In a Tuesday night interview on MSNBC, author and Atlantic columnist Ta-Nehisi Coates said that for black people in the U.S., racism is a physical experience of fear and violence. He was promoting his new book, Between the World and Me.
“Racism is a physical experience,” said Coates. “That can’t be lost. I think there’s a tradition — and probably a necessary tradition — in African-American thinking and African-American theology certainly of speaking of the body as a thing that’s somehow taken and the soul triumphing or the mind triumphing.”
“My experience in this country as an African-American, my reading in history and, certainly, the way I was brought up and my own beliefs about the world kind of run contrary to that,” he explained to Chris Hayes.
“The soul is part of the body,” he said. “The mind is part of the body.”
“So when folks do physical violence to black people, to black bodies, in this country, the soul as we construe it is damaged, too,” Coates said. “The mind is damaged, too.”
Watch the video, embedded below: