Slavery In Coates's Between The World And Me

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It both saddens and terrifies me to say that I can still feel uncomfortable stating the fact that slaves built this nation. It is as though I have been taught to feel uncomfortable about the truths of American history. I find relief in knowing that there are, and have been, people who are not afraid or uncomfortable with the truth; those who can write, publish, and share honest American history with the world. In Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates shares truths with his son that I always knew, but never had the ability to articulate. Coates also writes with a sense of knowledge, I detect no doubt in his words; and the lack of repression with which he wrote often made me feel as though I was reading something that should be protected.…show more content…
Black history doesn’t begin with slavery, despite the fact that children are taught that way every day. Being taught in America, Africa is often seen as a large mass of countries that are more or less the same, without great empires, without great inventors, without kings and queens; the dark skinned Hatshepsut, the beautiful Nefertiti, the brave Nzinga all forgotten, and Moses and Cleopatra made fair and white as soon as the film industry was created. Black history begins with (and isn’t even limited to) Africa, not slavery, and slavery isn’t just something that happened. Slavery was a plague upon many, especially black people, and the consistent attempts at the erasure of these truths are why I believe Coates chose to employ the language he did in his…show more content…
Honesty is essential in the quest for freedom. In Between the World and Me, Coates tells his son the truth, without fear, without repression, and without appeasement. Coates doesn’t write as a spokesperson for the black community, but he writes knowing that he will be a spokesperson not matter where he is or what he does. This a reality black people must deal with every day. Coates uses the language he does not because of the fact that it will be read as more than his words, but because they are his words regardless. Whether it were 2015 or 1829, what Coates does, what his son does, what any black person does, is done with the responsibility other people cannot know
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