Toni Morrison has called this book “required reading,” and I agree. Carved as a letter to his teenaged son, BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME explains why Ta-Nehisi Coates feels the way he feels and views the world the way he does. He is consumed by fear, rage, and above all, determination.
Given what he has experienced—from the violence in his West Baltimore neighborhood through the murder of an innocent college friend to the present-day litany of lost black lives—his perspective makes complete sense. I wish the world were different, and I am glad he has lifted his voice to it.
After it is announced that the killers of Michael Brown will not be indicted, Coates’s son says, “I’ve got to go,” and Coates finds him in his room, crying. He writes: “I did not tell you that it would be okay, because I have never believed it would be okay. What I told you is what your grandparents tried to tell me: that this is your country, that this is your world, that this is your body, and you must find some way to live within the all of it.”
This is the struggle, and the struggle continues.