“YOU HAVE EVERY RIGHT to be you. And no one should deter you from being you. You have to be you. And you can never be afraid to be you.” Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote these poignant words to his teenage son in “BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME.”
21st CENTURY AMERICA serves as the backdrop for the author’s reflections, observations, fears, frustrations and warnings about growing up as a black male in the United States. When Mr. Coates saw the familiar look of anger in his son’s eyes it touched a nerve deep in his gut. The look meant that very little had changed for a black male since he was a teenager.
AS HIS SON TRANSITIONS into manhood, the author wants his son to understand that while the dream is to “experience” a normal childhood, unfortunately for some black males that “experience” could be deadly. As a father he must warn his son that “the difference is that you do not have the privilege of living in ignorance of this essential fact.”
THOUGHTS for YOUR SOUL:
- “I am marked by old codes, which shielded me in one world ad then chained me in the next.”
- “To do evil a human being must first of all believe that what he’s doing is good, or else that it’s a well-considered act in conformity with natural law.” – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
“CAUTION” IS THE OPERATIVE WORD. The price one pays for living long enough to enter adulthood. Interwoven on every page are examples of the “unspoken” daily stress of being black in America . . . And yes “Black Lives Matter.” In a perfect world it would not matter, but unfortunately America’s reality isn’t perfect. We are reminded of this daily through thoughts, words and/or deeds.
THE CASUAL, CONVERSATIONAL WRITING STYLE is well-suited for this topic. For many, race relations is a touchy subject to talk or write about. “BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME” reminds us that people don’t see or live life the same way. The conversation must continue. As a nation, we have to find a way to communicate and hear one another through and above the anger.
TA-NEHISI COATES REMINDS US of the gap “BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME,” that is constantly growing wider not narrower. This book is not an indictment on all people, white or black, it is one man’s personal story to his son. For some, the written word is more powerful than the spoken one.
Let’s BOND over BOOKS rates BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME as EASY & ENGAGING (150 pages or less) . . . straight-forward, light and to the point.
Permission granted from PenquinRandomHouse