These are only a few of the words to describe how the Black community is feeling right now and how it has felt for the past four hundred years. Four hundred years seems like plenty of time for the "greatest country in the world" to be able to eradicate its problem with racism, but how does a country that so readily offers the "American Dream" to all of its citizens accomplish this? Is the American Dream even real? If it is real, who is the American Dream really for?
I remember picking up Ta-Nehisi Coates's award-winning Between the World and Me a few years ago, and as a Black woman, this book spoke to me. The frustration and truth that Coates expresses in his book was very much recognizable then, with his honesty, personal experiences, and analysis of American and Black history on display. The discussions about Black individuals having to be "twice as good" and how police brutality was deeply tied to the enslavement of Black bodies were clear to me. The thing that stands out the most about everything Coates shares in his book is the fact that he wrote this book, almost as a letter, to his then fifteen-year-old son.
Years have passed since this book was first published in 2015. While, unfortunately, things are still very much the same in our society, one thing is changing about me. I'm hoping to be a mother soon. With this comes an entirely new layer of fear and anger that I have never felt before, and Coates's words carry a heavier meaning. The desire to bring a new life into this world and experience such joy is coupled with the unknown and wondering if my child, despite all that I might do to protect them, will ever truly be safe in the "Land of the Free."
Between the World and Me is an essential title that should be read with care, taking in every word, emotion, fear, and hope. While books are a great way to begin understanding different perspectives and viewpoints, it is important to remember to take the words found in books about the Black Experience and turn them into action. Perhaps, one day in the future, things will no longer be between the world and me....
Between the World and Me
New York, NY: One World, an imprint of PenguinRandom House; 1st edition 
Formats: Book, Audiobook, eBook, eAudio
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