Reading List

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

So I feared not just the violence of this world but the rules designed to protect you from it, the rules that would have you contort your body to address the block, and contort again to be taken seriously by colleagues, and contort again so as not to give the police a reason. 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. This is how we lose our softness. This is how they steal our right to smile.

I listened to this in audiobook and was so deeply moved, enlightened and enlivened by the words of this great poet, social advocate. The book is staged as a letter between a father and his 15 year old son. It does not conform to the need to offer solutions or incite hope, but rather to reveal our wounds. To share the subtle discriminations and the overt injustice that is the young black man's experience. This book should be required reading for all races, but particularly the white elite who so rarely pause to reflect on the pain of our history and, (judging by many among us with the need to shout "All Lives Matter") cannot fathom sting of a cultural, political, and economic reality of the lesser than skin.