“Between the World and Me” – Ta-Nehisi Coates

I’ve been wanting to read this book for a long time, and finally found the time to do so at the end of 2020. Wow! What an insightful read! I’m glad I got to experience it.

Based on reviews and comments about this popular book, one might go into reading it expecting an intellectual conversation about the history of race and racism in America. I was however enthralled by an intensely emotional and honest telling of a personal narrative. Even though the story is of an individual, I couldn’t help but think about the countless human stories similar to this one, having been lived and is being lived out every day, some perhaps more tragic. I also found myself comparing the story with how I grew up and found my ways in the world, and how different my experiences and thus perspective are. Yet there is a common humanity in the personal struggles and the human emotions that I could relate to and recognize. That is the lesson I took away from the book – while the conversation about race and racism is often explored through the lens of rationality and morality, it is first and foremost a lived experience, and one filled with intense and personal feelings and memories.

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