New Gum and Sensitivity from Crest.>>>FOR MORE THAN 20 YEARS, Crest.>>>FOR MORE THAN 20 YEARS, OPRAH’S BOOK CLUB WAS THIS KIND OPRAH’S BOOK CLUB WAS THIS KIND OF SOCIAL AND LITERARY OF SOCIAL AND LITERARY PHENOMENON. PHENOMENON. IT BASICALLY TRANSFORMED IT BASICALLY TRANSFORMED AMERICAN PUBLISHING ENTIRELY. AMERICAN PUBLISHING ENTIRELY. NOW IT’S BACK. NOW IT’S BACK. THE BOOK OPRAH WINFREY HAS THE BOOK OPRAH WINFREY HAS PICKED FOR THE RELAUNCH IS THE PICKED FOR THE RELAUNCH IS THE NOVEL “THE WATER DANCER” BY NOVEL “THE WATER DANCER” BY TA-NEHISI COATES. TA-NEHISI COATES. JOINING ME NOW IS NATIONAL BOOK JOINING ME NOW IS NATIONAL BOOK AWARD WINNER, AUTHOR OF “THE AWARD WINNER, AUTHOR OF “THE WATERDANCER,” TA-NEHISI COATES. WATERDANCER,” TA-NEHISI COATES. HOW ARE YOU FEELING? HOW ARE YOU FEELING?>>I’M ALL RIGHT.>>I’M ALL RIGHT. WEEK SEVEN, LIKIVES TELLINGE IVE WEEK SEVEN, LIKIVES TELLINGE IVE YOU. YOU.>>YOU AND I HAD TALKED ABOUT>>YOU AND I HAD TALKED ABOUT THIS BOOK FOR YEARS BECAUSE IT THIS BOOK FOR YEARS BECAUSE IT HAS BEEN IN PROCESS FOR YEARS. HAS BEEN IN PROCESS FOR YEARS. WHEN DID YOU KNOW YOU WANTED TO WHEN DID YOU KNOW YOU WANTED TO WRITE FICTION, A NOVEL AS WRITE FICTION, A NOVEL AS OPPOSED TO AN ESSAY? OPPOSED TO AN ESSAY?>>FANTASIES, I ALWAYS LOVED>>FANTASIES, I ALWAYS LOVED E.L. DOCTOROW, I HAD FANTASIES E.L. DOCTOROW, I HAD FANTASIES BUT I DIDN’T THINK IT WAS BUT I DIDN’T THINK IT WAS POSSIBLE. POSSIBLE. FICTION LOOKS LIKE MAGIC. FICTION LOOKS LIKE MAGIC.>>IT REALLY DOES, IT’S LIKE, A>>IT REALLY DOES, IT’S LIKE, A HUMAN CAN DO THAT? HUMAN CAN DO THAT?>>YOU TRAIN FOR IT.>>YOU TRAIN FOR IT. BUT WHAT I QUICKLY REALIZED, BUT WHAT I QUICKLY REALIZED, IT’S A LOT OF WORK. IT’S A LOT OF WORK. AFTER I FINISHED MY FIRST BOOK, AFTER I FINISHED MY FIRST BOOK, MY AGENT WAS LIKE, WE THINK YOU MY AGENT WAS LIKE, WE THINK YOU SHOULD TRY THIS. SHOULD TRY THIS. AND IT TOOK TEN YEARS. AND IT TOOK TEN YEARS.>>IS THERE A MENTAL SWITCHOVER>>IS THERE A MENTAL SWITCHOVER FROM WRITING AN ESSAY TO BEING FROM WRITING AN ESSAY TO BEING IN THE WORLD OF FICTION? IN THE WORLD OF FICTION?>>YES.>>YES. THE FICTION FEELS MORE CLOSED THE FICTION FEELS MORE CLOSED OFF THAN NONFICTION. OFF THAN NONFICTION.>>FROM THE WORLD?>>FROM THE WORLD?>>YEAH.>>YEAH. I AM OPERATING IN THE WORLD OF I AM OPERATING IN THE WORLD OF CHRIS HAYES, IT’S A MUTUAL SORT CHRIS HAYES, IT’S A MUTUAL SORT OF THING. OF THING. WHEREAS IN FICTION, IT’S JUST WHEREAS IN FICTION, IT’S JUST YOUR WORLD. YOUR WORLD. EVEN THOUGH IT’S SLAVERY, IT’S EVEN THOUGH IT’S SLAVERY, IT’S YOUR SLAVERY. YOUR SLAVERY. YOU’VE PAINTED CERTAIN THINGS, YOU’VE PAINTED CERTAIN THINGS, CERTAIN WAYS OF BEING AMONG THE CERTAIN WAYS OF BEING AMONG THE CHARACTERS. CHARACTERS. IT’S A MUCH MORE CLOSED-OFF IT’S A MUCH MORE CLOSED-OFF SPACE, I WOULD SAY. SPACE, I WOULD SAY. IT’S LIKE GOING IN A ROOM AND IT’S LIKE GOING IN A ROOM AND SHUTTING THE DOOR. SHUTTING THE DOOR. WHICH IS SORT OF COOL, ACTUALLY. WHICH IS SORT OF COOL, ACTUALLY.