Academia Twitter is in shambles.
Prominent author Ta-Nehisi Coates deleted his Twitter Tuesday, the latest in a public spat with Harvard professor Cornel West. West recently took aim at Coates in an essay published in the Guardian on Sunday, titled "Ta-Nehisi Coates Is the Neoliberal Face of the Black Freedom Struggle."
In a tweet linking to the op-ed, West claimed the award-winning author "fetishizes white supremacy" and is afraid to genuinely critique former president Barack Obama. But around the time white supremacist Richard Spencer quote-tweeted West in agreement of his description of Coates, the We Were Eight Years in Power author decided enough was enough.
“Peace, y’all. I’m out,” Coates wrote. “I didn’t get in it for this.” This isn’t the first time the writer has left Twitter.
Several prominent Black intellectuals and writers came to Coates defense after the op-ed was published, including the New Yorker’s Jelani Cobb, who wrote a tweetstorm about West’s column. Cobb said he was “embarrassed” by West’s op-ed and that the entire thing smells of "plain classical elitism." Former MTV national correspondent Jamil Smith tweeted that West’s op-ed was simply "personal vendetta masked as intellectual debate."
Coates’ book Between the World and Me won the National Book Award for Nonfiction in 2015, the same year he got a coveted MacArthur "genius" grant. His highly acclaimed article for The Atlantic, "The Case For Reparations," won a 2014 George Polk Award for Commentary.