Coates was born in 1975. During his childhood and youth, his father forced him to study the history of the blacks. He spent most of his time listening to music and tried to compose his own songs. Coates curiosity about words opened up his eyes when he was at the age of twelve.
Ta- Nehasi Coates is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle and a national correspondent for Atlantic. At one point of his life, he won many awards including the national magazine award and the Hilman Prize for opinion and analysis journalism.
The book Between the World and Me, addresses the problems faced by the African-Americans in the United States. It discusses how the blacks are exploited by the whites and are used to create their countries wealth (Coates 15). The issue of segregation is brought out clearly, and the writer argues that even today the blacks still face the same problems because they are threatened and even killed. Coates shows how hard it is to live as a black in the US. His intention of writing the book is to answer the questions he had about the challenges the blacks face. He writes the book in the form of a letter dedicating it to his son to help educate him with some of the most recent problems.
During his education, Coates had supportive parents who could even decide to spend their time in class with him and could even attend his classes whenever they felt it was necessary. The school that Coates was enrolled did not have enough facilities, but teachers could force students to understand what they said, and they did that by telling the students to stop wasting their chances (Coates 47). The school concentrated so much on girls, styling, clothes, and music. His English teacher was not in good terms with him and every time they had a disagreement; his father could come and beat him up in school as a way of punishing him.
In his book, Coates has named his son after the Islamic ruler who resisted the French. He named his son Samori Ture to symbolize that the struggle was upon him and life was a struggle (Coates 25). While he was a student, Coates could only associate with the blacks who were always filled with fear. He grew in an environment where people were terrified, and he tells his son that he had experienced the fear throughout his life from when he was still young.
Fear was in all paths of his life starting from the school, in the neighborhoods and also at home. He saw fear in his father. Coates says that he could feel fear when he sees them after school in their Reeboks earrings off and leaped to each other and he meant the white children in school (Coates 101). He asserts that he could find himself in a French class although he failed to know the reason he was there as he did not know anyone, let alone understanding anything from the class. The teachers were not ready to answer such questions and almost all his questions remained unanswered. His teachers put their efforts in other things which were not class work and never cared whether the students understood the content.
In streets, at home, he could see the people living around being filled with fear. The blacks were always threatened and so many of them locked up. Others were even subjected to slavery and some being killed by the police officers who took the law into their hands. The streets were the worst place to be since one witnessed so many injustices and at one point he said that his father could beat him up whenever he left home as if he was going to be stolen in the next minute. It shows that children were stolen from the streets; an act which instilled fear in people (Coates 110).
The school was never concerned in nurturing people like him who were curious and only concerned with compliance a situation where they could accept anything offered to them by teachers whether true or lies (Coates 101). The idea instilled in him hatred towards teachers who were teaching him though he loved some. He never trusted any teacher for that reason, and he always thought that they were being lied to because the system was like imposing things on the student.
Education played a bigger role in his life. Through education, he got learn not to trust anyone. It was in school that he found out that most educational institutions were hiding some things from the student and always covered themselves with morality in such a way that students could not feel that something was going wrong. He also realized that schools never revealed the truth but hid it from the student (Coates 25).
The school was also another reason he was more curious and sharp since his father had taught him how to write as well as read in his early age (Coates 77). He became more knowledgeable and sometimes he would answer so many questions of which he did perfectly. School life shaped him as well as his father since he was his discipline master whenever he was in the wrong. Coates portrayed exemplary writing skills by giving a series of responses to so many questions according to how he spent the day in school. By answering as many questions as he could and perfectly, he learned that his father wanted him to be interrogative and that is what pushed him to become curious. His desire to know everything around him has always been deeply rooted in his soul. He learned so much at home from his parents, especially the father who always wanted him to be enquiring. This was fundamental as it helped him develop the desire to delve in-depth into the things he pursued.
At home when he had a question for his parents or something he wanted to know, his parents could refer him to books and was able to find answers by himself (Coates 77). That is how he learned his lessons, and that trained him the best ways of survival. The parents hardened him and made him think independently and avoid second-hand answers. As such, he has his way of getting answers to all his questions.
By learning to be independent Coates always did so much research. His home was always full of books about black people, and it gave him the opportunity to know who he was and the reason for all the injustices the black people were facing. The more he continued to read the books, the more his questions increased. Coats research one after the other just to get the answers to his questions. At one point in his research, he came across Malcolm whom he felt was straight forward and he never lied like the schools and the streets together with the dreamers world (Coates 125).
Coates asserts that Malcolm spoke freely and he admired that in him Malcolm spoke like a man who was free, like a black man above the laws that proscribe our imagination (Coates 148). He liked the idea that Malcolm never segregated and was against the injustices done to the black people by the whites and he firmly stood against it.
Through his education life, he interacted with the white children, and he was the witness of the injustices in schools. He had also seen it from the way the teachers acted towards the blacks which depicted their great hatred towards them. He suffered the pain of racism that came along with the segregation issue. It made him be in a good position to tell his son all about discrimination against the blacks since he was not telling lies, but talking from what he had experienced in the past. He had seen his father worried about him during school times because he knew what was happening between the two races.
Coates had felt the wrath the teachers had towards him where his father was the only savior because he used to come to punish him so that the teachers did not punish him. He was in a good position to explain things to his son. He had firsthand information about the violence, the segregation, racism and slavery problems the blacks faced. He waited for his son to reach the age where he saw things by himself so that when he was talking, his son could relate the current problems with the past.
Coates, Ta-Nehisi. Between The World And Me. 1st ed. Spiegel & Grau, 2015. Print.
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