Review Of Ta-Nehisi Coates Between The World And Me

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In Ta-Nehisi Coates’ book Between the World and Me, the author raises several important ideas that make readers ponder the issue of racism within our country. As a black individual living in modern day America, Coates uses his narrative to illustrate the hardships of black bodies. Personally, I found Coates' arguments on the historical legacy of slavery, the theory that racism created race, and the ignorance of American citizens to be eye-opening discussions necessary for all high school students.
To begin, his book emphasized the impact that slavery had on black bodies and its lasting effects. As Coates explains, the American Dream is built on the exploitation and discrimination against African-Americans; back when slavery was still legal, …show more content…

Coates explains to the audience that “race is the child of racism, not the father.” This quote, though originally confusing, is the epitome of this idea; race is not a natural or inherent category to define people with, but a tool created through the practices of racism and oppression. For instance, white people “had a ‘race’ before being ‘white’”; they had a culture, a background, and an ethnicity such as Frankish, German, or Italian. However, the grouping and division of race into a black and white issue was created solely from the hatred of one group, African-Americans, and the rising up of another, white people. As Coates expresses, “hate gives identity,” and with the oppression of black individuals being an ongoing issue for centuries in this country, the separation of “black” and “white” as races were the result. I think this is incredibly important to understand because it takes a deep dive into the construction of inequality. For those who do see the world as black and white, and not a mix of hundreds of ethnicities or backgrounds, I think the idea that race was only created by racism can challenge a lot of notions on what “race” really means. Further, it is vital to acknowledge that the terms “black” and “white” are so general and cover hundreds of different cultures and identities; they should not be the only defining terms to one’s …show more content…

For instance, Coates writes that one of his friends was told she was “pretty for a black girl” or “was not really black, meaning it as a compliment.” These quotes highlight that “black,” in the minds of these people, is synonymous with “ugly,” “rude,” or “wrong.” They were not trying to be harmful and had full intent of using these phrases as compliments; however, by subtly putting down black people, it shows an ignorance rooted in the unconscious bias of white supremacy. Coates states that this ignorance is hypocritical, as many white people claim to care about the well-being of black people, yet fail to acknowledge the impact of their actions on the black community. For instance, white people claim to practice “compassionate conservatism,” as Coates puts it, yet “voted for a regime that is nakedly contemptuous of black people and revels in its ignorance.” This quote exposes the uncomfortable truth that much of white America’s success and prosperity was built on ideas that harmed black individuals, and because this benefits the white population, they have the “privilege of living in ignorance of this essential fact.” In regards to its importance, the knowledge of this idea can help combat the issue; if people really try to learn and understand as much of the black struggle as they can, it would

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