Butler, hoses and many others. Now they

Butler, George Yancy and Judith. “What’s Wrong With ‘All Lives
Matter’?” The
New York Times, The New York Times, 12 Jan. 2015, Judith Butler,

Coates, Ta-Nehisi, and Klaus Amann. Between the world and me.
Spiegel & Grau, 2015.

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“Dictionary by Merriam-Webster: America’s most-Trusted online
dictionary.” Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster, The American Dream, Web.

Works Cited



          In the NYT Interview with Judith Butler
the host states that, “In the wake of the recent killings of unarmed black men and
women by police, and the failure to prosecute the killers, the message being sent
to the black communities is that they don’t matter, that they are “disposable”‘
(Butler, Interview). This is what Coates fears for his son. He is afraid that one
day he will be walking down the street and for no reason get shot. According to
Coates, “And so that American might justify itself, the story of a black body’s
destruction must always begin with his or her error, real or imagined” (Coates 96).
Here Coates is telling us that whenever a black person is victimized, their body,
their life is put out for the world to debate and review. The policemen and angry
civilians out there are never held accountable. The messed up justice system always
implies that the black people are deserving of what happened to them and that’s
what becomes final. In situations like this there are so many double standards here
and Coates just wants the world to recognize that not only for his son but for the
Black Community.

          A very important component of the text Between the World and Me is that the
black body is constantly under threat. Throughout this book the big question
was “How do I live free in this black body?” In American history black men and
women were beaten, tortured, raped, arrested, strayed with toxic chemicals,
fire hoses and many others. Now they experience police brutality, being
unnecessarily shot, arrested on false accusations, etc. Being in a black body
means being in constant fear of disembodiment. Coates definition of
disembodiment “Disembodiment is a kind of terrorism, and the threat of it
alters the orbit of all our lives and, like terrorism, this distortion is
intentional. Disembodiment. The demon that pushed the middle-class black
survivors into aggressive passivity, our conversation restrained in public quarters,
our best manners on display, our hands never out of pockets, our whole manner
on ordered as if to say, “I make no sudden moves.” Disembodiment” (Coates,

          Coates tells us “I had thought that I
must mirror the outside world, create a carbon copy of white claims to
civilization. It was beginning to occur to me to question the logic of the
claim itself” (Coates, 50). As Coates began the transition from childhood to
adulthood at Howard University he began to discover that the things his eyes
changed when he was younger such as the Dream were not necessary or worth
changing. This is because The American Dream is impossible for black and brown
people to fully acquire, but he realized that the Dream is flawed and gives
false hope. Coates now being older understands that he didn’t need to covert
the dream because there needed to be a new one that’s less problematic. Black
and brown people shouldn’t have to change because they are being/have been
marginalized due to the fact that they have been set up to fail and struggle
but also because living in a black body in America has been a visceral

            A general definition of The American
Dream is a “happy way of living that is thought of by many Americans as something
that can be achieved by anyone in the U.S. especially by working hard and
becoming successful. You strive for good jobs, a nice house, two children, and
plenty of money” (Webster). This is what many White Americans strive for. Coates
definition of The American Dream is very different from this one. Coates states
that “I have seen the dream all my life. It is perfect houses with nice lawns.
It is Memorial Day cookouts, block associations, and driveways. The Dream is
treehouses and the Cub Scouts. The Dream smells like peppermint but tastes like
strawberry shortcake” (Coates, 12). Although this Dream sounds wonderful it was
created by white historians, and very accessible for whites but is built on the
mistreatment and suffering of blacks. Coates with such a sad voice states that
“for so long he wanted to escape into the Dream, fold my country over my head.
But this has never been an option because the Dream rests on the bedding made
from our bodies” (Coates, 12). Throughout the book Coates in never ashamed for have
a black body, but he would like to live more freely in his black body.

            Between the World and Me is a letter
to Ta-Nehisi Coates’s fifteen-year-old son, Samori. He entwines his personal,
historical, and intellectual development into a deeply thought out book on how
to live in a black body in America. Coates writes about his upbringing in the
ghettos of Baltimore in which he had to learn the “codes” of the streets to
survive. His father was hard on him, but now Coates understand that black parents
had to be hard on their children, so they wouldn’t lose them. To grow up black
in not only Baltimore but often all over the world meant being stigmatized as
poor, a thug, and many other things. In his lifetime, Coates saw how clearly
black bodies lacked value in America and could be destroyed at random. Coates
after doing much research knows that the destruction of the black body isn’t
just rooted in slavery but goes back to the Civil War, whites demoralizing Jim
Crow Laws, police brutality and racial profiling, and the creation of the
solely white based American Dream. This Dream is one of the main themes of this
book following The Black Body in America and Fear. Throughout this book
Ta-Nehisi uses the themes The American Dream, The Black Body and Fear to
uncover and reveal that racism in America is real and tell what it’s like to
live in America being black. 

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