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The point of this language of "intention" and "personal responsibility" is broad exoneration. Mistakes were made. Bodies were broken. People were enslaved. We meant well. We tried our best. "Good intention" is a hall pass through history, a sleeping pill that ensures the Dream.
And I saw that what divided me from the world was not anything intrinsic to us but the actual injury done by people intent on naming us, intent on believing that what they have named us matters more than anything we could ever actually do.
White America is a syndicate arrayed to protect its exclusive power to dominate and control our bodies. Sometimes this power is direct (lynching), and sometimes it is insidious (redlining). But however it appears, the power of domination and exclusion is central to the belief in being white, and without it, "white people" would cease to exist for want of reasons.
Between the World and Me Hardcover – July 14, 2015
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Hailed by Toni Morrison as “required reading,” a bold and personal literary exploration of America’s racial history by “the most important essayist in a generation and a writer who changed the national political conversation about race” (Rolling Stone)
NAMED ONE OF THE MOST INFLUENTIAL BOOKS OF THE DECADE BY CNN • NAMED ONE OF PASTE’S BEST MEMOIRS OF THE DECADE • NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New York Times Book Review • O: The Oprah Magazine • The Washington Post • People • Entertainment Weekly • Vogue • Los Angeles Times • San Francisco Chronicle • Chicago Tribune • New York • Newsday • Library Journal • Publishers Weekly
In a profound work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation’s history and current crisis. Americans have built an empire on the idea of “race,” a falsehood that damages us all but falls most heavily on the bodies of black women and men—bodies exploited through slavery and segregation, and, today, threatened, locked up, and murdered out of all proportion. What is it like to inhabit a black body and find a way to live within it? And how can we all honestly reckon with this fraught history and free ourselves from its burden?
Between the World and Me is Ta-Nehisi Coates’s attempt to answer these questions in a letter to his adolescent son. Coates shares with his son—and readers—the story of his awakening to the truth about his place in the world through a series of revelatory experiences, from Howard University to Civil War battlefields, from the South Side of Chicago to Paris, from his childhood home to the living rooms of mothers whose children’s lives were taken as American plunder. Beautifully woven from personal narrative, reimagined history, and fresh, emotionally charged reportage, Between the World and Me clearly illuminates the past, bracingly confronts our present, and offers a transcendent vision for a way forward.
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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Between the World and Me, a finalist for the National Book Award. A MacArthur “Genius Grant” fellow, Coates has received the National Magazine Award, the Hillman Prize for Opinion and Analysis Journalism, and the George Polk Award for his Atlantic cover story “The Case for Reparations.” He lives in New York with his wife and son.
|THE WATER DANCER||WE WERE EIGHT YEARS IN POWER||THE BEAUTIFUL STRUGGLE||THE BEAUTIFU STRUGGLE (Adapted for Young Adults)|
|A boldly conjured debut novel about a magical gift, a devastating loss, and an underground war for freedom||A vital account of modern America, from one of the definitive voices of this historic moment; this collection includes the landmark essay “The Case for Reparations.”||An exceptional father-son story from the about the reality that tests us, the myths that sustain us, and the love that saves us||Adapted from the adult memoir, this father-son story explores how boys become men, and quite specifically, how Ta-Nehisi Coates became Ta-Nehisi Coates|
An Amazon Best Book of July 2015: Readers of his work in The Atlantic and elsewhere know Ta-Nehisi Coates for his thoughtful and influential writing on race in America. Written as a series of letters to his teenaged son, his new memoir, Between the World and Me, walks us through the course of his life, from the tough neighborhoods of Baltimore in his youth, to Howard University—which Coates dubs “The Mecca” for its revelatory community of black students and teachers—to the broader Meccas of New York and Paris. Coates describes his observations and the evolution of his thinking on race, from Malcolm X to his conclusion that race itself is a fabrication, elemental to the concept of American (white) exceptionalism. Ferguson, Trayvon Martin, and South Carolina are not bumps on the road of progress and harmony, but the results of a systemized, ubiquitous threat to “black bodies” in the form of slavery, police brutality, and mass incarceration. Coates is direct and, as usual, uncommonly insightful and original. There are no wasted words. This is a powerful and exceptional book.--Jon Foro
From School Library Journal
- Publisher : One World; 1st edition (July 14, 2015)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 176 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0812993543
- ISBN-13 : 978-0812993547
- Lexile measure : 1090L
- Item Weight : 9 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.13 x 0.77 x 7.5 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #4,493 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Coates uses his youth, his journey into manhood, his personal tragedies and his struggle to find his voice as a writer as a vehicle to reflect on what it means to be a black male in America. The book is crafted as a letter to his son, making it a more intimate and personal journey. That intimacy and humanization extends beyond Coates to the victims and survivors of racism. Coates forces to you reflect on the individuality, potential and preciousness of every life impacted by the Middle Passage, Bloody Sunday or killer cops.
He is not optimistic, but he's not a cynic, either. I was worried that this book would leave me feeling sad, angry, hurt. Instead, I feel strangely proud. He sees where we fail as a nation, but points out how black people have and will continue to survive as a people. And he calls on those who have benefited from America's systemic racism to do better or face their own future downfall.
To sum it up, Toni Morrison describes this book best: "This is required reading."
Coates is a great writer; I truly enjoyed reading his work and have an appreciation for his perspective. As a black immigrant, I do have to say that it is very disheartening for me to observe how african americans are stuck in the past. I always wonder why the glass is always half empty, their lack of optimism, their hatred for all things white is soo prevalent with black americans. I am especially appalled when I observe this with educated blacks. To me, the american dream is open to all who want it, you just have to carve out your niche, make sacrifices, and develop your emotional intelligence; the latter is key.
To close, I will do something I am not supposed to do - I will compare Trevor Noah’s book to this one. Trevor is am immigrant, and as such you read his story - a very personal and heartbraking story - yet as a black person you walk away hopeful, optimistic and with a can-do attitude.
Top reviews from other countries
For anyone with the courage to take the red pill and wake from their ignorance.
Most importantly, though, Coates’ perspective as a Black man growing up in America is just so essential. I went to a very white university not far from where Coates grew up. And yet, my experience and vision of Baltimore is worlds away from his home. We all need to explore why that is. Where this separation originates and how we can dismantle it. The first step is listening to accounts like this one.