coates on malcolm, obama

This is good stuff:

I have sometimes remarked that Barack Obama reminds me of Malcolm, in his bearing, in his sense of irony, and in the almost epic quality of narrative. But mostly it's in his curiosity about the world, in his deep belief in intelligence and altering your views as evidence presents itself. The great tragedy of Malcolm X's life is how that curiosity was circumscribed and perverted. The great joy of Barack Obama is seeing that curiosity unbounded and rewarded.

I don't say that to clean Malcolm X. I don't buy the image of him as a complete convert to integration--nor do I need it, anymore than I needed it for Grant or Lincoln. My Valhalla is made of people--conflicted, complicated, people.

Read the whole thing.

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