Month: August 2015

Read this: Between the World and Me

“Here is what I would like for you to know: In America, it is traditional to destroy the black body—it is heritage.” I just finished Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me, and I have to agree with Toni Morrison’s review that this book “should be required reading” — for black and white people alike. Coates paints a powerful portrait of his life as a black man and the never-ending fear and mistrust–of the police, of the ghetto, of white people–that constantly accompanies those who inhabit America’s black bodies. This beautifully written, gut-wrenching book is a letter to the author’s son, who is 15 years old and upset about the lack of criminal charges for the killer of Michael Brown. Coates writes about this unfairness and the full weight of having a black body, what it meant for him growing up and what it means for him now as a father. Though his son was raised far from the mean streets of Baltimore where Coates grew up, he knows even that doesn’t protect him from the harsh realities of a white man’s world. …

White Privilege: Yes, you have it

  “I don’t have white privilege–I worked hard for everything I have.” It’s not uncommon to hear the argument from another white person that white privilege isn’t real. Some will deny it, claiming that they grew up poor in a house with eight hungry kids and never took a hand out. Some will say that they have never gotten a leg up in the world just for being white. But the simple truth is: yes you have. We all have. Simply having ivory skin has given us privilege beyond most of our understanding. Not realizing it is in itself part of white privilege: not having to think about it because that is just always how it has been. You and I have always been treated like we were white, because that is our reality. We have never had to think about what it would be like to be Black. We have been shielded from racial issues, and that’s why so many white people will also say that racism is no longer an issue: because we have never experienced institutional racism. …