“So I feared not just the violence of this world but the rules designed to protect you from it, the rules that would have you contort your body to address the block, and contort again to be taken seriously by colleagues, and contort again so as not to give the police a reason. All my life I’d heard people tell their black boys and black girls to “be twice as good,” which is to say “accept half as much.” These words would be spoken with a veneer of religious nobility, as though they evidenced some unspoken quality, some undetected courage, when in fact all they evidenced was the gun to our head and the hand in our pocket. This is how we lose our softness. This is how they steal our right to smile.”
― Ta-Nehisi Coates,
I finished reading this book a while ago. It was powerful, calm and endearing a fathers’s understanding of the world as he bestows his knowledge to his son. Though their worlds are slightly different it was something that made me really think about America. America and the human experience beyond race, but a part of America will always be bound by race as it is a part of the history the bricks that built our nation.
After having the opportunity to digest the book my only wish is that I can be half as articulate when it comes time to explain things to my daughter. I find that Ta-Nehisi Coates story is similar to my own. I relate to the inner struggle and battle for identity as a city kid. Though I did not grow up in Baltimore, I understand the plight of an inner city black male. I know all too well the vices and devices we use to navigate the truth in of the streets and reconcile the truth in education.
I hope that you take some solace in the quote. Let me know how it reaches you? I am reminded of the song Crack music by Kanye West feat. Game as it describes some of the struggle and journey,