Before you read this post, know that I am expressing my thoughts and reflections about this book. I am not addressing the injustices perpetrated upon Blacks in America, I am merely considering the thoughts expressed in these writings.
Between the World and Me is a long letter from a black father to his black son and was written in response to the Ferguson, MO police shooting of Michael Brown. This essay has received many rave reviews and has skyrocketed Coates into fame and fortune.
Frankly, I found this letter to be extremely eye-opening, but not for the politically correct reasons Coates is being praised for. I do believe there are many valid points made throughout this narrative, but what spoke to me more than Coates' criticism of the "people who think they're white" and the "dreamers" was his attitude. I found Coates to be extremely pessimistic, negative and without hope.
I find the blame game offensive and debilitating and divisive. Blame creates victims and victims have no choice about what happens to them. I think it is a shame that Coates is perpetuating victimization of Blacks instead of empowering them! I think it's sad to pass to his son such hopelessness and distrust. I think it's too bad that Coates only rants and raves and is angry about how Blacks are treated, but seems to be telling his son to respond likewise---hate them back! How can we mend relationships within an atmosphere of hate?
This is a relatively short book and I read it rather quickly, until there were about 30 pages left, and then I hit a wall. I just stopped and didn't want to keep reading. I knew what he was going to say and I didn't want to read it (and I wanted to hope that I was wrong). It was a few weeks before I actually read those final words, and only because it was required reading for a class I was taking.....
And I was correct, it was not a positive message, it was sad and depressing and without hope. I know the history and agree it was a travesty, but I have a hope for a better future, and I wish Coates did too.
Even so, you should probably read it.