Ta-Nehisi Coates - 'Between The World And Me' Reaction
This is not a review, but I had so many thoughts in my head after I read this book that I had to, at least, try and articulate and communicate some of them. It might sound like waffle to some, it may resonate strongly with others. I don't know. The only reasons I ever write a blog post is because I want to and I can. If you've read up to this point you may as well continue.
I have actually had people ask me 'why do you love being black so much?' and the reason is simple, because it is beautiful. Not to assert that I believe black skin is literally more beautiful than any other, but that our history, our struggle, our strength, our perseverance and our progression is beautiful. It is unparalleled.
I'm sure people will read this and feel an overwhelming sense of bemusement because they will wonder 'what struggle has your particular black body ever been through?' and I can honestly and happily answer with 'none really.' But I can only say this because millions of other black bodies have been plundered, lynched, shot down, tear gassed and incarcerated defending my right to have full control over my body. I understand and am under absolutely no illusion that my circumstances do not compare to those who have had the plight of safe guarding their bodies, since birth, for no other reason than the amount of melanin in their shells. But I also understand this is only because of geography. I am fortunate enough to be born in a time and a place where my black body is mine. My black body is no one's possession, my black body is for no one to buy or sell, my black body is for no one to rape or abuse, my black body is no one's but my own and for this I am eternally grateful. But I also understand that with all of this being so, in essence, ultimately, I can not deny that my black body is no different, no more important and no more significant than any other. And with this fact I have no choice but to feel compelled to empathise with and advocate for all the other black bodies who do not share my privileges.
Please understand that when you hear or see us (and by 'us' I mean anyone who inhabits a black body) ranting or raving, getting angry or frustrated, it is because at that particular moment, deep down, beneath all the false valour, we are concealing a fear. A fear of the prospect that one day, like many others before us, we may lose control and be forced to relinquish all power over our bodies to a plunder that we have always worried we can not prevent. We ourselves often fail to realise where this rage manifests from, so please excuse us if we are unable to articulate accurately what we mean and please excuse us if we can not to help you (and by 'you' I mean anyone who does not share this fear) discern this rage, because we still, after all these years, after all of these strides, after all of our advancements, have so far to go.
My intention with this is not to cause any controversy (although I'm aware of the likelihood that may happen), or to start any arguments (intelligent conversation is however encouraged) it is just that after reading this magnificent book, my heart is simultaneously aching and at ease. This book is proof that all of my thoughts about my black body are not just mere delusions, which is somewhat gratifying, but it is also means that this is my reality which makes me despondent.
I wish this wasn't even a thing to talk about. I wish equality was real. I wish the colour of a person's skin had no bearing on the quality of their life, but sadly it does and all we can do is our best.