Writing to his teenage son couldn’t been more timely. Ta-Nehisi Coates’ book is a reflection about living a life as a black person, especially man in the United States. Coates is trying to provide his son insights on this matter formed by own experience, and journalist work on cases of race motivated crimes. The concept of black body is identification of those, whose bodies are endagered because of their colour, hairstyle, but also because of belief that everyone can be themselves. Until someone decides that hoodie or loud music is suspicious enough to reach to violence with resulting in death.
Author refers to his youth spent in Baltimore and student years at Howard University, both important times for the realization what does it mean to be a black young man. From being thretened by a gun at the age of six, having his friend Prince Jones Jr. shot and killed by police, Coates is pointing on reality of his everyday life. He remembers parents trying to save their kids from the possible dager, not allowing themselves a thought that not everything can be affected even by the best means. That there were/are still bad kids out there, in the neighbourhoods, where rage and rudeness creates sense of power.
Coates wonders why are black kids being tought to be twice as good, twice as clever as the others? Aren’t they good enough the way they are? His answer is following: violence against black body is a tradition, part of the system he lives in. Therefore since early childhood kids are being reminded to fight against the odds, prove their worth more than others. For them, nothing is given for free and often, not much is forgiven. Showing examples from history until nowadays, author confirms his opinion. There are still too many people entitled as “the first black“ – president, athlete etc. And there were others creating our common history, but somehow were left out due to white supremacy heritage. Between the World and Me was an eye-opening, educational and at the same time personal read. Worth it.