New York Times columnist David Brooks was slammed on Twitter Friday after he wrote a column — in the form of a letter to The Atlantic’s Ta-Nehisi Coates — about Coates’ new book about the African-American experience and white privilege.
Brooks’ “Listening to Ta-Nehisi Coates While White” compliments Coates’ “searing contribution to the public education,” but then switches gears to criticize the book, “Between the World and Me.”
“The disturbing challenge of your book is your rejection of the American dream,” Brooks wrote. “My ancestors chose to come here. For them, America was the antidote to the crushing restrictiveness of European life, to the pogroms. For them, the American dream was an uplifting spiritual creed that offered dignity, the chance to rise.”
Brooks goes on to argue Coates’ book distorted American history and asks if he has the standing to criticize it.
“I have to ask, Am I displaying my privilege if I disagree? Is my job just to respect your experience and accept your conclusions? Does a white person have standing to respond?”
Brooks, one of the most polarizing columnists in the country, has been taken to task.
Salon, which has made a sport of Brooks bashing, wrote a review of Brook’s column, and opined that “the Times columnist displays more white privilege in one column than some white people experience in a lifetime.”
Social media was even more frosty to Brooks.
David Brooks wrote something hella stupid must be a weekday
— Jack Mirkinson (@jackmirkinson) July 17, 2015
david brooks’ opinions arent completely worthless. for example: id definitely take david brooks’ advice on where to shop for discount khakis
— Erin Gloria Ryan (@morninggloria) July 17, 2015
In David Brooks’ imagination American history is the “Facts of Life” theme song.
— Stacey E. Singleton (@staceyNYCDC) July 17, 2015
DAVID BROOKS: I think I’ll write about Ta-Nehisi Coates this week. HIS EDITOR: [slowly, silently backs out of the room & exits the building]
— Jason O. Gilbert (@gilbertjasono) July 17, 2015
OMG Strom Thurmond is dead, hair bands are over, and we can all get gay married, why does David Brooks still have a column?
— Quinn Norton (@quinnnorton) July 17, 2015
David Brooks: you are allowed to talk about and criticize a book. But you’re a jerk for doing it in a patronizing, open letter tone.
— Craig Calcaterra (@craigcalcaterra) July 17, 2015
— Chad Williams (@Dr_ChadWilliams) July 17, 2015
I’m reading David Brooks’s piece, and I’m having a hard time getting past its privilege.
— Antonio Byrd (@antoniowrites) July 17, 2015
— omid safi (@ostadjaan) July 17, 2015
oh word it’s a David Brooks day? Good I needed to know there was something out there I wanted to hear less than this infant screaming
— actioncookbook (@actioncookbook) July 17, 2015
David Brooks was trending on Twitter Friday morning.