Ta-Nehisi Coates

Ta-Nehisi Coates is a senior editor at The Atlantic. The New York Observer has called him “the single best writer on the subject of race in the United States.” (Coates disagrees.) He has been asked to be a permanent columnist for the New York Times.

And he hangs out in some of the same places we do. He lives in Harlem Morningside Heights, two blocks away from Columbia, and (before the Forrest Whitaker incident) used to frequent Milano. He’s a fan of Maoz. He was interviewed by the Observer in “a Morningside Heights bakery near his Harlem apartment,” otherwise known as Hungarian. During the interview, he compared Internet trolling to demanding that Hungarian serve chicken.

Writing about the Forrest Whitaker incident, he told Times readers just how amazing Milano is:

I’ve patronized the deli with some regularity, often several times in a single day. I’ve sent my son in my stead. My wife would often trade small talk with whoever was working checkout. Last year when my beautiful niece visited, she loved the deli so much that I felt myself a sideshow. But it’s understandable. It’s a good deli.

Coates’ point, which he elaborated upon in an interview with MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry, is that it’s impossible to escape the effects of structural racism even in a nice neighborhood. That is, our neighborhood.