>>I IMAGINE THERE’S SOMETHING>>I IMAGINE THERE’S SOMETHING LIBERATING ABOUT THAT. LIBERATING ABOUT THAT.>>EXTREMELY.>>EXTREMELY.>>THE BOOK IS INCREDIBLE, I GOT>>THE BOOK IS INCREDIBLE, I GOT TO READ IT A FEW WEEKS AGO, AND TO READ IT A FEW WEEKS AGO, AND THEN I READ THE BOOK ABOUT THEN I READ THE BOOK ABOUT FREDERICK DOUGLASS WHICH IS FREDERICK DOUGLASS WHICH IS FANTASTIC. FANTASTIC. I WAS THINKING ABOUT YOUR BOOK I WAS THINKING ABOUT YOUR BOOK AND THE RESEARCH THAT WENT INTO AND THE RESEARCH THAT WENT INTO IT. IT. THE BOOK IS ABOUT SLAVERY, HIS THE BOOK IS ABOUT SLAVERY, HIS LIFE, WORLD, HIS JOURNEY TO LIFE, WORLD, HIS JOURNEY TO FREEDOM. FREEDOM. HOW MUCH RESEARCH WAS THERE, HOW HOW MUCH RESEARCH WAS THERE, HOW MUCH WERE YOU TRYING TO SORT OF MUCH WERE YOU TRYING TO SORT OF LIKE FIGURE OUT HOW TO CONJURE LIKE FIGURE OUT HOW TO CONJURE THAT WORLD? THAT WORLD?>>IT WAS A TIME.>>IT WAS A TIME. I READ A BUNCH OF PRIMARY I READ A BUNCH OF PRIMARY DOCUMENTS, NARRATIVES, BOOKS DOCUMENTS, NARRATIVES, BOOKS WRITTEN BY ENSLAVED PEOPLE OR WRITTEN BY ENSLAVED PEOPLE OR FREED PEOPLE. FREED PEOPLE. I WENT TO A BUNCH OF I WENT TO A BUNCH OF PLANTATIONS, WENT TO MONTICELLO, PLANTATIONS, WENT TO MONTICELLO, WENT TO MONTHPELIERMONTPELIER, W WENT TO MONTHPELIERMONTPELIER, W WHITNEY PLANTATION IN NEW WHITNEY PLANTATION IN NEW ORLEANS, WHICH IS OUTSIDE OF NEW ORLEANS, WHICH IS OUTSIDE OF NEW ORLEANS. ORLEANS. YEAH, QUITE A BIT. YEAH, QUITE A BIT.>>DID THE PHYSICAL BEARING OF>>DID THE PHYSICAL BEARING OF BEING IN THOSE LOCATIONS, BEING IN THOSE LOCATIONS, BECAUSE THERE’S THESE LONG BECAUSE THERE’S THESE LONG DESCRIPTIONS OF WHAT THE DESCRIPTIONS OF WHAT THE PLANTATION IS LIKE. PLANTATION IS LIKE.>>RIGHT.>>RIGHT.>>DID THAT TRANSFORM THE WAY>>DID THAT TRANSFORM THE WAY THAT YOU THOUGHT ABOUT THE THAT YOU THOUGHT ABOUT THE WORLD? WORLD?>>YES.>>YES. YES. YES. AND THE DESCRIPTIONS ARE ALMOST AND THE DESCRIPTIONS ARE ALMOST ENTIRELY INSPIRED BY MONTICELLO, ENTIRELY INSPIRED BY MONTICELLO, MONTPELIER. MONTPELIER. THERE’S A LOT OF JEFFERSON, THERE’S A LOT OF JEFFERSON, JEFFERSON CROSSED WITH FREDERICK JEFFERSON CROSSED WITH FREDERICK DOUGLASS SORT OF THING. DOUGLASS SORT OF THING. IT WAS A LOT. IT WAS A LOT. IT WAS A LOT. IT WAS A LOT. WITHOUT THE HISTORIANS AND THE WITHOUT THE HISTORIANS AND THE ARCHEOLOGISTS, THERE’S NO WAY I ARCHEOLOGISTS, THERE’S NO WAY I COULD HAVE WROTE THAT BOOK. COULD HAVE WROTE THAT BOOK.