Offer of Understanding

That’s how one reviewer explained his take on Ta-Nehisi Coates’ book, Between the World and Me.  I’ve come across this book several times at Child Welfare Law seminars as suggested “required reading”, my father purchased the book for me a couple of years ago encouraging me to read as “required reading”, and finally this week I sat down to read it. I was immediately drawn to Mr. Coates’ style of writing about his experiences living in America as a black man, people who think that they are white, and the “Dreamers”. I was eager to find out his “call to action” for all Americans to address the injustices facing black people living here.  But, as I got closer to the end of the book, I realized that there was not going to be a “call to action”, so why is this book “required reading”? 
I set out to read reviews in search of what I was missing from this book. Clifton’s review from August 2015 gave me what I was looking for: 
“I’ve never been shown and made to understand the experience of a life so unlike my own as I have with this book. I felt the frustration and fear that Mr. Coates felt growing up black in America. I felt the anger he feels at people who believe that they are white dismissing that experience as so many sour grapes. I felt the hypocrisy of being told not to wear hoodies or play loud music for fear of someone breaking your body. That’s why this book matters. It’s not a solution to our race problems or an accurate assessment of the progress of America as a nation. It is not a book about white people and how we should change. It is simply a powerful testament of one man’s experience, and an offering of understanding.”
Yes, Between the World and Me is required reading for all Americans as an “Offer of Understanding'”.

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