of the magazine’s heyday, in the mid-’90s, I was at Howard University with aspirations toward writing. Howard has a way of inculcating its students with a sense of mission. If you are going into writing, you understand that you are not a free agent, but the bearer of heritage walking in the steps of Hurston, Morrison, Baldwin, Wright, and Ellison.”

    Ta’Neishia definitely mastered the liberal double talk at Howard. I have no idea what he (she?) is trying to say other than most white people are evil racists.

  • Fighting_Northern_Spirit

    I believe it was QD who shared a picture of the Huffington Post staff that was similarly non-diverse. As the Sony email leaks show, quite a bit of the “anti-racist” posturing in the MSM is just that – posturing.

    • John Smith

      Many white liberals don’t want to have anything to do with blacks except for token negroes, but when anyone says anything overt, they have to jump in, either from cognitive dissonance, or to avoid being outed.

  • NothingMan00

    “When The Bell Curve excerpt was published, one of my professors handed out the issue to every interested student. This was not a compliment. This was knowing your enemy.”

    So, facts were/are your enemy? Makes sense.

    • Lenin

      Actually, when you’re a POC pushing your poor me narrative, facts kind of are your enemy.

      • Dave West

        You’re basically reduced to using white libtard allies to convert other white people to the religion of white privilege, all faith, no facts.

    • John Smith

      Of course, if I were in academia, I’d criticize something I believed in that was supported by obvious facts with a wink. Many students would believe that the whole thing was awful, but the smarter, more intelligent thinkers could make up their own minds and have their illusions shattered.


    I made it to -> “The Bell Curve Bez Racist Yo!” <- The Bell Curve, filled with facts, empirical data, re-creatable testing, biased against no one but the unintelligent minds of our planet's vast landscape. Those unintelligent minds were shown to have come in all races, sexes, nationalities, political persuasions, classes and so on. Which dealt in facts, re-creatable facts. However, because one very "special" kind of unintelligent mind cropped up in such large clumps upon the low end of The Bell Curve. The data driven book was denounced as "White Supremacist Lies And Propaganda"! It was a work of fiction, they said. Every dopey liberal will tell you that that book was written by "Privileged White Men" to artificially, and fraudulently place "White Male Intelligence" above all other racial groups. They know that's what the book says because, well, that's what their teachers told them. That's what their "News Source", John Stewart told them. That's what their Twitter and their Facebook told them!

    None know, that in fact it places Whites roughly in the middle of the road. Below Asian's and Jews as well, but, and here's the important part, above the very "special", oh so "special" African. So special are these precious people, reality and facts are of little value if reality and facts portray the "special" in a way that displeases them. This is "Black Privilege"! The privilege to reshape reality, facts and truth to suit your opinion, and to have the un-"special" masses ( Whitey ) agree that your privileged fiction trumps reality. Otherwise they too, will be redefined by the privileged as racist! Like The New Republic is apparently being redefined today. Facts and Reality beget The Bell Curve! Black Privilege, ( the privilege of the special, as in window licking "special" ) begets "Hands Up, Don't Shoot" – and – "The Bell Curve Bez Fiction, Yo"….

    • B.A_2014

      Der jüden consider themselves a separate ethnic group. If they aligned themselves with their European brother and sisters (for the most part), we may not have so many problems.

      • Alexandra1973

        Jews are Semites, though, not Caucasian. We’re descended from Japheth; they from Shem.

        It just so happens that God gave Jews the religious and ceremonial laws, which today is known as Judaism…which, in a nutshell, paved the way for Christianity.

        Jesus called them out on their traditions…told them that their traditions (which today would be known as the Talmud) made the Word of God of no effect.

        • B.A_2014

          Jews are mostly European. There maternal line can be traced back to the women of ancient Rome. Never mind the amount of inter breeding that has taken place. I am not ignorant as far as the Jewish question is concerned. But blaming the greenbergsteins for all the troubles within our race is laughable, and makes most racially conscious people want to run a mile under the sea.

