Ta-Nehisi Coates is in rare form taking on Andrew Sullivan's obsession with the alleged race/IQ link. I particularly loved Coates' explanation for why he, unlike Andrew, tended to avoid this topic, to wit: "because I have a bias toward knowing what I'm talking about." (For someone who actually does know, see here).
But Coates' also taps into an aspect -- can we call it a character flaw? -- of Sullivan and his writing that bears mentioning again. Sullivan really is wedded to a self-image as a bold crusader who is willing to say the hard truths society needs to hear but refuses to say. The problem is that what he believes to be unsaid, rarely is. To the contrary, it is often the tritest conventional wisdom, dressed up in "forgotten man" language that was dated when William Graham Sumner was doing it.
That Blacks are biologically inferior to Whites along the axes of intelligence is not cutting edge. It is not the brave frontier of social science research. It has been, for most of our nation's history, the (nakedly ideological and poorly argued) default position, and the effects of that persist to this day. Similarly, after 9/11 America was not oblivious to the threat of Islamic extremism -- and informing us of that peril was not the bold, stand-alone position. Neither is Sullivan's sharply critical stance towards Israel the sort of silenced taboo that only a brave rebel like Andrew can shatter.
All of these positions command a solid and influential following in the circles Andrew runs in and in our media. That doesn't mean one shouldn't say them (though one should probably adopt Coates' bias in favor of having actual subject-matter knowledge), but it does mean one probably should cease trumpeting one's bravery and maverickness. It's self-congratulatory without actually having anything done anything laudatory.