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Between the World and Me


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Opening
Between the World and Me Summary
Ta-Nehisi Coatess an African American author uses a bleak tone to address the
challenges impinging on the lives of American black especially racism, segregation, and murder.
Coates presents the book to his eighteen-year-old son in a form of a letter. Coates expresses his
opinion on the truth about history and race following a series of experiences to his son and the
readers. Some of Coates experiences that stimulated his ideologies to his son include poetry,
travels to civil war batter fields, and experiences at Howard University and engagement with
history since his childhood and youth at Baltimore. Coates thus discourages fear and confusion
and credits integrity, honesty, responsibility and understanding of the world as it is not as it could
have been. Indeed, the book offers an excellent understanding of the American history and how it
affects the present particularly its contribution to the racial crisis. Coates encourages
consciousness in addressing racial discrimination in America by proposing rationalism and
responsibility as transcendent visions of the way forward for America. Coates is an observer of

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blacks evolution on their harmonious progress, threats to blacks, slavery, and brutality from the
police and media incarceration.
Specific ideas in the book
Coates addresses the realities of being black in America and advice blacks to face the
reality without depending on anyone else. The book clearly illustrates violence against black
people as the prisons are warehouses to keep blacks since the white supremacy views them as
second class citizen. He prioritizes the Blacks to secure themselves vigilantly as most
disproportionation policies are against the black youth and children. The abuse is facilitated by
policies (Coates, 79)
Coates holds that a black son and daughter must be twice as good as whites to acquire
half as much. He disagrees with Martin Luthers optimism in having a dream which only favors
white supremacy. He notes that even the death of white supremacy will result in a new
segregation, peon class. Coates thus advise blacks to live the dream and stop dreaming. He
would rather become somehow violent to save his body and not too violent to lose his life. He
explains to his son on how he has lived with fear at Baltimore. Being black in Baltimore is
being naked to guns, knives, fists and rape. Coates had fear against the police and streets as they
threaten to harm blacks physically. He also cautions the son on code switching rules to address
street norms, the authorities, and professional world as they might not do any good to black.
Idea rejected by Coates and reasons for rejection
Coasts reject that the idea that all people are equal. This is because slaves are extremely
manumitted by their white master. The relationship between the whites and black make his
wonder if black people are equal to white. He wants clarity on whether African are people or

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animals. Coasts is against the idea of Christs sacrifices being continually offered in heaven as
opposed to the pleading of the sacrifice on earth. He rather proposes that the heavens and earth
are linked in a realistic manner. The reason is that the Eucharist is not found in contemporary
standard divines. He also rejects Nugent Hicks equation that sacrifice is equal to death. To
him, this idea is misleading as Christ sacrifice ended at his death. He also rejects some Christian
ideologies about forgiveness. Blacks are forced to forgive as a religious duty as they end up
being victims of justice and racial discrimination.
Coasts reject white American mythos, no doubt about that. He embraces the certainty of
American white supremacy and the resulting constrains. This is based on the fact that white
supremacy is not an emerging issue in the United States by an ontology. In other worlds, he tries
to let his reader understand that white supremacy is not reality but a mental structure which is
erroneous and a wounded attachment to believing. He rejects magic in its form (Coates 12). He
discourages any appeals to the spirits that can reduce the value and preciousness of the human
body. Other metaphysical ideologies rejected by Coates are going to heaven which to Coasts are
aimed to affect the blacks.
Certainly, Coasts also rejects viewing the world through kings dream. He sees it as a
political tool to encourage Blacks to dwell in the dream rather than living the presence by facing
the reality. He also tells his son that America is broken, but it is not the blacks responsibility to
repair it since they are not guilty of its breaking (Coates, 151). Ideally, he explains to the son that
he is against the breaking of America, but blacks do not have any power to repair it either.

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Coatess notion of the Dream.


Coates looks at the American dream as a lie. The dream is at the expense of the American
blacks and a scapegoat for the whites to continue victimizing the Negros. He, however, notes that
the Americans are not ready to accept that the dream is by exploiting and destroying blacks. He
holds that the whites supremacy has killed the dream of equality and fairness. He used the
dream to exhibit the tranquility used to encourage racial brutality among the blacks. He had a
goal to divest the Americans about the obscuring myths animated in the American dream. The
dream is dreamt on beddings made of the blacks bodies making it smell like peppermint yet has a
strawberry shortcake taste. He suggests that America is lost in the dream. Those who dream are
are politically obsessed by personal exoneration (Coates, 97)
The story of Prince Jones
Prince Jones was Coates schoolmate at Howard University who met his death in
September 2000 following a shot from an undercover police for suspecting Jones was a drug
trafficker. Despite the polices suspicion that leads to the shooting, there was no concrete
evidence to shot Jones. Unfortunately, the police who shot Jones was black and an exhibition of
how the black played a significant role in their discrimination and suffering of their colleagues.
Jones opposes the issues of a black officer killing a black American as ironical since white police
were the obvious killers of any suspected black. Jones died at an age of 25 years, yet no was so
it. No one bother do follow up the killing of Coatess comrade as if his life did not matter at all.
Jones is an epitome of what most African Americans are subjected to due to racism. Coates is
thus aware that he cannot secure the safety of his son. Neither is he sure that his son will go
through what Jones went through nor does he have the power to protect the son.

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Coates travels to France


Coates gives an explanation about his direct experience in France especially in learning
the language. He states that no one in his access before the travel could speak French. Coates had
no idea about what he was doing in school and all he could do is to memorize terminologies for
the purpose of passing exams. He never understood the importance of studying French in his life.
Conclusion
Coasts book is a thrilling product giving overwhelming insight about the contemporary
state of black Americans and the fallacies of white supremacy. He challenges the readers
understanding about America and how pas experiences have affected the current black. To
change the situation in the future generations, he is against some disparities like segregation,
magic and dreaming ideologies which are just beneficial to the whites. The book has been
presented as a letter to his adolescent son hoping that the generation of his son will adopt a new
measure of solving their won issues with courage. He emphasizes the need for consciousness and
determination for the black child to have equal rights as the white in the face of the law.
Following his observation in his lifetime experience, he has witnessed black victimization by the
white especially the authorities which could even cause death to black people and no one will
mind about it. For instance, his friend in college Prince Jones was killed by the police. When the
body is shattered, everything is shattered (Coates, 113). Coasts want a difference in addressing
issues affecting black people in America.

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Work cited
Coates, Ta-Nehisi. Between the World and Me., 2015. Print.