The Streets That Raised Me Analysis

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The Streets that Raised Me
In his book, Between the World and Me, Ta- Nehisi Coates describes his life growing up the ghettos of Baltimore. Paul Coelho once wrote, “I can control my destiny, but not my fate. Destiny means there are opportunities to turn right or left, but fate is a one-way street. I believe we all have the choice as to whether we fulfil our destiny, but our fate is sealed.” Ta-Nehisi Coates struggled to survive in an environment that was designed for him to fail. He struggled with the idea of a formal education inside the classroom. Coates also struggled with the daily protection of body in the violent streets of Baltimore. Yet, through independent study, Coates was able to change his dynamics of life. Ta-Nehisi did not allow
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He did not have the luxury of being open-minded and carefree, he was constantly on guard twenty-four-seven against the gangs and violence that surrounded him in his hometown. He writes about witnessing various forms of violence, from men fighting on the streets to senseless acts of violence. Coates describes one moment in particular where his body was in jeopardy, “There the boy stood, with the gun brandished…in his small eyes I saw a surging rage that could, in an instant, erase my body. That was 1986…the boy with small eyes stood across from me holding my entire body in his small hands…He did not shoot. He had affirmed my place in the order of things. He had let it be known how easily I could be selected.” (pg.19) That day, Ta-Nehisi Coates, who at the time was only eleven years, could have become a victim to a senseless act of violence. He then goes on to say protecting his body was his highest priority during his adolescents. The environment young Coates’s mind was subjected, is now a lifestyle glamorized in mass media today. In her essay gangster culture Bell Hooks writes, “After all, why waste your life working at a job you hate, getting paid next to nothing, when you make more money with half the effort. So, a new class is created, the hustler who gambles, runs numbers, pushes drugs, lives off women, and does anything to avoid going to “meet the man” five days a week, year in and year out. It is dangerous, rough, and a none too beautiful life, but it has some compensation: A modicum of self respect of a good segment of this community is gained.” (pg. 19) Ta- Nehisi Coates could have easily fallen victim to the “gansta culture” lifestyle, not working for the man everyday and being his own boss. Yet, he repelled against the allure of his gangster environment and sought out more for his

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