We all bring a lifetime of experiences to whatever book we read. I read Between the World and Me, keeping in mind that I am the father of a black son.We all bring a lifetime of experiences to whatever book we read. I read Between the World and Me, keeping in mind that I am the father of a black son. My wife is also black. Being a white father, I cannot pass on the experiences of being a black man in America. As a member of white society, I can walk blithely through life unaware of the biases and profiling that affects my own family.
Between the World and Me is a memoir, written in the form of a letter to the writer’s fifteen-year-old son. Ta-Nehisi Coates is a black father, and in this book he relates his own experiences of growing up black in America. Sometimes is he is quite angry – rightfully so – and his narrative is always personal and emotionally powerful. He’s not just talking about slavery and the subjugation of the African-American people, but the fact that America’s success was built on the backs of these people.
He uses direct quotes to dispute dangerous ideas, such as the Civil War not being fought over slavery. Coates covers institutional racism, and how most of us are deluded by this idea of whiteness, also known as “the American Dream”. There is a lot to digest in just over one-hundred and fifty pages, especially for those of us only familiar with the winner’s interpretation of history. Every once in a while, a book deserves the exalted status it’s being given, and Between the World and Me is one of those books. ...more
2015 has been a good year for books about race and what it means to be black in America. There have been some stellar nonfiction and novels released,2015 has been a good year for books about race and what it means to be black in America. There have been some stellar nonfiction and novels released, and Loving Day by Mat Johnson, should sit right up there among the best.
This novel is about Warren Duffy, who has inherited his father's large dilapidated house in Germantown, Philadelphia. Along with this comes the surprise of a high school age daughter he has never met. His daughter, Tal, has been raised white and Jewish, whereas Warren identifies as black as sees it as his responsibility to teach his daughter the African American side of her family history.
This is a wonderfully comic novel with discussions of race on nearly every page, but all the elements serve as part of the story and not as some type of ideological bludgeon. Johnson has populated his novel with a cast of three-dimensional characters; black, white and all shades in between. Loving Day is a very localized novel, giving us a peek into life in Germantown, but it also tackles much larger terrain, where we all reside.
Loving Day is ultimately about the struggle we all undertake in life, which is just trying to be comfortable with who we are. We all want to belong to one group or another, but it's not always so easy to fit in, especially when you're of mixed race. There are some great laughs in this very smart book, but it's also a very poignant tale about family and connections. Loving Day is certainly one of my favorite books of 2015....more
As the author states in the introduction, those who would most benefit from reading this book will never open its pages for a number of reasons. One oAs the author states in the introduction, those who would most benefit from reading this book will never open its pages for a number of reasons. One of the main reasons is white America's wish to cling to a false nostalgic history that whitewashes (pun intended) some of our society's most nefarious deeds done for the purpose of continued white supremacy. I had previously read Tim Wise's "White Like Me," which is his memoir. It opened my eyes to institutionalized racism, and how I have benefited in this society just by virtue of being born white. (For instance, I've never been pulled over for driving-while-black.)Everyone would benefit from reading the works of Tim Wise, because no matter how liberal and open minded you may think your are, there are always other truths to be learned.
This open letter to the "new minority" is a brilliant polemic, told using historical data (notes in the back) and a passion well needed for the cause of anti-racism. Most of us have seen the emails passed around between conservatives, showing President Obama as a witch doctor, or a pimp. Just recently a pastor of a church in Georgia, hung an effigy of our first black president from a gallows built on the front lawn of his church. Ignorance does not die easy. I wish I could put this open letter by Tim Wise into the hands of a few friends and relatives, but -- knowing that it would merely collect dust -- I will instead use the information to be better informed myself, and to face our society a little more clear-eyed....more
The U.S. has its first black president, but race is still a hot topic. Being born white, it's easy to overlook the advantages that society provides foThe U.S. has its first black president, but race is still a hot topic. Being born white, it's easy to overlook the advantages that society provides for its preferred citizens. White Like Me helps to open our eyes to institutionalized racism in its subtlest of forms. ...more