Essay on The Black Body, And The American Dream

1512 Words Oct 27th, 2016 7 Pages
While reflecting back on his experiences as a black male growing up in America, Ta-Nehisi Coates offers words of advice to his teenage son, Samori, in his newest novel Between the World and Me. Coates’ stories explore three central themes of racism in America, the black body, and the American Dream. Coates work is reflective of the work of other intersectional feminist scholars like Julia Sudbury, Jewel Woods, and Allan Johnson The systemic oppression of blacks through the school-to-prison pipeline and a broken criminal justice system make it impossible for white and black boys to be raised the same. The black body lives in constant fear of being plundered by this broken institution of “justice.” The American Dream is a fantasy for black families because of the exclusivity of white suburbia. Coates ties these three themes together seamlessly while telling the captivating tale of being raised in a country constantly working against him. Race, racism, and systemic oppression are themes that guide Coates’ discussion of other themes later in the novel. In just a few words, Coates explains his take on race and racism. “But race is the child of racism, not the father” (Coates 7). This quote is Coates saying that race is a social construct that was created so that racism could exist. He refers to white people as “people who think they are white” to continuously make the point that there is no inherent difference between blacks and whites. There can be no power structure based on…

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