Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Book Review: Ta-Nehisi Coates Between The World and Me

Ta-Nehisi Coates
Between the World and Me.(2015)

This is an important book, beautifully, poetically and elegantly written. I have white skin. But I did not feel attacked reading this book. I have white skin; I am confused by the "Black Lives Matter" movement. My response, in my own mind, seems to be, "Well, of course!" But that does not feel like an appropriate, public response. I am broken-hearted by the list of official, law enforcement violence against black people. I try to understand this issue of racism which is tearing at the fabric of our society, but I cannot. I have no access, no glimpse, no opportunity to experience the intimate reality of being a black person in America today. (I do not even know if the jargon of "white" and "black" people is still appropriate and correct?)

This book gives me that glimpse. For that I am grateful. I can glimpse, through this book, a bit of how a perceptive black writer views inner-city gangs, broken schools, the Civil Rights Movement of old, police violence. This book is written as an open letter to the author's teenage son. We share the role as the father of a teenage boy; although in vastly different worlds. I feel his love for his son, as I am filled with love for mine.

This comment, from the book, shook me: "But race is the child of racism, not the father."

This challenge, from the book, motivates me: "And I still urge you to struggle. Struggle for the memory of your ancestors. Struggle for wisdom. Struggle for the warmth of The Mecca. Struggle for your grandmother and grandfather, for your name."

I struggle. I pray.