Ta-Nehisi Coates' Ideas From Between the World and Me About Racial Inequality

In the excerpt taken from the novel Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates writes a letter to his son describing his experiences growing up as a black male in America and why his son’s experiences will probably mimic his own. Coates discusses his realization of what “being black in America” really means and uses this letter to make a strong point about race relations in America. Coates argues that to be black in America is to live by a certain set of unspoken rules.

Unfortunately, the acts of pillaging, violence, and oppression still exist. The issue of racial equality is a social barrier that the Americans are yet to overcome. The belief of white supremacy includes broad and broad sustained racial stereotypes and prejudice, and is a tool for whites to rationalize racial inequalities for centuries. Coates’s daily routine experiences highlight the prevailing phenomenon in society. Black history was inferior because they are inferior. “White” is the only visible spectrum.

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Everything that is white, matters.

Mass media like music videos, feature films, documentaries, and education resources consciously or unconsciously foster the belief in daily life. “And so the beauty of the black body was never celebrated in movies, on television shows, or in the textbooks, I’d seen as a child. Everyone of any import, from Jesus to George Washington, was white” (Coates, 12). Slavery has lapsed while the ideology of white supremacy deep-roots in the mind-set of people because educational institutions and mass media continually nurture our children what’s matters through racial color bias.

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Black people cannot share the same American dreams as their counterparts; white people indulge in the assurance of being white. People are so much convinced that whiteness promises power while blackness represents its very deprivation. Thus, it is no wonder even police departments have been endowed with the authority to “destroy” the black body. Racial inequality is an outgrowth of economic forces.

Capitalists need racial inferior to cheap the cost of labor. Racism emerges and flourishes for capitalists to obtain profit for white people. In American history, white employers are taking advantage of the black people -using them to force down wages and reduce strikes. Coates addresses that from the public to the private sectors, the entire infrastructure is built by black people. The African Americans built the Capitol and the National Mall. “At the onset of the Civil War, our stolen bodies were worth $4 billion, more than all of American industry, all of American railroads, workshops, and factories combined, and the prime product rendered by our stolen bodies -cotton-was American’s primary export” (Coates, 13).

The black labor force satisfies the requirement of economic development. The motive for the great Civil War is economic forces. Thus, we cannot advance the cause of racial justice without addressing the chasm that has opened up between the wealthy white people and black people in American society. In fact, because of such injustice oppression has left a significant amount of black presented at the bottom of America’s class hierarchy. The economic inequality has close relation with racial inequality. The oversimplified language, which answers the root cause of racial inequality, establishes new barriers in search of racial equality. Coates’s view reflects this phenomenon. He explains that the line between good and evil is drawn between white and black. Whites made the violence of the mean streets of West Baltimore. All moral failures by blacks are ultimately the fault of whites. The United States, in his view, is not a New Jerusalem, but an infernal entity.

Coates writes “”white America” is a syndicate arrayed to protect its exclusive power to dominate and control our bodies. Sometimes this power is direct (lynching), and sometimes it is insidious (redlining)…the power of domination and exclusion is central to the belief in being white…” (12) Under Coates’s article, we observe that the victims’ mentalities foster people to use oversimplified vocabulary to rationalize racial issues without exploring the root cause. It fabricates another form of racial issue. Thus, not all racial discrimination is produced by white people who are dominating rulers over racial oppression; black people, the victims, can create racial discrimination as well.

The oversimplified language to rationalize racial issues exists among white people as well. The color-blind racial ideology constructs another form of language, which is antipathy toward black people and justification for policies. In an article, Introduction: Has the United States Really Moved beyond Race?, it clearly explains that being racially color-blind is to be racially color mute. People believe that talking about race promotes racism, believe that discourse is the problem, and tend to escape from the reality of the problems: racist acts or behavior. “the myth of color-blind… (a) It prevents Whites from critically examining their racial beliefs and behaviors, (b) it exonerates them from complicit responsibility for obstructing the rights of groups of color, and (c) it allows them to continue their lives in innocence and naiveté” (Neville, 12). The above psychological mechanisms are the responses of self-protective and self-deceive.

People believe that race is to blame for racial discrimination and thus believe color blindness as a way to avoid this label. They fail to examine their bias and without inner inquiry, in the end, color-blind become the other side of racial discrimination. Coates speaks about his struggles, and this individual story of discrimination acts to discuss the intersectional nature of racial inequity. The social construction of oppression can easily become an umbrella of confusion if we only ponder the extensive breadth of it all. Instead, we should begin the conversation of discrimination with the root of society: the individual. The complexity of race issue cannot be explained by any single factor. Coates’ article creates this base of discussion and hints at the scope of intersectionality. To explore the causes of racial inequality of African America, we should understand — how people assert their identities and how does this inform the racial issue they care about? We should avoid simplified language. By avoiding language that assumes our own experiences are the baseline, we can open ourselves up to listening to others’ points of view.

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Ta-Nehisi Coates' Ideas From Between the World and Me About Racial Inequality. (2022, Oct 30). Retrieved from http://studymoose.com/ta-nehisi-coates-ideas-from-between-the-world-and-me-about-racial-inequality-essay

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