Between the World and Me

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Ta-Nehisi Coates is obsessed with bodies, namely the destruction of black ones in America. He sees former lovers, his wife, slaves and the innocents who’ve unjustly died at the hands authorities, as bodies. Coates’ own body is his savior. He says that one-third of his brain has been preoccupied with avoiding violence to his body since his childhood on the streets of Baltimore, and he understands how much more he could have accomplished with this lost part of his brain. Howard University was “The Mecca” to Coates, where he first sees beyond “hues” and street names, and begins his search for answers in books. This is where he learns to love and to lose. Now a young father, Coates writes Between the World and Me as an extended letter to his 15-year-old son, Samori, whom he longs to prepare for, and protect from, a slanted society in which he must always remember to be “twice as good” as the man with paler skin standing next to him.