          • me

            To solve a problem, you have to recognize and understand that you have a problem. Thanks for playing, though.

          • AndrewInterrupted

            ‘The 13th Tribe’ has been traced to the Caucasus Region, the area from which Khazars originated. The fact that they infiltrated Europe doesn’t make them “mostly European”. It makes them among Europeans.


            Ancient Khazaria

          • Sick of it

            Explain the Creature from Jekyll Island purely in non-Jewish terms. Explain the American Communist Party and Red Hollywood. Explain the Neo-Con movement. Again, in purely non-Jewish terms. No mention of AIPAC. No Jewish financiers.

        • tidus1991

          According to the autosomal polymorphisms the investigated Jewish populations do not share a common origin, and EEJ are closer to Italians in particular and to Europeans in general than to the other Jewish populations. The similarity of EEJ to Italians and Europeans is also supported by the X chromosomal haplogroups. In contrast according to the Y-chromosomal haplogroups EEJ are closest to the non-Jewish populations of the Eastern Mediterranean. MtDNA shows a mixed pattern, but overall EEJ are more distant from most populations and hold a marginal rather than a central position. The autosomal genetic distance matrix has a very high correlation (0.789) with geography, whereas the X-chromosomal, Y-chromosomal and mtDNA matrices have a lower correlation (0.540, 0.395 and 0.641 respectively).

    • Rhialto

      I disagree. The Liberals denounced the book because it dealt with facts, and used these facts to draw conclusions that Liberals feared. Thus Liberals had no choice, but defamation of the book and its authors.

    • Reynardine

      Funnily enough, if you read the Bell Curve (it’s pretty thick) race and IQ are only discussed in any depth (and with caution) in chapters 13 and 14. There’s even a fair bit of hand-wringing in the introductions to those chapters, Murray and Herrenstein knew how sensitive people were about it.

      Liberals act like it’s Mein Kampf II: Kampf Harder.

      • me


  • George Clark

    Isn’t Howard University “historically black?” I imagine that the author of this hit piece is completely unaware of the irony.

    • John Smith

      That’s not irony – black people deserve special treatment and that you noticed proves you’re “racist.”

  • Lewis33

    “That explains why the family rows at TNR’s virtual funeral look like the “Whites Only” ”

    Is this guy kidding? The list reads like a Holocaust reparations page. So is he in fact saying that all those Israel first “Finns” are racist? See Sony execs, Sterling, Donald.

    • Sheik Yerbouti

      The mechanism at fault here is the “Non-Black” trigger. As long as someone is non-black, they can be assumed to be “white”. It might take a little tweaking, sure, but the really important factor is Non-Black as a basis for sorting on the fly.

  • MartelsGhost

    Hard time not laughing at all the chickens coming home to crow “Racists!” at the doors of the “chosen” people who helped and encouraged them in the first place…………………………….

    The left always eats its own.

    • Sick of it

      Not fast enough…

      • MartelsGhost

        A snowball always starts rolling down a hill slowly at first but gathers steam and makes quite a mess when it hits bottom.

        Things would speed up a bit if we could convince people providing the EBT is racist. Stop taking the white mans scraps or some such thought virus.

        I have been trying to spread the rumor that illegal immigrants are racist for coming here. It’s tantamount to saying that their own people are incapable of running an effective government and that they must come to the white mans doorstep for handouts.

        We must learn to use the methods of our enemies if we are to defeat them. Start a hashtag campaign maybe? Libtards love those hashtags.

        #RealMexicansStayinMexico or substitute your latino country of choice.

        #BlackPowerThroughAccountablitity? Just a thought.

        • Reynardine

          I love it.



          (yes, we can return to Mexico)

  • WR_the_realist

    Leave it to a black person to conclude that a left of center magazine is racist. The Bell Curve simply told truths that were known to many psychometricians. But those pyschometricians knew that if they wanted to avoid career destroying controversy they should stick to the professional journals. Charles Murray’s great sin was putting the facts in a semi-popular book.

