I’ve followed, like so many other people, Ta-Nehisi Coates’ progressive, racially aware and socially necessary articles on The Atlantic for quite some time. I’m always impressed with his ability to speak what I struggle to articulate. As a young black writer, I find our voice is missing from most media outlets that are not, in some way, organized or published by a Black person. Coates is a refreshing voice and one whose reach, through the Atlantic’s platform, will advance the stories of Black people in America.
In reading his latest book, “Between The World and Me”, I found myself wanting to soak every page in highlighter liquid until the book was bright enough to catch the attention of any and everyone. I wasn’t satisfied with reading the book myself, so I gave it to my father. I talked about it at dinner. I talked about it while my father and brother silently watched CNN loop the video of Eric Garner being murdered by officers from the NYPD. The book is, in so many ways, a mirror to lives Black men in America have lived for generations. I believed, and still believe, America’s Black men are not only marginalized but silenced. Their stories, their realities are not noted, written out or recognized. What Ta-Nehisi Coates has done with “Between The World and Me”, is speak to black men in a world that continues to systemically, socially, academically and financially ignore them. This is why I wanted my brother and father to touch the pages of this book and peel them back to read something that validates their existence. This book feels like a love letter and after every page, I felt as though Coates was whispering, “I am here…I know you are, too.”
Social movements are springing up across the nation to address the killings of Black people by police and white, racially zealous citizens. This book came at the perfect time when so many Black people have tried to have conversations – with ourselves, our families and the digital, academic and physical world we live in – about what the mass murders of Black people really means in America, the home of the brave, the land of the free.
I don’t feel like I have to say much else about this book. It’s amazing. It’s informational. It’s real. “It’s required reading” as our beloved Toni Morrison said.
If you haven’t read “Between The World and Me”, order a copy here.
Catch Ta-Nehisi Coates’ reading list and don’t forget to watch his amazing interview at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture with New York Times Magazine and ProPublica reporter Nikole Hannah-Jones.