AN INDICTMENT OF RACIAL INEQUALITY
HT’s editors offer a book recommendation every Saturday, which provides history, context, and helps understand recent news events
The United States (US) has plunged into chaos. At the root of it is the horrific killing of George Floyd by a white police officer in Minneapolis. The incident has sparked protests across the country, with a nationwide spontaneous civil liberties movement asking for justice and reforms.
This week, we recommend Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. Written as a letter to his 15-year-old son, the book is a powerful and searing indictment of race in the US. Coates draws from his own childhood and adult life, and that of a friend who was killed by a policeman, to underline how deeply embedded racial prejudice is in the country. Coates has a clinical and deeply pessimistic outlook — of how the foundation of the US is white supremacy, and the degrading of the African-American body and experience, and how this will not change. He finds a way to depict the pain, the sadness, the rage at the injustice in his society in a deeply lyrical and poignant manner. As Toni Morrison said, with this book, Coates emerged as a true intellectual inheritor of James Baldwin.
Book: Between the World and Me Author: Ta-Nehisi Coates Year: 2015