    • MBlanc46

      It was a sin, of course, but a sin that played a role in the awakening of many people, including me.

  • Atheist Realist

    wtf is Tanehisi even talking about? The New Republic is supposed to be a moderately liberal publication.

    • Reynardine

      Are you kidding? Every decade or so, the Lefties have a spring cleaning in which all their values are pushed further to the Left. If you fall behind you’re “backwards” and “regressive.” Ten years later, conservatives pick up said discarded ideas under the mantle of “real American values.”

      It makes one puke.

  • Speedy Steve

    …. impossible to avoid the conclusion that black lives don’t matter much at all.

    Yup, that’s the conclusion I’ve pretty much come up with, too. I guess that means I must be a liberal.

    • John Smith

      Or black, since their lives matter least of all to them unless they are killed by a white person, which is all too infrequent to matter.

  • MBlanc46

    I wish more things had “Whites Only” signs.

    • Ringo Lennon

      Wouldn’t do no good where I live. Cincinnati right now, would look exactly like when I was growing up in 60’s.

  • John Smith

    He’s right – smart white people are dangerous to him and his kind.

  • IKUredux

    WOW. Who knew? I never read it because I figured it was just another anti-White commie rag.Allow me to point out that it is not possible to have a “discussion” about race. Nope, it’s not possible.

    However, I would like to bring up something that I have long considered. Asians and Indians, have always been willing to move to countries where nobody looks like them. They have moved to every country on the Earth that they could. WHY? I mean, I don’t know. However, what intrigues me, is the fact that these people were more than willing to move into a country where nobody looked like them. Where nobody had the same culture. Where nobody had the same religion. Where nobody ate the same foods. Where nobody had the same music. Yet, the chinese moved all over the world, as did the indians, why?

    I ask this question, because, as a White, the thought of being a minority among another race is anathema to me. I would do it for awhile as a job. But the thought that I wanted to move into another races country, and live there forever, perplexes me. If Whites are inclined to favor their own race, why isn’t this just explained as Darwinian?

    • Rhialto

      Invading territory, where the indigenous people are hostile, is what White men used to do. They did it to Asia, Africa, Middle east, and the western hemisphere. It’s normal male hominid behaviour . Not resisting such an invasion is abnormal/degenerate behaviour for male hominids.

  • Reynardine

    If The New Republic riled up Ta-Nehisi Coates this much, his head would explode if he read Amren (especially the comments section).

    • me

      Why? That ‘man’ would just roll in the condemnation of the truth here like a pig in slop. It would be glorious to this anti-White to crucify each and every one of the people on the AmRen staff as being White Supremacist KKK Nazi Blue-eyed Devils. That’s how his ”reputation” has been built–White bashing, race baiting, and trying to advocate for Negroes to take the place of ‘Whitey’….because of ‘slavery’, something something….blah blah blah. Coates knows that ‘his people’ can’t measure up–hence, the vitriol and venom towards White people and their civilization. I wonder what Coates would be doing in his ‘mammyland’ besides sitting in the dirt and having flies crawl on his distended belly….

  • LHathaway

    A fitting tribute to The New Republic. What a dose of unreality. These claims are equivalent to a claim that AmRen is hideously anti-white. Wait, I claim that from time to time. D’oh.

  • ViktorNN

    Why is this article lamenting how the magazine was run by white people when it wasn’t?

  • nexus974

    I love watching the Left eat it’s own…

  • puffdaddy

    What a pompous ass.

  • Paleoconn

    The Bell Curve is mentioned like it’s Mein Kampf or something. The truth hurts, I guess.

    Btw, Peretz sounds tribal. I wish for once for a journalist to tell us when a supposed racist is of the tribe. Don’t let the reader assume the evil bigot is Whitey all the time.

    On the subject, apparently there is a scene in the picture Act Of Valor made controversial by some MSM hacks, where a tribal richo is financing jihadis. Portraying any tribe member as a crook is taboo.