Between the World and Me, written by Ta-Nehisi Coates, is written as a letter to his son about realities associated with being black in the United States of America. His tone is somewhat poetic and quite bleak, based on his personal experiences. The book is intense, it is an address to a nation that ignores its own blatant history of racism, a nation that does not prosecute police officers who kill innocent black citizens, a nation that supports a policy of mass incarceration. He writes about growing up in Baltimore, Maryland and details the ways in which institutions (school, police, and the streets) discipline, endanger, and threaten to harm black men and women. Between the World and Me is an intimate confession of the fears of a black American father.
Coates spent his childhood years in a poor Baltimore public school, a system that “mostly meant always packing an extra number 2 pencil and working quietly” (Coates 25). He grew up believing that “The world had no time for the childhoods of black boys and girls” (Coates 25). School was not to him a place of education but rather an institution whose purpose was to train the students to obey and conform. “Algebra, Biology, and english were not subjects so much as opportunities to better discipline the body” (Coates 25).
In part one of “Between the World and Me,” Coates gives constant examples on how the black community deals with the loss of their bodies and violence on the daily. He makes his argument by being brutally honest. He does not hold back when talking on the subject, making the reader feel somewhat convicted after reading. He uses the element of right timing throughout part one to show how intense racism still is.
The US is appealing in the eyes of other countries, and even ourselves, because of the “free” and “equal” characteristics we claim ourselves to have, such as: freedom of religion, freedom to own private property, and freedom of equal justice. However, in the eyes of an African America, Atlantic Monthly Journalist, we see that all of these freedoms find a loophole when it comes to the black community. In Ta-Nehisi Coates’ book Between the World and Me, he writes from a political, yet deeply personal standpoint to analyze today’s version of racism. Coates strays away from his usual journalist works to a more deeper and personal view. His book is devoted to his fifteen-year-old son, Samori, and provides him with guidance through the struggle of racism; all while letting Samori fend for himself. Coates’ lets his son know all this through history, and heritage; of his own and of America’s.
“Last Sunday the host of a popular news show asked me what it meant to lose my body”(Coates 5). The phrase “lose my body” is reiterated numerous times in Between The World And Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. The topic/theme of this piece of literature may be discernable as innocence as Ta-Nehisi profusely speaks of how his upbringing changed and affected his perspective on life. Coates uses a multitude of examples to portray this from how he witnessed another boy almost being shot at a young age to him learning and understanding the laws and “culture of the streets”(Coates 24) as who and even more who not to mess with(Coates 23). Coates effectively uses these examples as perfect representations of living in an American ghetto as well as how since birth blacks do not “own” their body and are susceptible to lose it.
Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me has been compared favorably with James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time. The book begins with a letter to his nephew which Coats mimics in writing to his son. Themes of ‘Bodies’ related to racial identity, the experience of being black in America, and how to break down racial barriers are very prominent in both books however they vary slightly.
“Black students were expelled at three times the rate of white students.” (Steven Hsieh, 2014) Until now, we are still finding unequal treatment from school in American Society from different aspects, such as school discipline, early learning, college readiness and teacher equity. However, education is more than learning from books. Education enables individuals potential to utilize human mind and open doors of opportunities to obtain knowledge. But the US educational system doesn’t serve the majority of children properly and gaps remain between white and black students. What’s more, nowadays, a lot of schools only treat education as a curriculum and test scores; ignoring the stimulus of curiosity. Therefore, “Between the World and Me” is a book written by Ta-Nehisi Coates, who weaves his own personal, historical, and intellectual development into his ruminations on how to live in a black body in America. In this book, Coates writes about education and pleasures of his own educational experience in Howard University. Although bad education hides the truth and restricts students’ ideas, education also contains pleasures, which broaden people’s mind, help people build their own thoughts, and prevent people from prison. As a result, there are more pleasures in American education that positively impact on black body than dangers.
