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The Main Ideas Of The Book Between The World And Me

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Between the World and Me gave insight into the mind of Ta-Nehisi Coates, where he discussed in-depth, his perception of race throughout history. This book was written to his son, Samori, to inform him about his African American history, and lifestyle. It gave him the ins and outs, and the dos and don'ts of his race. Ta-Nehisi Coates delivered his son life long lessons on how to treat himself and protect himself. This books ultimate goal was to dive deep into understanding the racial flaws within our country and attempting to portray where America went wrong during our history in terms of race.

The American Dream flaunts the idea that our country was based on equality, and if you work hard enough, you can be successful. This idea to many individuals is very appealing and seems achievable. However, Coates's interpretation of the 'dream' describes our country not to be built on equality and democracy, but rather on cruel and inhuman treatment of African Americans. He explains that people are so blindsided to the fact that we built our country on a 'government of the people,' this motto fails to include the black's and instead violently abuses their race. This is a significant concept that shows that African Americans have been mistreated from the start, and as much as people believe our nation has changed and departed from racism, there are still racist acts seen today.

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Throughout the book, you are reminded of the idea that growing up in a black body is substantially different than growing up in a white frame. This message is, in my opinion, is one of the most prominent concepts. From a young age, Coates experiences things that a white person may never experience. Being held a gunpoint, he realizes that the 'dream' is a much further reach for him than it is for white people not only because of his wealth but because of the constant discriminatory practices he faces that one with a white body will never. He argues the school systems for blacks are condescending and make him feel somewhat trapped. He feels this way because he thinks they are giving him learning opportunities that he will never be able to follow through with because he isn't given the same chance as white people. For example, when he learns french in school, he assumes he will never get the opportunity to use that language and travel to France. Not until he goes to Howard University does he genuinely dig into the history of his race. He realizes that all black people are different, and thinks that the reason why black people are not cruel to white people is simply that they are better people. At Howard University, he is greatly influenced by the people he meets. He meets a series of three women, the last being his wife who all teach him valuable lessons of love.

Coates, never sugar coates anything to his son, he tells him the truth because he believes he needs to prepare his son for the realities he might face. A concept throughout the book that shows significance and consequence is the safety of your own body. The book always reminds you and alludes to the deaths of innocent black people. The murders of these people continuously seem to have no consequences for their actions. Coates explains that, unfortunately, even though white police officers murder innocent black people and never seem to be punished, our society seems to be ok with it as this flaw appears to repeat itself regularly. When Coates met with Dr. Jones toward the end of the book, she appeared as though she composed herself very well, given the awful circumstances. She was surprised and shocked by the fact that the son's killer never got charged or a consequence of any sort, it baffled her mind to understand that such inhuman actions have no consequence. She lobbied with the idea that no matter how successful her son was or how much he accomplished, his death was inevitable, and that was the harsh reality due to racism.

Coates gave the readers his in-depth perception of the flaws within American society dealing with race. I was significantly impacted by the harsh reality of racism and how it is still largely in effect today. There is absolutely no reason that the color of their skin should define a person, yet that seems to be the case nevertheless. The fact is that for peace to come to our nation; we need to correct our bias first, which ultimately is ignorance.

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The Main Ideas Of The Book Between The World And Me. (2021, August 16). Edubirdie. Retrieved March 5, 2024, from
“The Main Ideas Of The Book Between The World And Me.” Edubirdie, 16 Aug. 2021,
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