Bodies at Risk…
Author: Ta-Nehisi Coates
Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner and Michael Brown were never slaves. But in the end, they had no more right to control their bodies than any random cotton picker in Georgia circa 1800. That’s the essence of the argument Ta-Nehisi Coates makes in Between the World and Me, a remarkable extended essay written to his 14 year-old son, Samori.
Coates, an award-winning African-American journalist, grew up in Baltimore, frequently encountering gang and drug related violence from an early age. While he no longer faces the same daily dangers that he did in his youth, he still lives with the persistent apprehension that as a 40 year-old black man in America his body can be placed at the mercy of the authorities at any time.
At first glance, you may find the author’s opinions too extreme or exaggerated, but that’s why you need to read the book. I suspect that much of your reaction to his eloquent prose is going to depend on who you are. Black. White. Male. Female. Rich. Poor. Urban. Suburban. Father. Mother. I can only speak for myself, but this financially well off white father of two kids not much older than Samori, found Coates’ passionate and skillfully rendered arguments fully compelling.