Between The World And Me Essay

918 words | 4 page(s)

“Between the World and Me” is a book written by Ta-Nehisi Coates in 2015. It is presented in the form of a letter, in which the author addresses Samori, his 15-years old son. He narrates about how he uses his intellection, personal, and historical development to live as black in America. Coates begins with sharing memories about his upbringing. He talks about spending childhood in the Baltimore ghettos, where he was lucky to learn codes of the street so to be able to survive.

Nonetheless, he has never fully relied on them. Coates remembers his father being very strict, but he now understands that black parents must behave cruelly in order to protect their children. Living in Baltimore, he was experiencing poverty, marginalization, and desperateness to defend his humanity. Vulgar behavior of black people appears to be the way to announce their existence as humans. He feels unhappy living there as his uselessness and despair made him believe that he will never succeed in this life.

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Being a young man, he did not realize the significance of education at school. He continued pursuing educational goals in order to enter Howard University. For Coates, this time is associated with intellectual growth, the appreciation of the diversity of black at Howard University. At University, Coates gained insight into the black history and black writers. He began learning about these people and the knowledge confronted his imperfect comprehension of history. There he met many of his lifelong friends and his future wife. He was interested in writing and became a journalist. When Coates was a student of the Howard University, he got to know about the death of his school friend Prince Jones. Prince was a charismatic and handsome individual, but these characteristics were not enough for a black man to survive. He was killed by the police officer in the situation which has a strong resemblance to those that Coates had described at the beginning of his career: Tamir Rice, Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, etc.

The death of Prince Jones made the author feel furious, resentful, and depressed. It made his realize that black population is not valued by the American society. It can be easily destroyed, and even if a black individual comes from a privileged family, this fact will never rescue them. Coates claims that it was not the officer who had killed his friend. The police officer was just the reflection of the American values and beliefs. It was the society who had to bear responsibility for Prince Jones` death, but nobody did it. People forgot about quickly as if it was not a big loss.

The history of Prince Jones`s death and the destruction of black people are the tendencies and the so-called heritage of the USA. The author claims that it is not only rooted in the epoch of slavery, but is also derived from the fights of the Civil War, Jim Crow laws, racial profiling, police cruelty, and the promotion of the American Dream.

This dream appears to be the main theme of his letters. Americans` eagerness to live in comfort and security, a cozy hose in the suburbs, pool parties, barbecues, and other goods blind the Americans. It is a life-long goal of all whites Americans and they seem obsessed with it. They ignore everything that they consider uncomfortable, and this is the main reason why they do not believe they are racists. They pursue the American Dream and make others believe that the success is attained to their audacity. In reality, Coates states that most of these achievements occur due to their whiteness. Along with the American Dream, the author deconstructs the notions of race rooted in biological determination. He insists that blackness and whiteness are interchangeable notions.

When addressing his son, Coates talks about the risks of being a young black boy. He was obliged to bear responsibility for other people`s actions. He had to know and always follow the rules of the society. He was forced to work harder and work more than the white peers to achieve the same results that white people achieve easily. Coates knows that the environment in which his son grows up is different and his experience of representing racial minorities differs as well. Nevertheless, the reality is that being black means being imposed to certain risks. Coates feels sorry for being unable to offer his son another life. The idea that black body force people to live out of the state value system frustrates his profoundly.

In the end, the author shares his memories of visiting Prince Jones` mother Dr. Maber Jones. During this visit, he admired her elegance and fortitude. He listened to her life story very attentively, realizing that this woman suffers from her country`s indifference. The USA did not take care of her son. It killed her son and soon after, this country forgot about it. Coates concludes that there is no chance that the Dreamers` consciousness will be awakened. These people despoil this world. They despoil black bodies without feeling sorry about it. Although the reckoning will take place one day, it is not what black people should pray for. When dreamers pay for what they have done, it will affect all the people, regardless of their race. Coates insists on reveling and searching for joy in their community. Finding gladness in what they have is the only way to live happily. Although this decision is very hard to make, this is the only meaning in blacks` life.

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