>>ONE THING I HADN’T THOUGHT OF>>ONE THING I HADN’T THOUGHT OF A LOT, I THINK, WHICH IS THE A LOT, I THINK, WHICH IS THE PARADOX FOR THE SLAVE, WHICH IS PARADOX FOR THE SLAVE, WHICH IS THAT THE DIMINISHED ECONOMIC THAT THE DIMINISHED ECONOMIC PROSPECTS OF THE MASTER SPELL PROSPECTS OF THE MASTER SPELL UNCERTAINTY AND POSSIBLY A WORSE UNCERTAINTY AND POSSIBLY A WORSE FATE, TO BE SOLD DOWN THE RIVER, FATE, TO BE SOLD DOWN THE RIVER, TO THE DEEP SOUTH, MARYLAND OR TO THE DEEP SOUTH, MARYLAND OR MISSISSIPPI. MISSISSIPPI. YOU’RE SO BOUND TO THIS MASTER YOU’RE SO BOUND TO THIS MASTER THAT THEM ENCOUNTERING ECONOMIC THAT THEM ENCOUNTERING ECONOMIC RUIN CAN BE A TERRIBLE THING FOR RUIN CAN BE A TERRIBLE THING FOR YOU BECAUSE IT MEANS THINGS ARE YOU BECAUSE IT MEANS THINGS ARE GOING TO GET WORSE FOR YOUR GOING TO GET WORSE FOR YOUR LIFE. LIFE.>>AND JEFFERSON IS THE>>AND JEFFERSON IS THE STEREOTYPICAL CASE OF THIS. STEREOTYPICAL CASE OF THIS. YOU HAVE A GUY, FOR ALL HIS YOU HAVE A GUY, FOR ALL HIS BRILLIANCE, HE WAS A BAD BRILLIANCE, HE WAS A BAD BUSINESSMAN, LIKE DRINKING BUSINESSMAN, LIKE DRINKING REALLY EXPENSIVE WINES, AND WHEN REALLY EXPENSIVE WINES, AND WHEN HE DIES, HE’S IN DEEPLY IN DEBT. HE DIES, HE’S IN DEEPLY IN DEBT. THEY SELL THE PEOPLE ON THE LAWN THEY SELL THE PEOPLE ON THE LAWN AT MONTICELLO TO PAY OR THE AT MONTICELLO TO PAY OR THE DEBTS. DEBTS.>>FOR ONE TOO MANY BOTTLES OF>>FOR ONE TOO MANY BOTTLES OF WINE. WINE.>>EXACTLY.>>EXACTLY. MONTICELLO, WHERE THEY BUILT IT, MONTICELLO, WHERE THEY BUILT IT, IT’S LIKE BAD FARMING LAND, IT’S LIKE BAD FARMING LAND, THERE’S NO WATER TO GET TO IT. THERE’S NO WATER TO GET TO IT. IT WAS A TERRIBLE IDEA. IT WAS A TERRIBLE IDEA. BUT HE HAD THIS VISION OF BEING BUT HE HAD THIS VISION OF BEING UP ON A HILL, WHICH IN ITSELF IS UP ON A HILL, WHICH IN ITSELF IS A METAPHOR. A METAPHOR.>>ANOTHER THING IN THE BOOK>>ANOTHER THING IN THE BOOK THAT REALLY STUCK WITH ME IS THE THAT REALLY STUCK WITH ME IS THE WAY THE PLANTATION OPERATES IN A WAY THE PLANTATION OPERATES IN A SLAVE SOCIETY, THE SLAVES DON’T SLAVE SOCIETY, THE SLAVES DON’T JUST DO ALL THE NATURE, THEY JUST DO ALL THE NATURE, THEY HAVE ALL THE KNOWLEDGE. HAVE ALL THE KNOWLEDGE. THE PLACE ENTIRELY DEPENDS ON THE PLACE ENTIRELY DEPENDS ON NOT JUST THE SLAVES’ BACKS AND NOT JUST THE SLAVES’ BACKS AND MUSCLES BUT THEY ACTUALLY MUSCLES BUT THEY ACTUALLY UNDERSTAND WHEN THINGS HAVE TO UNDERSTAND WHEN THINGS HAVE TO BE PLANTED AND WHEN THINGS HAVE BE PLANTED AND WHEN THINGS HAVE TO HAPPEN. TO HAPPEN.>>JEFFERSON OFTEN WASN’T THERE.>>JEFFERSON OFTEN WASN’T THERE.>>RIGHT.>>RIGHT. AN ABSENTEE LANDLORD, AN ABSENTEE LANDLORD, ESSENTIALLY. ESSENTIALLY.>>HE WAS COMPLETELY ABSENT.