Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates

between the world and me


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2 Responses to “Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates”

  1. Oliver K. Says:

    Summary: Between the World and Me is a letter that Ta-Nahisi Coates writes to his son about the struggles and dangers of living in a black body. He writes about growing up in Baltimore and how he learned to defend himself against the constant threat of violent racism. He explains how African American men are misunderstood as thugs but their loud tough manner and baggy clothing are simply a mask of their fear and a defense for the constant peril they are in. Coates warns his son that in America he must be twice as good to obtain the recognition that whites receive. He also explains how he fears for his son’s safety after experiencing the death of one of his college classmates along with the death of Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, and Tamir Rice. All of these deaths were the result of police brutality, deliberate racism and the fact that black bodies are valued less than those of whites. Coates is saddened that his son must grow up in such a world. He knows that he cannot protect him fully but this letter explains how his son will best be able to survive and succeed in a black body.

    Evaluation: I found this piece by Ta-Nehisi Coates to be extremely powerful and eye opening. Living in very white community, I have heard about the police brutality and racism but this book explained it at a level which I have never understood. I think that this book is a must read for everyone because it is explains a subject that must be understood from the perspective of the oppressed. This book made me look at racism differently and helped me really understand what kind of struggle and peril African Americans feel living in a racist society.

    Rating: 5 stars

    Recommendations: Angela’s Ashes, The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Alex Haley and Malcolm X.

  2. bachbooks Says:

    In Between the World and Me, Ta-Nahisi Coates writes to his teenage son explaining his life experiences with race and class. Coates describes growing up navigating the dangerous streets of Baltimore and experiencing an academic and cultural awakening when he enrolled at Howard University. He tells of the death of a promising young friend at the hands of the police and warns his son that America values black bodies less than white bodies. From our legacy of slavery to contemporary racial and economic segregation, Coates describes an America divided between the “Dreamers” who live privileged (suburban) lives with easy access to the American Dream and those whose urban lives are haunted and hindered by violence and inequality.

    As a child, I took great solace in the fact that my Catholic faith allied me with African-Americans and the Civil Rights Movement. It the eyes of the K.K.K. we were grouped together as “other,” as enemies of white supremacy. While I still take some comfort in this fact, reading Between the World and Me made it painfully clear that I live squarely in the world of the “Dreamers.” I strive to treat all people with care and respect. At my high school graduation, I received a “Human Relations Award” for: “…compassion, sincerity, and a deep respect for all others without regard to race, creed or national origin.” I remain committed to these principles, and reading this book helped me realize that I can’t really rest secure in my comfortable world while fellow citizens are denied full access to the American Dream.

    Rating: 4 stars

    Recommendations: March: Book One, March: Book Two, Outliers, The Autobiography of Malcolm X

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