When I read over the section of the book where he discusses his time in France, I responded by thinking of how much Americans really know about anything outside the USA. He seemed like a typical person, he didn't really know much about anything outside of the U.S. and he is scared. I responded like this because it seems like many Americans are like this, scared of something they don't know or understand.
What stuck out to me was the feeling of in strangement and unbelonging that the author felt his first couple days in France. A conversation some friends and I had a while back was that the black man has no place in any of the world. Whether in America or Africa or in the Caribbean, there's nowhere where we belong or feel safe. I think the author realized this for the first time during his first couple days in Paris.
What stood out to me was how similar of a situation I felt as a child traveling to different aspects of the United States. However, I am sure his situation was magnified. There is a certain form of unfamiliarity in traveling to foreign places - even place that are in the same country. His situation was tripled in ambiguity since he was a black man in France - I could only imagine.
When the author discusses on page (124) how he feels that he is in another persons country but still out side of their country stood out to me the most. It showed how little he viewed himself and how being in new territory lessens a persons boldness. I feel that whether he was in his home country or in a foreign land he still felt that he didnt belong.
Coates mentions that he was told to "make the race proud" while on his visit to France. This resonates wit me because as an African AMerican I feel that there is so much pressure on us to succeed at what we do because no one expects much of us. Especially if we don't conform to what white culture says we should look and sound like. If you are to maintain your culture as a black person you must always excel and never fail or you have proven society right.Jeremy H.
The part that stood out to me the most was the fact that Coates felt so out of place when he got to this new territory and I thought back, remembering how he described this out of place feeling at his home as well. So for him I don't think that "location" was the cause of him feeling so uncomfortable but I believe that it took for him to find and understand himself before he could feel comfortable anywhere.
Coates felt like he was out of sort when he was in France because he still had that feeling of fear inside of him from his town. France was a country of having no fear, but Coates had the instincts to still watch over his back, and always be ready to go. This feeling he had never affected his stay. I think that this feeling is normal for him because he is accustomed to being stop by the police or someone else. Also, his race and culture was drastically different than in France, and he did not really get that he was in another country for the first couple of days.
The part that I responded too was when he met a new friend and the friend offered to show him around. I just found it very familiar that he responded the way he did with feelings of mistrust. Even though he was in this beautiful city surrounded by beautiful things, he still allowed those feelings to surface in thinking that the man might be setting him up. I do this sometimes too. Even though everything points to this being a decent person or this being a safe place I still feel on guard and sometimes cant even enjoy myself.
One of the most notable things in this section for me was when Coates said that we aren't bound to a physical feature. We are instead bound by the a thing he calls the "Dream". A "Dream" that is shared partially all the people we come into contact with in all the worlds we are a part of. I agree with the point that he was trying to make here but, I still feel that most people still interpret their race and physical appearance as the only world they are a part of.
In this section he spoke of how the new environment was foreign, but at the same time he still had the same feelings he felt back home engraved in him. He was always on edge, no matter where he was and expected the worst out of people. This section shows how society in America can condition a black man\woman to feel this constant fear. What the author wrote on these pages depicts the feeling that many feel for being black and living in America. The author is plainly stating the internal struggle of many people in the black culture in America feel everyday.
The most notable section of the author's explanation of his time in France was his description of the park. His verbal illustration of the sights and sounds of the park made France seem really inviting. It's important to travel and experience other cultures outside the United States.Joey N.
In this section what stood out was how Coates explained that he was always on edge, even when he traveled to France. He still felt distrust and fear even though he had no reason to, except that in his own country that is how black men and women are raised to feel. He then described a care-free lifestyle of the french, and he realized that he felt out of place because he couldn't feel the same way that they do. The author seen with his own eyes, his blinded, Baltimore made eyes, the difference in his home and France.
On page 126, Ta-Nehisi Coates describes one of his walks through Paris after making a new friend at a café and how he didn’t fully trust the stranger because of his previous experiences. “And watching him walk away, I felt that I had missed part of the experience because of my eyes, because my eyes were made in Baltimore, because my eyes were blindfolded by fear.” I think that this happens to us a lot, we miss out of the chance to make good memories or have fun experiences. Instead, we are too busy watching people since that is reality that we have been exposed to.
When reading through this section of the book, it reminded me when I went overseas to Nepal. He didn't know much about France so he didn't feel like he belonged, although he did make the best out of his experience while in Paris. Soon as I stepped off the plane In Kathmandu, I felt way out of my element. Everyone looks different and I knew no Nepalese. Especially being a black man, it is hard trying to fit in somewhere we are not native to.
While reading this section, it reminded me about my time in France. I was so scared, intimidated by the culture because it was all so new to me; however I loved every second of it. I really took note of when he elaborated on the "care-free" lifestyle of the French. He really made the country seem so attractive and so different from the United States.
I actually like this apart a lot as I have been out of the country twice now. My mother thought very similar to Cortes and made sure I saw more of what the world had to offer. For the most part it is a sort of unnerving feeling but also there is sense of freedom strangely. Racism is so ingrained in our society you hardly notice it sometimes until you step back from it so me leaving the country was a much needed breath of fresh air so to speak.
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