Toni Morrison reviewed this book and said that it is required reading. I agree.
It starts a conversation. It reflects the times in which we live. It allows a black man who grew up in America to talk about his experience with no interruptions. No one could stop him to say, “But, wait! I have plenty of black friends!” Between the World and Me gave Ta-Nehisi Coates‘ voice more freedom and gives us, the readers, one shoe into his life. However, it is clear that there are many more sides to him; sides that we are not provided with. But in his attempt to lend one shoe, his troubles are obvious.
As a woman who will, one day, bring brown babies to this world, it puts me in an emotional mental space. I’m sure other readers may have felt the same.
I didn’t agree with everything he said. Like, for example, he mentioned that black liberation hasn’t been provided through their own efforts — he must of forgot about the Haitian Revolution. He also writes about his confusion when black people want to forgive police brutality, but toward the ending pages he tells his son to “hope for them, pray for them” and that we “can’t stop them because they must ultimately stop themselves.”
It felt like a contradiction. He speaks highly of Malcolm X and how, as a young man, that was the voice he looked up to. But he ends with the idea of “hope for them, pray for them”? I found myself, at the end, confused at his purpose: Did he write it to tell us what we already knew? Did he write it to encourage us to “pray for them”? Or did he write it to empower us to stand up, demand what is ours and be unstoppable (as they have always done)?
At first I was excited because, I felt, finally we will read a text that isn’t politically correct. Although there were many truths in it, I found his choice of ending disappointing.