This morning I finished my first read-through of Ta-Nehisi Coates 2015 book, Between the World and Me. This long-form letter written from father to son exposes the systemic racism and system of prejudice in the United States for what it is: the active and bloody destruction of black bodies. Our society, our dreams, and our national pride are built upon the historical otherness of blackness; and our individual participation in what Coate’s describes as “The Dream” perpetuates that violence.
I will read through this book again and again and again. While I have a long way to go in grappling with my own whiteness and racism, this book has really opened my eyes to the ways in which our current society continues the sins of our fathers through racist policies, policing, criminal justice, and countless other practices.
I won’t go into a lot of detail about the book here, because I think you should read Coates’ own words on the topic. So stop whatever your doing. Put your other books on pause for a while, and read this book. I think you’ll close the book a different person than you opened it, and that is — in my estimation — the sign of a great piece of art.