Comparative Analysis Of Narrative Of A Life Of Frederick Douglass By Frederick Douglass And Between The World And Me By Ta-Nehisi Coates
Coates starts off the book by showing his audience that he is writing a letter to his son “Samori. ” Coats tells his son that he was asked a question, the question was “What does it mean to lose your body? ” Coats clearly says it’s because of “Looting and Violence”Coats and Douglass were both trying to educate certain people. In Douglass’s case, he was trying to educate the Northern Americans on slavery. Coats is trying to educate the world of white people about his views on racism and American history. In the text Black bodies are a really high target. By reading both books they both show that racism is an emotional experience. Black men and women were beaten, shackled, called names,etc.
Now us Blacks have to go through police brutality and shootings that isn’t necessary. The fact that us blacks get scared for being pulled over because we feel like today could be our last day alive, there is no telling what the police will do to you. Coates talks about the legacy of slavery. He also speaks on how many black folks are incarcerated. It’s crazy how many black folks are in prison nowadays. Majority of the prisons are filled with blacks. When Coats speaks on the people who were enslaved Coats gets personal with it. America had the most brutal way of slavery. America became America from the Black bodies. Coats point of mentioning the slaves is that he wants the world to know that they were human beings just like the white people were. We were no different then they were the only difference was our skin color and culture. It’s crazy how white folks hated the blacks so much but tried to steal our culture and make it their own. Coates is not optimistic or hopeful about things changing in America. He tells Samori that he must continue to struggle every day. He must not let his guard down or become satisfied. He must fully confront himself as a Black man in contemporary America even if it is difficult and senseless at times. The struggle is what makes life bearable, it keeps a person stable and grounded in a world that is unpredictable and heartless towards black people. The struggle can be reduced by the study of black intellectuals as well as the embrace of one’s community of black men and women.
A common theme in this book and in a Narrative of A Life of Frederick Douglass is the racial divide that exists in America. From early American history when blacks were enslaved to the present day in which black bodies are under constant surveillance and threat, white society has consistently denied the humanity of blacks in order to maintain its “Dream. ” One of the main distinctions Coates makes is that racism gave birth to race, not the other way around. Race is something to which absolute reality is blurry. White people are not actually white but rather they think they are white because it gives them their power and privilege. This week Coates’s son learned the killers of Michael Brown would go free. He heard the jury’s decision and went to his room and cried. Coates could not comfort him, but only tell him he must find a way to live in it all. This world is goal oriented and full of big ideas, but Coates has never ascribed to magic or religion. His big question how do I live freely in this black body? Can only be answered by his reading and writing. He remembers how one day he saw a group of older boys yelling at a younger boy his own age, and this was a war for the boy’s body. He saw the boy pull out a gun and realized for the first time that his own body could be ended in an instant. He knew that there were places where boys did not fear for their lives. He obsessed over the space between their world and his own. It seemed like an unfair outcome, an profound cruelty. He speaks of the black writers who influenced him in a way that suggests family (he calls them his “ancestors” and lovingly details their infighting).
Family and community are essential to maintaining the struggle. Family is really all you got when it comes to a real struggle. In Douglass’s point of view, family is not his escape from the struggle. The worst thing about slavery to Douglass’s mind is that it prevents people from improving themselves through education. Slavery and education are completely opposite things. He works towards making himself free by expanding his horizons through reading. He still has to physically escape, of course, but it’s his education that gives him the strength of will to make it happen.
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