Between The World and Me

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Student’s Name
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Between The World and Me
In the book, Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi offers a new approach through which
the American history of racial encounters and the current predicament on civil rights can be
understood. Americans have created a society of what an ideal race would look like. It is a false
construct, whose implications have damaging effects. The impact is felt mostly by the black
women and men, whose generations were exploited and taken advantage off during the era of
segregation and slavery. Today, their bodies have not been lucky either as they are locked up,
threatened, and even murdered out of the proportion of their large population. This is a history
that back bodies have reckoned with all through the entire American history. Their bodies have
been inhabited and the inhabitants have found ways to live within them. Coates, in his book,
shares his awakening story through a series of revelatory experiences, on his truth about the
American dream. The author makes a necessary statement of truth that bolsters his own
argument when he refers to a white America as a “dream”.
Coates illuminates the past, by shedding light on the American history, while at the same
time he bracingly confronts the modern day, and offers his audience with a transcendent vision
on what the future holds for the people. He borrows widely from his encounters as a black
adolescent and young adult black man in America. He presents what could be referred to as a
guide on how to survive as a young black American. Surprisingly, the book attracted a broad
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white readership and this creates ambiguity as he states in his book: “I didn’t set out to
accumulate a mass of white fans” (Coates 1). He states that the dream on a white America is
racist. Further, he suggests that the black life as discussed by the American media should be
discussed through the struggles that black women and men go through in the nation and have
experienced throughout the American history.
Coates description of a white America as a “dream” is aimed at separating the reality of
black Americans from the so-called dreamers. The dreamers believe in an American dream, one
that envisions an ideal family as one that is nuclear in nature, suburban, and white. He dismisses
the idea of an American dream that can be accessed by black people. He states that even though
he tried for quite long to escape the American dream, he discovered that that was not an option
as the dream rested on his back and those of other black people. Their bodies had been used to
make a bedding for the dream (Coates 11). Evidently, there is a veritable rift between the dream
and the black populace. The black Americans have become victims of the chasm that has been
created by this dream, it is their systematic aggressor.
Coatess condemnation does not entirely rest on a white American dream, rather, he
deliberately includes the dreamers and those that have ensured the continuity of this dream. In
Between the World and Me, he laments the burden and hardships of existing among people who
dream of a white America. He states, “People who nullify the anger and the fear of the black
experience in order to survive their own innocence (Coates 106). He clearly contrasts between
dreamers and non-dreamers. He illuminates what it means to live among prosecutors and draws a
clear distinction between the black and the white. He is concerned about how the dreamers use
the dream of a white America as a tool to delegitimize the black pain. They intentionally
preserve the rosiness of the dream as a justification of their actions to maintain their status quo.
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Coates disregards the chance that one day, the dreamers will “come into consciousness” (Coates
146). The white will never accept the struggles of black women and men. He says that they will
never “learn how to struggle” (Coates 151).
Coates’s viewpoint on the dream of a white America has been largely criticized with
critics insisting that indeed the Dream is real and still valid. David Brooks states that a sullied
dream cannot be a lie (Kakutani). He talks of a dream that is founded on equal opportunities for
all Americans, enhanced social mobility, and a democracy that is more perfect. He foresees a
perfect future that will be cherished more than the past. According to Brooks, the dream has
unleashed ennobling energies and the mobilization of social reform movements that are more
heroic (Kakutani). Brooks argues that the dream cannot be dissolved, not even under the
excessive acid of realism. He states that some of the dangers of doing away with such a dream
would be that generations will be trapped in the past. Consequently, the guiding star that shows
direction and guides people into a brighter future will be destroyed.
Brooks support on the American dream is unclear; the reader does not understand
whether productivity rises because the dream is a noble lie or meaningfully true. Outrightly,
Coates is right while Brooks is wrong as the dream on a white America is unfounded. The
universal application of the dream is untrue as it is not possible to guarantee equal opportunities
and social mobility for all. The ideal society that Brooks describes is not achievable. Based on
inheritance, this cannot be realized. During the era of slavery, as well as the reign of Jim Crow,
black people in America were locked out of opportunities to become prosperous. The impact is
still felt decades later, and massive inequality is still a reality even in the modern day. The wealth
gap between black Americans and the white people was very wide. The wealthier a parent is, the
more riches are transferred to children. Inheritance does not entail just money, but also social
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habits and access to quality education. This is the reason why poor kids with college
qualifications do worse compared to their rich counterparts who lack the degree. Hence, the
dream is in tatters as the injustices of the past will be carried forward into the future. This
supposition makes Brooks case on the dream ludicrous.
Overall, Coates is right when he dismisses the dream of a white America. He opposes the
dream by stating truthful facts based on the American history, specifically the experiences of
back Americans. However, instead of supporting the dream or the dreamers, he hopes that in
future, the reality of black victims living a worthy life that will be respectable will be realized.
He has high hopes for a future where it will be redundant to say that black men and women are
humans as the black victims will be humanized. America will not need authors like Coates Ta-
Nehisi to appreciate the black struggle and create a just system. Evidently, times have changed,
but the dream cannot be used by the whites to show that their current affluence is as a result of a
level and fair playing field.
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Works Cited
Coates, Ta-Nehisi. Between the world and me. Text publishing, 2015.
Kakutani, Michiko. "Review: In ‘Between The World And Me,’ Ta-Nehisi Coates Delivers A
Searing Dispatch To His Son". Nytimes.Com, 2015,
nehisi-coates-delivers-a-desperate-dispatch-to-his-son.html. Accessed 1 Aug 2018.

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