Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Between the World and Me, Part I: (52 – 71)

[Between the World and Me]

"The enslaved were not bricks in your road, and their lives were not chapters in your redemptive history. They were people turned to fuel for the American machine. Enslavement was not destined to end, and it is wrong to claim our present circumstance—no matter how improved—as the redemption for the lives of people who never asked for the posthumous, untouchable glory of dying for their children. Our triumphs can never compensate for this" (70).

In the current section of Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates continues mentioning his forma and informal education at the Mecca. He also discusses relationships, and the lessons he gained in those. And as the above quotation reveals, he is still passing along lessons to his son about history and power. 

What's something in particular that you found important or useful from the section? Why? Please provide a page number.

14 comments:

Jessie Carter said...

On pages 54-55, The author speaks about taking a class about central Africa. He said, "But when she told the story of Nzinga conducting negotiations upon the woman's back, she told it without any fantastic gloss, and it hit me hard as a sucker punch:..." He goes on to talk about classes he took about Europe, and came to the conclusion that being black could just be someone at the bottom, or someone turned to an object. This stood out to me because it actually opened my eyes to the fact; which is something i knew but never thought to accept. That not all black people, or people in general, are Kings/Queens.

Robert F said...

The author talked about his first personal relationship with white people on page 62. How they dropped their presumptions and seen him for his ability to write and knowledge. This is important because many presumptions made against others lead to negative relationships. When neither race see color, we can collaborate and create something positive for everyone. Seeing further than color allowed for many opportunities and positions of power in the community as he rose in the social ladder through the power of journalism.

Roland Wooters said...

I really enjoyed his discussion about the yard at Howard University, and how he was exposed to so many different groups of black people. On page 41 he talked about the Nigerian students who interacted with the American students, the Californian girls who converted to Muslim faith, and even mathematical geniuses. I found this vital, in order to expose the many facets of the black community. Also, I loved how he described his first personal interaction with white people on page 62. He talked about how they did not categorize him as another statistic, and actually valued his intelligence and talent - truly inspiring.

Joey Norwood II said...

The quote on page 62 was very useful and interesting in my opinion. "when the young are killed, they are haloed by all that was possible". When young people are killed, their potential is buried alongside them. Future doctors, lawyers, and teachers careers, are all ended in flash before they even began. With all the numerous problem in the world it's quite unsettling that we've probably buried the solution.

Joey Norwood II

Trion T. said...

On page 62, When he talked about how black people controlled their bodies in the club as if they could do anything even though externally they really couldn't control their bodies and what happened to them, it resonated with me. It resonated because I like to think that I am in total control of my own fate and what happens to me. But especially now, with all that's going on in society, I am not. So the passage just made think that I don't have to be in control of every aspect of my life, but I can try to steer it along with the choices I make everyday.

Brian Green said...

On pages 61-62, Ta-Nehisi Coates talks about how he was taught love in new ways at The Mecca. He woke up with a headache, and as he was going in for work, a girl approached him, and gave him Advil. This particular part was important because he was always taught to not be soft, and love was an at of heroism. I believe that she showed him another side of love and being caring to anyone in need. He never had anyone show him love because where he lived he was taught not to be soft or fear anything. I think that this was a turning point in Ta-Nehish's life in a positive way. I believe that he would not have known this different side of love and care if she did not give him the medicine.

Wole A said...

I found it very interesting on page 62 when the author talked about how free and invincible black people were when they were in the clubs dancing. He discussed how it was totally opposite when they were outside the club they were subject to violence. This is an issue we face now but, sadly violence has even crept into the clubs. The feeling the invincibility is slowly fading away.

Rodrick Robins said...

Something that struck me as interesting and useful was on page 67, when Ta-Henisi spoke about him passing the threshold from foyer to living room, from living for himself to living for his child. I thought it was interesting how he deemed his son-to-be the "God I'd never had..." The fact that he finally had something to live for, more important than himself, blows my mind. He finally has to protect his body not just because of his own self value, but because of his son. The passage was a quick but deep insight into what parenthood means: sacrifice and commitment.

Barry F. said...

While reading this section, I found pages 70-71 very intriguing and a significant part I believe. During these pages, he is talking directly to his son and getting personal. While talking about slavery, Coates says, "Never forget that for 250 years black people were born into chains--whole generations followed by more generations who knew nothing but chains"(70). This is something many people forget--that we were enslaved longer than we have been free. It is important for our generation to learn about our past so we can pass on the knowledge to our children.

Jamal Sims said...

On the page 62, Coates gave a very vivid example of how captivated he was by the black people dancing in the club. He elaborated about how free and how effortless they moved and how their bodies could do anything on the dance floor. However, in the society we live in, they sometimes don’t have control of their bodies. “On the outside, black people control nothing, least of all the fate of their bodies, which could be commandeered by the police; which could be erased by the guns…” That example provided by Coates really displayed the prejudices that still linger in society today.

Isaiah B said...

On page 69, Coates refers to an old rule he learned growing up. He emphasized the importance of standing together as a group, whether you are fighting or running away. "None of us were promised to end the fight on our feet, fists raised to the sky. We could not control our enemies' number, strength, nor weaponry. Sometimes you just caught a bad one. But whether you fought or ran, you did it together, because that is the part that was in our control." He goes on to say that we must never willingly give up our bodies or the bodies of our friends. This stood out to me because I think that we are starting to move away from this concept. Living in an individualistic culture, many people are usually only looking out for themselves.

Kaine C. said...

"Perhaps being named "black" had nothing to do with any of this; perhaps being named "black" was just someone's name for being at the bottom, a human turned to object, object turned to pariah."
I found this important because this is his realization and it is hard for him to handle. This shouldn't be his realization. He needs to think higher of himself.

Emmanuel Ogunbode said...

The thing that stood out to me was how Coates spoke of learning to love at the Mecca. On page 62 he said this was a different type of love that was taught by a simple act of a woman giving him medicine because he was experiencing a headache. This was something that he was not at all used to. I believe that it showed him a softer and more caring side to humanity that he did not even know existed, but it was an experience that he needed in order to learn how to love others in return.

Jeremiah B. said...

In his Howard days, Coates encountered a female from California that used to wear scarves and long dresses. He once told her, "Nigga, you black," after she had returned from a trip to India. He had not quite understood at this point in his life how to hold lineages of other worlds. I thought this was interesting because there is never a set definition of what it means to be black and Coates was starting to realize it at this point.