Every once in a while I read a book that forces me to highlight everything that jolts me fully awake. The words and the way the author stitches them together creates a story that is gold. Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me is that book. It is a letter to his son but I think it is a letter to sons, daughters, sisters, mothers, fathers-everywhere.
“You are growing into consciousness, and my wish for you is that you feel no need to constrict yourself to make other people comfortable.”(Between the World and Me)
When I began reading Between the World and Me, the first word, Son– drew me in. I knew this would be an exploration of words and memories and advice. Coates draw us in with his play on words and symbols as he warns his son that although he is growing into consciousness in this new social media world where there is more access for black people- the Dreamers(those who have captured, beat, and raped us) are still hunting us but in different ways. I like how Coates does not come right out and tell his son not to like non-black people. In fact, his warnings are in the form of smooth connecting thoughts from this world and the past- stitched together.
“Black life is cheap, but in America black bodies is a natural resource of incomparable value.”
Coates talks of his son’s reaction to the Michael Brown event and how the officer got off. Coates reminds his son, “I did not tell you it will be okay. It will never be okay because I have never believed it.”
A crucial moment where a black body is defined by how it is broken.
Between the world and me is definitely a book everyone should be picking up and reading over and over again because although we can love the world…the world knows the value of a black body and unfortunately for us, the black body is seen as expendable even a black child’s body. Again, Coates renders this truth in a way that is palatable and nutritious while still delivering much-needed vitamins to the soul.
I highly recommend this work.
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