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“Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates Analysis

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    The Black empowerment movement has been a popular topic in recent years, and has sparked dialogue from activist and many public figures around the world. Between the world and me discusses social inequalities, social injustices, and racial privileges. It is evident that Ta-Nehisi Coates invites the reader to further understand what it’s like being a person of color in the United States of America. Throughout the text Coates uses symbolism and personal experiences to convey the truth behind black culture.

    Black Culture and the black empowerment movement have been overlooked just until recent events. The novel states “The Dream is tree houses and the Cub Scouts. 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 rest 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, I was sad for my country, but above all, in that moment, I was sad for you” (11). The following quotation highlights the truth behind American culture. No matter where you originate from there seems to always be this standard of living up to what is called the “American Dream”. Ta-Nehisi coates makes it clear that this dream is in fact unrealistic and only fits for those who are available to such. Meaning, those who feel supported by their country are given the opportunity to live by this standard. This ordinary life-style is meant for those who live ordinary lives. Such as ordinary American people. This Dream is imaginary to those who live day by day in fear. This illusive American dream isn’t anything more than a vision for us to impose. Which is why Ta-Nehisi Coates repeatedly uses the the word “Dream” to emphasise deception. The idea for an ordinary life applies to those who best fit for to the american dream. For those whose life revolves around this statement can benefit from this status qou.

    Identity is also a key factor in the novel. It is very obvious that without background knowledge on the author, that the speaker seems to have a concern about who they are. The novel states“ The People who must believe they are white can never be your measuring stick. I would not have you descend into your own dream. I would have you be a conscious of this terrible and beautiful world “ (149-150). This quotation demonstrates the speakers fear for the world he lives in and his admiration for change. As to why he considers the world to be beautiful yet terrible. This fear extends further into social privages and social power. Where white people have dominated for a centuries, leaving black culture to be subordinate, because of its lack of appreciation. The repetition of the word “I” also addresses an identity crisis and connects to the speakers fear of being denigrated in his community.

    Ta-Nehisi Coates also discusses the social inequalities and social structure. The novel states “And there it is— the right to break the black body as the meaning of their sacred equality. And that right has always given them meaning, has always meant that there was someone down in the valley because a mountain is not a mountain if there is nothing below “(). Coates discusses the unequitable injustices done on the black body. We’ve have created a foundation for this country and aren’t appreciated for our efforts in constructing what is believed to be one of the greatest nations. There is a social structure that holds white people of power always on top and it’s been that way for a great amount of history. White people have been held on a pedestal for centuries. And people of color have been oppressed for longer than they’ve been free. The black body has been materialized and used as a tool to help this country succeed. Without us this country would not be where it is now. This country has utilized people of color and destroyed our ancestors and culture, which led to social segregation, racism, social inequality… etc.

    This books does more than discuss the issues within the black community, but the issues that linger today from those who aren’t the minority. It is especially important to those who aren’t being oppressed to share their voices on the matter and become aware of issues that solely revolve around the black community. It is highly stated that the minorities aren’t receiving enough representation from other communities, such as the white community. Who has been

    Ignoring such problems because it doesn’t seem to affect their status. Ultimately creating a divided line between both social group, and establishing white privilege. Considering that the white individual does not have to constantly think about their identity, this gives the average white person social privageles rather than those who do. In being involved and contributing to this awareness from a different standpoint this creates more representation. The book states “I sensed the schools were hiding something, drugging us with false morality so that we would not see, so that we did not ask: Why-for us and only us– is the other side of free will and free spirits an assault upon our bodies?”(26). The following quotation goes to show how our administration created a sophisticated education system to mask the horrors of our past.

    They’ve have been concealing the truth behind American history. And euphemizing real events that are have significance to our cultures. Ta-Nehisi Coates explains how the education system does an excellent job in masking the real horrors people of color have faced for generations, and shedding less light on the matter. This is exactly why even today this conversation is especially sensitive to initiate because there aren’t as many people educated on this subject. White people have always been intimidated or afraid to start a conversation specifically on racism and social privilege because the education system in providing small fragments on the real events into our textbooks and lectures. Considering how detrimental this time in history was, most of these issues are being swept under the rug. I can definitely agree to this statement because of what I was taught during my school career. There isn’t much mention on the matter and even open discussions aren’t popular. As strange as it sounds even now in an environment that tries it best to promote diversity and spark sense on the matter most of my peers still find it rather difficult having a say in the conversation. Which is all because history is being erased in the education system.

    All in all, This novel touches on sensitive matter while yet enlightening the reader on the challenges of being part of black culture. Ta-Nehisi does a great job representing these struggles through personal experiences, societal perspectives, and utilizing the media. These concerns have been brought up on many occasions and we have yet to see the justice. The black empowerment movement would not have been an organization if it weren’t for how poorly we’ve been treated by authority and society. However it is beneficial in the fact that this creates history and also provides an education for those of the minority.

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