"The entire narrative of this country argues against the the truth of who you are" (99). --Ta-Nehisi CoatesThose were three notable quotations from the section we read. There were perhaps many more. How did you respond to one of those above comments and why? Or, identify a different, particularly notable comment from the section and explain why that sentiment caught your attention.
"In America, it is traditional to destroy the black body--it is heritage" (103). --Ta-Nehisi Coates
"I would not have you descend into your own dream. I would have you be a conscious citizen of this terrible and beautiful world" (108). --Ta-Nehisi Coates
Wednesday, October 28, 2015
Between the World and Me, Part II: (99 – 119)
[Between the World and Me]
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The second quote really spoke to my inner soul. Ta-Nehisi Coates gives an unoriginal view of what slavery, police brutality, rape, basically all out hatred towards to the black individual. Interestingly, he calls it heritage which signifies that American or "white" culture thrives on destroying the black body, which inherently destroys the inner soul.
Referring to page 104, Coates describes this as being a necessity, " it had to be blood." The ability for whites to break the black body is not an easy task, thus Coates says that it is part of their nature. This idea will continue to persist until the end of time because we all exist in the world.
The quotes given were interesting from the section, but the one that truly caught my attention is was when Nehisi said, "Your mother knew. Perhaps it was because she was raised within the physical borders of such a place, because she lived in proximity with the Dreamers" (116). This caught my attention because it reminded me of what choices my mother has made in her life. Although I come from a suburb from Chicago, my mother would have rather lived somewhere more rural to feel more at home. Because the way society raises people today; the suburban area has become more of a norm to raise a family, so she was swayed to live there rather than the place she actually wants to live. I found that interesting the way we look to other people to find our own standards.
I feel that the third quote stood out to me the most. The author explains that he would not allow his son to be trapped in his own natural naive thoughts of the world (our country more specifically). Instead he decides to teach his son of the dangers of the real world, especially towards a black male. He said that he would "have you be a conscious citizen of this terrible and beautiful world. " I definitely agree with this part of the quote as this is very important as a parent, to explain that the world can be both beautiful and terrible to you.
Ta-Nehisi Coates brings up many quotes that breaks down the current world and history to create a better understanding of reality, but what stood out to me the most is the above quote on page 103 saying "In America it is traditional to destroy the black body- it is heritage". The only reason why this stands out to me the most is because it is the most obvious. You can still see that blacks are still discriminated against and unfairly killed just like in the past. Although not in the same way, but an innocent death is and innocent death no matter how well you can argue against it.
Coates goes on to describe how people have covered the cause and effects of the civil war. He was obsessed with finding out more yet the information was never gone over in depth and neither was the reason it started. He also goes on to tell that the bodies of slaves were worth the more than the american industry."... In America, it is traditional to destroy the black body- it is heritage." This seems to relate all the way back to the beginning of the book where he mentions how the world became what it is today.
The second quote really speaks for itself essentially Coates saying that white people still profit off of us. It manifests in many forms along with the ever increasing cases of police brutality where officers get paid for murder and multimillionaires who owe their wealth to the slavery. It becomes so normal that they don't notice it when confronted on it. How videos of officers tossing around black girls becomes a prime time to debate if the girl brought it upon herself. It becomes so common place until you realize that the dehumanization of black bodies is a business.
The third quote definitely stood out to me the most. Ta-Nehisi explains how he wouldn't allow his son to be prisoner of his views on society. He instead decides to teach his son of the dangers of the real world and how to make it in society as a black male. He tells his son how the world is a beautiful place but it can be terrible. That's a life lesson I believe everyone should be taught. Everyone need to come to reality and see that the world isn't always a good place.
I connected with the second quote, "In America, it is traditional to destroy the black body--it is heritage." This one stuck out to me because in today's society it is rare to hear of an African American doing something good in the world. A lot of the times you hear about African American's starting riots and blowing things out of proportion. Media makes African Americans seem like monsters because they riot over unfair treatment. The only way for fair treatment to occur is to catch the unjust act on video, and even then it takes an amount of people to say that it is staged or fake and justice never occurs. The black body keeps getting destroyed and not matter how hard someone tries they can't build it back up.
The first quote on page 99 really struck me, and left me yearning to understand what exactly Coates meant by this. It all made sense to me once he started explaining "the Dream," or this idea made up by white jurisdiction, that projects the illusion that the heritage within the white culture is innocent. Even though I have long-known that there is more than enough guilt throughout white America's history, I have never viewed it through this perspective, or been able to view it so clearly. In this quote I think Coates was saying that America's past record has shown that they do not value black people, and view them as a simple body for work and money. Even further, he is saying that his son and every other black individual is much more than that, but you must be conscious of "the Dream" in order to realize it.
"In America, it is traditional to destroy the black body--it is heritage." This is powerful. It is powerful because it states the truth that a lot of non-black Americans pretend is fiction. My sister and I am always looking for the truth to our heritage, the missing piece; and we have learned a lot about black people in history that we never were taught in school. To be honest, I doubt my elementary school teachers even knew about all of the things that are eradicated from textbooks. It all ties into the oppressive norms that most people do not realize exist.
The second quote from page 99 stood out to me of the three quotes that were mentioned in the original post. This post is valid because, historically, we were constantly put down. When we were taken from our land and brought to America, we lost everything that could trace us back to where we come from specifically in Africa. We were forced to live under the culture of white America during slavery, for example, converting us to Christians. In more modern days, we have been through a civil rights movement, which was all about destroying us and keeping us separate. Even today, we are still being diminished, whether it be institutionally or through having less privilege than our white counterparts, among many other things.
The second quote is the one that stood out most to me because it I disagree with it. The word tradition, in my opinion carries a positive connotation usually affiliated with celebration or pride in cultural identity. The way Coates uses it satirically makes it seem as though we are celebrating an injustice. I do not believe America is just carrying on a tradition, I believe the racial issues that exist today are the major cause of the spread of racism today. Because while they while they are influenced by past events, they are not the same.
Another quote from the book that I also disagreed with was on page 102.
"But American reunion was built on a comfortable narrative that made enslavement into benevolence, white knights of body snatchers, and the mass slaughter of the war into a kind of sport in which one could conclude that both sides conducted their affairs with courage, honor, and Elan". I disagree with this statement because Coates is almost implying that we are glorifying the mistreatment that took place of African Americans. The war itself was important to the development of the Country. As with most wars discussed in a history class the focus is on the questions "why? What did it accomplish/change?". Also the war was greatly over the issue of abolishing slavery among other things. It is an example of how we as a country made a diversifying step in the right direction. Either positive or negative, it is history. The importance of learning history is to prevent ourselves from making the same mistakes. We can not change history but we have the option to decide how we let it influence us today. Honoring and spreading knowledge about past mistreatment is essential but it does no good to harbor resentment.
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