Author: Ta-Nehisi Coates
Original Publication: 2015
Do not be fooled by the slim packaging of “Between The World And Me.” This memoir/collection of essays is monumental, beautiful, illuminating, and highly controversial.
Speaking and writing about race in America, especially if one is black, will always draw certain kinds of criticism. For example: why is it acceptable to be a Black Nationalist but not a White Nationalist? Or why must the edification and reverence of black people come at the expense of white people? The highly subjective answers to these kinds of questions are monstrously complex and I do not think Americans can currently have an easy conversation about such topics. Which brings us to another criticism about this kind of book–that this kind of writing further divides America and is part of the problem.
Yes, speaking about race in America is a very testy subject. However, I personally support and encourage the existence of such works. Ta Nehesi Coates did not write this book to make anyone happy or feel good. His work is bleak and nihilistic yet I appreciate the painful honesty with which he writes every word. By the end of the book, I was gutted by the the fear and hopelessness that permeated his writing. I do not fault Coates for having such a negative outlook on America and its pursuit of the Dream. What I will do is imbibe the wisdom imparted in these pages and attempt to integrate it into my understanding of the world. Doing so can only benefit me and for that I thank Mr. Ta Nehesi Coates.