Between the World and Me is Ta-Nehisi Coate’s visceral and highly introspective account of what it means to be a black man in America. To Coate’s (and perhaps the millions who identify with this work, myself included), to be black in America means that your body is disposable. Cheap. Ripe for plunder. Between the World and Me is Coate’s first hand account of the historic and current violence against black men perpetrated by figures of authority in America. In this text, he forces America to take a long hard look at itself through a dirty mirror. And it hurts.
Personally, several pieces of this book struck a cord with me. But Coate’s take on one seemingly benign phrase that I have heard all my life, particularly floored me:
All my life I’d heard people tell their black boys and black girls to “be twice as good”, which is to say “accept half as much.” These words would be spoken with a veneer of religious nobility, as though they evidenced some unspoken quality, some undetected courage, when in fact all they evidenced was the gun to our head and the hand in our pocket. …No one told those little white children, with their tricycles, to be twice as good. I imagined their parents telling them to take twice as much. It seemed to me that our own rules redoubled the plunder.
This is a must read!