We Were Eight Years in Power
Ta-Nehisi Coates
Contributed by Andrea Barraza

Review by Carlos Lozada

According to Carlos Lozado, Coates’ essays from The Atlantic tend to reprimand white Americans especially because of the disappointments they had about Obama’s leadership (Lozada np). The author’s aggressions portray how the era of the first black president in America advanced his career to unpredicted heights. It was during this era that he got a chance to write for prestigious publications. Before the Obama era, writing was considered to be for white people. The era made Coates one of the most demanded and analyzed interpreter. To Lozado, after reading Coates work, it is difficult to conclude that this era is likely to come to an end after Donald Trump ascends to power. Coates did not expect Trump to win elections; it came as a shock to him.

 Coates appreciates that the presidency of Barack Obama had a lot to do with his success. He offered him and other black writers and journalist a platform which they never had. In his review, Carlos Lozada explains about president Obama’s era the way Coates puts it. Lozada states that both Obama and the era brought contrasting fears (Lozada np). Coates also admits to being intimidated by Barack Obama when he first met him. He was not afraid of his authority of office but, his brilliance. Coates recalls meeting Obama a few days before Trump's election, and both of them had a feeling that Trump could not win the election. Carlos Lozado feels he would have continued reading Coates’ essays if Hillary Clinton would have won the presidential election hoping that he would write about the Civil War history. According to Lozado, reading Coates’ work now also feels more urgent as the bar has been set higher and that Trump has opened a market too for the author the way Obama did.

Review by Claire Howorth

According to Howorth, Coates’ We Were Eight Years in Power is about the work of black people and the struggles they had gone through while living in the United States (Howorth np). The Atlantic columns are full of personal memoirs and reviewing as Coates takes readers through the story of his life and contemplates how the essays relate to the present. After Trump took power, things seem to be going back to where they were before Obama came to power. Howorth suggests that the author expects White Supremacy to grow bigger as some white people aim to show how more valuable they are as compared to the community of African Americans.

The title, “We Were Eight Years in Power” was basically developed to show how equality important for every US citizen. It has, however, fallen victim of racist backlash. Howorth points out that Coates talks about the issue of black writers throughout his book, a mantle that he was reluctant to embrace in the beginning but later became his calling. Coates, in his essays, writes Trump frequent talks about race makes him “the most dangerous president of the United States of America” (Howorth np). Notably, he appears to portray direct bigotry against some races such as blacks and the Latino community, a situation that leads to the division of the American society.

Review by the Liz Reviews

According to the Liz Reviews, the phrase, “we were eight years in power” was first used by Thomas Thriller, who was an African American Congressman for South Carolina at the end of Reconstruction Era. Thriller was pointing out the achievements made during that period, arguing how blacks were being deprived of their voting rights. Liz Review points out that some of the accomplishments African Americans at that time included building schools for both normal children and children with disabilities as well as establishing charity institutions. According to the Liz Reviews, it was unfortunate that white propel did not like this as they felt threatened by the achievements of the African Americans. These were clear as even (W.E.B) Du Bois noticed and said one thing the whites hates is a good Negro government. Liz Reviews tend to believe the incomplete Reconstruction Era is the basis upon which Coates sets his essays. The eight essays, written for the eight years of Obama’s rule, symbolize the power of his presidency. According to Liz Reviews, white people had no power to prevent African Americans from taking leadership during the Obama’s Era.

The Liz Reviews is also keen to point out that the eight essays from the book cover several topics as Coates has provides notes explaining the context in which the essays were written and their relevance during the era of Obama’s presidency and now. According to Liz Reviews, the book shows an evolution, both in the author’s thoughts and in his writing as well as in national talks surrounding race. As Coates moves towards the final chapter, he details of a major paradox that occurred at the end of Obama’s presidency. Donald Trump, who was the main force for disproving the Obama’s presidency validity citing that he was only a US citizen by naturalization and not by birth, became elected as the 45th president of the United States. Trump’s sentiments were also accompanied by incessant racist remarks during the 2016 presidential campaigns (Liz Reviews np). Liz Reviews suggests that the book is worth reading as it is brilliantly written and extremely relevant to the modern world.

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