2 Geniuses, 2 Americas: Why I Want My Students to Read Ta-Nehisi Coates But Believe Lin-Manuel Miranda

by Robert Pondiscio. Original article published on The Seventy Four. March 3, 2016.

This is one article in a series that examines gifted education, classroom creativity and geniuses in society. (See our full genius archive) The 74 is a proud media partner of the 92nd Street Y’s “7 Days of Genius,” a global series of events orchestrated to explore “the power of genius to make a positive impact on the world” running March 5-12. See events

I have no idea if Lin-Manuel Miranda has read Ta-Nehisi Coates’ “Between the World and Me”; nor am I aware if Coates has seen Miranda’s “Hamilton” on Broadway. But it would be fascinating to listen to the two of them discuss each other’s work and their views on what it means to be young, black or brown, and American today.
All of us who work in classrooms with children of color would be richer if we could eavesdrop on such an exchange.
The parallels are striking. Both are young men of color who have created two of the most praised and dissected cultural works of the moment. Both were recent and richly deserving Macarthur Foundation “genius grant” recipients. Each turns his creative lens on our nation. But their respective visions of America signaled through their work, could scarcely be more different.
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