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Friday, January 5, 2018

Privilege

It's difficult to express what it means to me when any reader says they've been moved by a book they learned of here. If my endorsement of "Between The World And Me" (2015) induces anyone to enter the world of Ta-Nehisi Coates, I want to know; please.

While involved with this tiny masterpiece, I found myself unable to read sentences aloud to my wife, a ritual we've shared for years. Then, after finishing it, a week passed before I felt ready to review my notes and compose an entry for my book journal. During that week, I masochistically reached out to folks I thought may have read it so that - through a conversation - I could sustain the painful glow of this author's words. Weeks later, I'm still processing, learning, hoping I don't forget. In case you're wondering if the book is for you, this passage from page 143 should assist:

"They have forgotten the scale of the theft that enriched them in slavery; the terror that allowed them, for a century, to pilfer the vote; the segregationist policy that gave them the suburbs. They have forgotten, because to remember would tumble them out of the beautiful Dream and force them to live down here with us, down here in the world."  

The book is a cautionary note addressed to the author's only child, a son "...in his fifteenth year..." Before reading "Between The World And Me", it did not occur to me what a privilege it was to never even consider having a conversation anything like this with my only child, in any year of her life.

          

3 comments:

  1. This sounds like a book for me! I just finished "The Warmth of Other Suns" by Isabel Wilkerson. Even though it is long, it should be required reading! Not only did a learn so much, it is beautifully written and the three people featured come to life in a meaningful, beautiful and profound way!

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    1. Ines; If/when you read "Between The World...", let's talk about your reaction to it. BTW, I also loved "Warmth Of Other Suns." Thanks for continuing to read and comment.

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  2. I’m so glad you enjoyed that “Name-That-Author” challenge. It was indeed Ta-Nehisi Coates. This past October, I read Between The World And Me shortly after finishing We Were Eight Years In Power. What a brilliant man this is! I was moved to tears when he asked, “Why do white people like what I write?”

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