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Ta-Nehisi Coates calls election of Donald Trump ‘a mortal threat’

The day after the election, a keynote address at this year’s INBOUND conference in Boston meant to be about education became instead an off-the-cuff look at the presidential results, resulting in some controversy for the Boston marketing conference.

In the speech Wednesday, award-winning writer Ta-Nehisi Coates called the election of Donald Trump “a mortal threat, not just to black people, not just to the country, but the whole world.”

Coates, who has written extensively about race relations and the disenfranchisement of black people, said it was a mistake for Americans to think President Barack Obama’s 2008 victory killed those issues.


“We had deeply, deeply underestimated ourselves. We had deeply, deeply underestimated our past.”

While the crowd broke into applause at various points in the address, others were critical, with one person commenting on INBOUND’s Facebook post about the speech that the remarks were “totally unprofessional.”

A link to Coates’s speech was posted the next day to INBOUND’s Facebook page with the following note:

“At INBOUND we pride ourselves on content that helps our attendees lift their head up from the day-to-day and see new perspectives. We’re happy to offer the entirety of Ta-Nehisi Coates’s from-the-heart keynote for you to watch.”