"Between the World and Me" is a book-length essay by Ta-Nehisi Coates, dealing with the author's upbringing as an African-American man, and with the contemporary important issue of the deaths of young African-American men in police and vigilante killings. The book is written in the second person, being addressed to his teenage son.

I am in a somewhat difficult position in critiquing this book, because any difficulties I have with the book's message could be ascribed to the fact that I am not the book's target market: that if a white man raised in the rural and suburban Pacific Northwest can't understand the work of an African-American man raised in Baltimore, than the fault is on my side. That being said, although I did find his language stirring and his description of his experiences valuable, I was unclear about what his central thesis or idea was. He does consistently use certain language to describe situations, such as referring to the "black body", and contrasting this to "the Dreamers", the mainstream of white America. He doesn't explicate the point though, and while it might be that he is contrasting the immediacy of black experience with the abstraction of white existence, it is not a point that he adds anything to. He also skips from subject to subject, and sometimes doesn't address issues he himself brings up. For example, he does talk about the history of brutality in the black-led Prince George police force, but never ties this instance of violence by a black police force into his overall argument about racism.

I think that my problem with this book is that while something is happening in the United States right now, even the level at what it is happening is not yet understood. the Black Lives Matter movement started on twitter and tumblr, and spread in ways outside of conventional media. Even a forward-looking journalist like Ta-Nehisi Coates might be too close to the media he grew up in to totally capture the movement he is trying to be a spokesman for.

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