About halfway through reading this book, I wrote this note:
“I cannot relate to this, through privilege, but it is raw and honest and powerful.”
I’ve not read a book that has moved me like this for a long time. I was right, I cannot relate to this book at all, my life has been so privileged that I have never even had to contemplate the things that Coates writes about.
But that is wrong. Why should I not have to know about these things that are ingrained in life for so many people. I may never have to experience them myself, but if I don’t know about them, how can I help to make sure no-one else has to experience them either?
The book is written as a letter to the author’s 15 year old son. It’s a heartbreaking letter taking us on a journey through the author’s life, through the awakenings he had about the history of race in America.
“You know now, if you didn’t before, that the police departments of your country have been endowed with the authority to destroy your body. “
I don’t really want to write much more, because my words don’t matter, the words of this book matter much more. It won’t be an easy read, you won’t feel comfortable (quite the opposite), but if you come from a life of privilege, it’s important. Don’t try to make excuses about the things you read, just listen.
The book is written in such a lyrical style with such passion and conviction that you will find yourself absorbed like I was, by the distant tales made personal within these pages.