October 14, 2015

And you are here now, and you must live--and there is so much out there to live for, not just in someone else's country, but in your own home.

Between the World and Me
By Ta-Nehisi Coates

It feels pointless to blog any more excerpts, even though I could keep going. This book is remarkable & needs to be read in its entirety. 

I won't be forgetting about 'Prince Jones' anytime soon. In the last part of the book, Ta-Nehisi details his meeting with Prince Jones' mother, Mable Jones, and the entire section is gut-wrenching. 
"The thing to understand about Prince Jones is that he exhibited the whole of his given name. He was handsome. He was tall and brown, built thin and powerful like a wide receiver. He was the son of a prominent doctor. He was born-again, a state I did not share but respected. He was kind. Generosity radiated off him, and he seemed to have a facility with everyone and everything. This can never be true, but there are people who pull the illusion off without effort, and Prince was one of them. I can only say what I saw, what I felt. There are people whom we do not fully know, and yet they live in a warm place within us, and when they are plundered, when they lose their bodies and the dark energy disperses, that place becomes a wound."
(p. 64)

"She had never known her father, which put her in the company of the greater number of everyone I'd known. I felt then that these men--these "fathers"--were the greatest of cowards. But I also felt that the galaxy was playing with loaded dice, which ensured an excess of cowards in our ranks. The girl from Chicago understood this too, and she understood something more--that all are not equally robbed of their bodies, that the bodies of women are set out for pillage in ways I could never truly know. And she was the kind of black girl who'd been told as a child that she had better be smart because her looks wouldn't save her, and then told as a young woman that she was really pretty for a dark-skinned girl. And so there was, all about her, a knowledge of cosmic injustices, the same knowledge I'd glimpsed all those years ago watching my father reach for his belt, watching the suburban dispatches in my living room, watching the golden-haired boys with their toy trucks and football cards, and dimly perceiving the great barrier between the world and me." 
(p. 65)

"But you cannot arrange your life around them and the small chance of the Dreamers coming into consciousness. Our moment is too brief. Our bodies are too precious. And you are here now, and you must live--and there is so much out there to live for, not just in someone else's country, but in your own home. The warmth of dark energies that drew me to The Mecca, that drew out Prince Jones, the warmth of our particular world, is beautiful, no matter how brief and breakable."
(pp. 146-7)

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