I closely followed the story of Tyler Clementi’s suicide and Dharun Ravi’s trial–in part because I couldn’t tell right from wrong. I couldn’t place blame enough for me to find closure and move on.

More than a month after the New Yorker article, I finally found someone whose views I could identify with: Ta-Nehisi Coates

I neglected to state this clearly in my last post on the subject. I don’t think Dharun Ravi should go to prison for ten years. I’m not even sure I think he should go to prison at all. Prison is an awful place, where truly horrible things happen. In my mind, it should be used, mostly, to protect society from dangerous predators. I don’t think Dharun Ravi qualifies. I think even arguing that Ravi is responsible for Tyler Clementi’s death is a difficult case to make.


We often like a simplistic approach to everything–a black and white view. The world is much more nuanced than that. Close to everything I read these days leaves me sad at the lack of nuance. Everyone is sure. Their opinions absolute.

That cannot be true.


Amit Varma wrote about Ta-Nehisi Coates a while ago:

Back to Coates. In a blogosphere full of urgency and topicality, I find Coates’s blogging, laidback and introspective and so honest, a welcome break. Consider, for example, his post from last October, ‘Shame’. Look at those last two paragraphs. That is how it is done. It is timeless and transcendent.

I admire TNC’s writing; I admire him as a person much more. I’ll be happy to retire from life the day I am as good a person.