>>HE WAS COMPLETELY ABSENT. THE HUGE MARBLE COLUMNS, I DON’T THE HUGE MARBLE COLUMNS, I DON’T KNOW WHAT THEY’RE MADE OF BUT KNOW WHAT THEY’RE MADE OF BUT THESE HUGE COLUMNS OUTSIDE OF THESE HUGE COLUMNS OUTSIDE OF MONTICELLO, AND THIS ENSLAVED MONTICELLO, AND THIS ENSLAVED MAN NAMED JUPITER CUT THE MAN NAMED JUPITER CUT THE COLUMNS. COLUMNS. THEY DON’T KNOW HOW HE DID IT, THEY DON’T KNOW HOW HE DID IT, EVEN NOW, THEY HAVE NO IDEA HOW EVEN NOW, THEY HAVE NO IDEA HOW HE DID IT. HE DID IT. I WAS TRYING TO GET ACROSS IN I WAS TRYING TO GET ACROSS IN THE BOOK, ENSLAVEMENT ISN’T JUST THE BOOK, ENSLAVEMENT ISN’T JUST ENSLAVEMENT OF THE BODY, RUN ENSLAVEMENT OF THE BODY, RUN OVER THERE AND PICK COTTON. OVER THERE AND PICK COTTON. IT’S THE ENSLAVEMENT OF THE IT’S THE ENSLAVEMENT OF THE MIND. MIND. JEFFERSON HAD ONE SLAVE TRAINED JEFFERSON HAD ONE SLAVE TRAINED AS A COOK TO MAKE SURE HE COULD AS A COOK TO MAKE SURE HE COULD HAVE HAVE ALL THESE FINE HAVE HAVE ALL THESE FINE DELICACIES HE ENJOYED. DELICACIES HE ENJOYED.>>THERE’S THE QUOTE ABOUT>>THERE’S THE QUOTE ABOUT NORTHERN MIGRATION WHEN YOU SAY, NORTHERN MIGRATION WHEN YOU SAY, WHAT BINDS THESE STORIES WHAT BINDS THESE STORIES TOGETHER WAS THE BACK AGAINST TOGETHER WAS THE BACK AGAINST THE WALL, RELUCTANT YET HOPEFUL THE WALL, RELUCTANT YET HOPEFUL SEARCH FOR SOMETHING BETTER, ANY SEARCH FOR SOMETHING BETTER, ANY PLACE BUT WHERE THEY WERE. PLACE BUT WHERE THEY WERE. THEY DID WHAT HUMAN BEINGS THEY DID WHAT HUMAN BEINGS LOOKING FOR FREEDOM HAVE OFTEN LOOKING FOR FREEDOM HAVE OFTEN DONE, THEY LEFT. DONE, THEY LEFT. I THOUGHT ABOUT THAT QUOTE, I THOUGHT ABOUT THAT QUOTE, ABOUT YOUR BOOK, AND THAT MOMENT ABOUT YOUR BOOK, AND THAT MOMENT WHEN WE SEE PEOPLE DOING WHEN WE SEE PEOPLE DOING EVERYTHING THEY CAN AT THE EVERYTHING THEY CAN AT THE GREATEST PERIL TO SHOW UP AT THE GREATEST PERIL TO SHOW UP AT THE BORDER WITH THEIR 9-YEAR-OLD, BORDER WITH THEIR 9-YEAR-OLD, MAYBE EVEN DROWNING IN THE MAYBE EVEN DROWNING IN THE RIVER. RIVER.>>LINKING TO THE NEWS TODAY, I>>LINKING TO THE NEWS TODAY, I REALLY DID NOT REALIZE THIS REALLY DID NOT REALIZE THIS UNTIL ABOUT JANUARY OR FEBRUARY UNTIL ABOUT JANUARY OR FEBRUARY OR SO. OR SO. FAMILY SEPARATION, DESTRUCTION FAMILY SEPARATION, DESTRUCTION OF FAMILIES IS A HUGE THEME IN OF FAMILIES IS A HUGE THEME IN THE BOOK. THE BOOK. AND I WAS THINKING IT’S REALLY AND I WAS THINKING IT’S REALLY COINCIDENTAL THAT THIS IS COINCIDENTAL THAT THIS IS HAPPENING IN POLICY RIGHT NOW. HAPPENING IN POLICY RIGHT NOW. BUT IN FACT THIS IS WHAT YOU DO BUT IN FACT THIS IS WHAT YOU DO TO PEOPLE YOU DESPISE, PERIOD. TO PEOPLE YOU DESPISE, PERIOD. YOU MAKE WAR UPON THEIR YOU MAKE WAR UPON THEIR FAMILIES. FAMILIES. THIS IS TYPICAL IN AMERICAN THIS IS TYPICAL IN AMERICAN HISTORY. HISTORY. THIS DIDN’T END WITH ENSLAVEMENT THIS DIDN’T END WITH ENSLAVEMENT FOR BLACK FOLKS. FOR BLACK FOLKS. AND SO I DON’T THINK IT’S A AND SO I DON’T THINK IT’S A MISTAKE THAT TRUMP IN ALL OF HIS MISTAKE THAT TRUMP IN ALL OF HIS DESPISING, YOU KNOW, OF DESPISING, YOU KNOW, OF IMMIGRANTS ON THE BORDER, IS IMMIGRANTS ON THE BORDER, IS TAKING IT OUT ON THE CHILDREN. TAKING IT OUT ON THE CHILDREN. I DON’T THINK THAT’S I DON’T THINK THAT’S COINCIDENTAL. COINCIDENTAL.>>THE BOOK IS CALLED “THE WATER

