Once people reach a certain level of notoriety, their lives change in ways they often don’t expect, including a loss of privacy. For Ta-Nehisi Coates, author and journalist for The Atlantic, these problems have forced him to choose to not move into a property he purchased.
According to the New York Times, Coates and his wife were looking to return to the same neighborhood they lived in during their twenties by purchasing a $2.1 million Brooklyn Brownstone. While the pair bought the property anonymously, word eventually leaked and Coates had to keep his family’s safety in mind above all else.
“Within a day of seeing these articles, my wife and I knew that we could never live in Prospect-Lefferts Garden, that we could never go back home,” Coates wrote in a piece for the Atlantic.
Coates has been writing for years now, but was recently thrust into the limelight after his memoir Between the World and Me received critical acclaim. The book is written as a letter to his teenage son and attempts to put in perspective what it’s like to be black in contemporary America.
“You can’t really be a black writer in this country, take certain positions, and not think about your personal safety,” Coates wrote. “That’s just the history.”
Using some beneficial foresight, Coates didn’t want his family to be targeted now that word had already gotten out that he owned the property. Media outlets reportedly already went as far as to print his wife’s name and scour through his son’s social media accounts for information.
Coates and his family still have plans to move, but it doesn’t appear it’ll be in his old stomping grounds.
“Our old neighborhood was not as quiet as we thought,” he wrote. “Nothing is quiet anymore — least of all us.”
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