As Coates extends and builds up the different variables and attributes, he presents new components. These conducted of analysis and additional memory of his very own history and memories growing up as a black man. He also refers to America history of slavery. In which he tends to feel is made up of socio-social, financial, and political establishment of the treatment of black individuals in America. He compares between
Between the World and Me is a long letter that Ta-Nehisi Coates writes to his teenage son, Samori. Coates uses history and past experiences to express to his son how America does not value the black man’s body. Coates starts by telling of what it was like for him growing up in Baltimore. How he saw black men dress and carry themselves in attempts to possess themselves and power. He then talks about the awakening of his black consciousness at Howard University. Howard is where he first started learning about the contributions of black people in American history. He also was introduced to a variety of different types of black people. Howard is also where Coates experienced the death of a close friend, Prince Jones, that catapults the most powerful message in his novel; The American Dream is an insidious idea glorified by whites and the media that was built on the marginalization of black people.
Ta-Nehisi Coates addresses his son in this book, Samoi, who is fifteen years old. Coates recalls his memory of the atrocities and violence that he witnessed in the past against black people. He hopes that his experience will provide him better understanding of the present-day violence committed by white supremacist against the black body. From the beginning, Coates argues that the problem of many Americans is that they did not consider African Americans to be people. As a result, the dehumanization of black body will persist. Coates writes this as a response to the recent deaths of black people by the police officers. To him, the police are “endowed with the authority to destroy” blacks and they will never be safe from violence. When Coates
Between the World and Me examines the history and present circumstances of racial inequality and segregation in America. Coates directs the book to Samori to give his audience personal insight into the various stages of a black man’s life. From his childhood, to his college experience, to his complicated role as a father, Coates gradually unfolds a critical account of the relationship between black and white communities. He calls those who “believe themselves to be white” the “Dreamers” and criticizes them for the indifference toward black people 's experiences. He wants the audience to reflect upon themselves and realize that they are part of the problem.
“Between the World and Me”, by Ta-Nehisi Coates, is a letter written to his son about what it means to be black and how tough it is to be a part of this race in the United States of America. In this book, Coates talks about his life in the black community, starting from childhood memories all the way to present day. Coates also tries sends a message, which is that his son should not lower his guard and be completely confident about who he is, instead he should be afraid about what the world is capable of doing to a black man. In this work, Coates disagrees on what it means to be black or white in America.
After reading Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates, I felt that the most powerful message in the book was Coates’ assertion that African Americans are striving for the “Dream” which is in fact unreachable. The “Dream” is supposed to be the desire of people to live in a big house with a white picket fence and a big yard, however because it was built on the backs of black people, literally, it is not something that is a realistic goal or a realistic dream. Coates wants his son to realize that America has been built on the marginalization of black people and other minorities and that because of this, it is not a place which will allow races that white people have deemed as “lesser” to prosper. The first major takeaway that I got from reading
The idea of vulnerability is something that is truly prevalent in this day and age. Coates wrote his book as a way to shed light to his son about what it means to live today as a black man. In his book a number his statements are shocking and saddening. The fact that he has to tell his son, "The struggle is really all I have for you because it is the only portion of this world under your control" is truly saddening. As a father usually you'd imagine this image of a protector, who saves their children from the woes of the world. Yet, Coates is open and honest about the fact that he is unable to provide that for his son. That in this world, he cannot save him from the struggle and in fact he wants his son to have the struggle. Being as though the struggle is all his son controls. In saying that sort of statement it means that the only thing he can control is struggle. A struggle which a normal person would not necessarily want to endure. Through Coates' book he illustrates the struggle from his own background and the different happenings of the world. It takes the reader down a path that appears to have failed the black
In 1619 the first African Americans were brought to America to a town called Jamestown in Virginia. This is when slavery began in North America. White men owned African American souls and destroyed their human rights, forced them into slavery, restricted them from freedom, and left them uneducated so that they would not be able to earn any power or knowledge about what was going on in the world. As Coates explains to his son some of the experiences of his life he also reminds him several times about never forgetting who he was, where he came from, who his people were, and what they have done for the others, “Never forget that we were enslaved in this country longer than we have been free. Never forget that for 250 years black people were