race

Between the World and Me

I’m slowly making my way through Ta-nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me because it’s so good and so dense that I feel like I need to savor his words. To help myself remember in the future, I’m gonna drop a few of my favorite parts so far:

“Americans believe in the reality of “race” as a defined, indubitable feature of the natural world. Racism- the need to ascribe bone-deep features to people and then humiliate, reduce, and destroy them- inevitably follows this inalterable condition. In this way, racism is rendered as the innocent daughter of Mother Nature, and one is left to deplore the Middle Passage or the Trail of Tears the way one deplores an earthquake, a tornado, or any other phenomenon that can be cast as beyond the handiwork of men.

But race is the child of racism, not the father.” (page 7)

“When the {white} journalist asked me about my body, it was like she was asking me to awaken her from the most gorgeous dream. I have seen that dream all my life. It is perfect houses with nice lawns. It is Memorial Day cookouts, block associations, and driveways. The Dream is treehouses and Cub Scouts. The Dream smells like peppermint but tastes like strawberry shortcake. And for so long I have wanted to escape into the Dream, to fold my country over my head like a blanket. But this has never been an option because the Dream rests on our backs, the bedding made from our bodies. And knowing this, knowing that the Dream persists by warring with the known world, I was sad for the host, I was sad for all those families {believing themselves to be white}, I was sad for my country, but above all, in that moment, I was sad for you {my son}.” (page 11)

 

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