Ta-Nehisi Coates On His Debut Novel ‘The Water Dancer’ | All In | MSNBC
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12 thoughts on “Ta-Nehisi Coates On His Debut Novel ‘The Water Dancer’ | All In | MSNBC

  • October 2, 2019 at 2:48 am
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    Go T!

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  • October 2, 2019 at 3:21 am
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    T:oh…so…fake book?

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  • October 2, 2019 at 3:28 am
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    The Water Dancer is it an expose having to do with the highly salacious Pee Pee Tapes? If so then I'll take a copy.

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  • October 2, 2019 at 3:38 am
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    Love this interview. Well done!

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  • October 2, 2019 at 3:38 am
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    Great interviews require great guests!

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  • October 2, 2019 at 3:58 am
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    We go from MSNBCannibal gangstalking of the elected President of the USA to some obscure album by somebody I never heard of

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  • October 2, 2019 at 4:03 am
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    Must read

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  • October 2, 2019 at 4:33 am
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    Some of the "slaves" sold after Jefferson's death were his own biological children. Look it up.

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  • October 2, 2019 at 11:52 am
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    Extremely nerdy but I love it when these two gets together. I swear I get an IQ boost by the time I'm done listening to them

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  • October 2, 2019 at 1:11 pm
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    I will read this book along with so many other important reads that have come out but the topic of reparations has come up in our contemporary media even as trump has become a wrecking ball in our world. The thing is, how do you do something like reparations? This world is not everyone's. There are millions of people in this country that think trump is just what the doctor ordered for America. That means a lot of racist thought and racist hate resides in too many of us.  
    So Coates brought up the topic of reparations a while back in an Atlantic article which I just read.   In It, Coates talks about Congressman John Conyers Jr and Conyers’s bill which he introduces every session of Congress for the past 25 years.  It's now called HR 40, the Commission to Study Reparation Proposals for African Americans Act.  TO STUDY REPARATIONS!   And we (Congress) won't even study the topic.

    This book is going to be about 18th or 19th century slavery, the experience of it. It will be about what it means to be a slave to the whites in this country. He knows that story well. If racism is a form of xenophobia, which I think it is, and xenophobia is "fear of the other" which I believe resides in our genetic code…how are we going to fix this racist nature of ours? I want that to be a primary task of our nation. We are a flawed nation and we don't do the work to correct the flaws.

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  • October 3, 2019 at 12:04 am
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    No. The separation of families isn't coincidental at all. Amazing writer. Amazing interview.

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  • October 3, 2019 at 12:33 am
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    Meanwhile, Cornell West is jerking off to his own essays he wrote in college.

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