Between the World and Me (book review) Ta-Nehisi Coates

101210: i am not american, i am not black, i am very impressed by this essay in the form of a letter to his adolescent son, speaking of what it is to be a young black american in 2015. concise, alert, loving, fearing. this is the best i can say of this work. beginning with the historical loss of the black body, how the heritage of slavery persists, warps, too often destroys, the very being of black life...


i have to my knowledge never suffered racism as is threaded through black life in america. in this part of canada, at that time, where mostly i grew up, most everyone thought themselves white. i could pass for 'white', i was not marked out in appearance by being too big, too small, too tall, too short. and when others would learn my mother is hawai'ian this was exotic, this was only my brother and i in school, in town...


i was fortunate in hawai'i because i looked at least half hawai'ian, besides it is a multicultural place, and having mixed background was true of nearly everyone. my father was, is, will always be a 'haole', a foreigner, in the term used for white people there. my mother might have suffered racism here but she does not recall it. my brother had asian friends, white friends, could not also somewhat pass as part white at least...


i did not grow up urban, i did not know gangs, i played on high school basketball team, but even there my nickname was 'mikey' as in 'mikey likes it!'. i have worked and been friends and continue to be friends with black canadians, men and women, but have never had the heavy weight of history distort our friendships. i can remember being surprised when one man said the asians at one night club would not let blacks in, being quietly furious when one english white man decided to show me all the- internet- research he had found that 'proved' black people were naturally less intelligent...


i read this book, i see how many other black texts there are i have not read, i try to imagine what it must be like to have to fear, have to walk carefully, have to be loud and aggressive simply to prove you are a man, and how this can be cut down in any one racist act. this past summer there has been some media about the killing by police of so many young black men in the states, but this is not new, this is just known about now, and the anger at such acts, the anger i have, is at least from a safe distance, at least i do not have to walk those fears every day in america... the best i can do is read this book...

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