Family Ties


My Family and Me On Move In Day at Colgate University

In the book Between the World and Me by Ta-Neshisi Coates, he discusses at one point that it makes him sad that his children feel the same pain and sorrows he feels. These pains and sorrows have to do with racisms. Because racism is still a current issue in the United States, people of all ages feel the adverse affect, which can result in fears as large as fear for their life. One reason that particularly struck me about this passage and Coates’ disappointment in learning his children feel the same as he did, is the fact that every parent wants their child to grow up in a better environment than they did. Parents always want what is best for their children and strive to do what they can to ensure the success of their kids. I know in my own personal experience, my parents always did what they could to assist me in my life in order to ensure my success. They always encouraged me to do well in school and to strive to be what I want to be. They also encouraged me to independent. I always found this very important. Don’t let people define who you are. Don’t let it affect how you live your life. But the fact that Coates sees his children dealing with the same problems he had to deal with growing up and even in the present day must be difficult to cope with. As a parent, it would be very concerning to watch a child have to grow up with an issue as large as racism burdening them as they face the every day challenges of simply growing up. This added burden seems to have an affect on the way the children mature. Because Coates acknowledges this in his book (page 21), it is clear that despite changes that have been made recently in attempt to reduce the amount of racism, not much as much progress has been made.  On another note, Coates’ quote “but race is the child of racism, not the father” also struck me (7). It has the same parent child theme in it. The way I interpreted this quote was that race is innocent, as a child; therefore it has not be affected, or, more severely, corrupted by life like a grown father has. Race is what is being attacked for no good reason. This part of the reading regarding the current status of racism particularly struck me and the conversation in class reiterating the importance of it made it clear that this is an important issue, not only for adults, but children as well.

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5 thoughts on “Family Ties

  1. […] This post is a response to this blog post. […]


  2. core152eray says:

    I hadn’t thought about the quote from Ta-Nehisi Coates’ book, “but race is the child of racism, not the father” (7), in the way which you did, but your reading of race as innocent resonated with me. When I read that line, I thought of race as the offspring of racism. Prior to the Age of Exploration and the Enlightenment, before the Western world imposed their systems of belief on other peoples and colonized foreign lands, people were not defined by their skin color. We only consider race as a defining feature of a human being today because the Europeans had to distinguish themselves from the “savages” somehow. Their racism, or belief that skin color signaled an inherent difference between peoples, led to the conceptualization of the races. When you interpreted the same quote, you read it as race being innocent. Therefore, racism must be the more experienced or corrupted than race. I hadn’t thought of it in this matter but it makes sense. Race is innocent since it relates to the genetic makeup of a person and does not inherently make one person lesser than another. Racism is corrupt because it took a physical characteristic and used it to divide people and deem one race superior to another. This interpretation of the quote relates to mine but also allows me to comprehend it from a different angle, so now I have multiple understandings of what Coates meant by this quote.


  3. ferguson152e says:

    One of the most frustrating things in today’s society is the fact that people believe we are living in a post racial world. People see a black president and famous black people and think “wow we have really developed as a country.” But Abigail is right; it is sad that Ta-Nehisi Coates’ child feels the same way that he did when he was younger. It is sad that my parents feel the exact same way as Coates. My parents have worked hard to give us access to resources that they did not have as a child. However, what I am beginning to learn is that no matter how many resources I have, I will still be a person of color that has to battle everyday prejudices and discriminations because of the color of my skin. The daily battles that my parents face, my brothers face, and people like me face is because of our race. Coates was absolutely correct when he says, “race is the child of racism, not the father” (Coates 7). Society made race a problem when they decided that it was okay to make someone else feel small and unimportant because their skin colors were different. The day I, my parents, my brothers, and everyone else that is a person of color can walk down the street and not worry about being harassed, frisked, or shot is the day when we will live in a post racial world. Until then, unfortunately racism is still alive.


  4. nalibyrd says:

    Abby offers a really powerful analysis of Coates novel and his feelings for growing up having to fear for the life of his own son as a result of the racism in the world today. I agree that is must be absolutely terrifying to be a parent and not have the security of promising your child a safe and long life. It makes think back to a few years ago when my younger brother was 11 began asking if he could walk to the ice cream shop just a few minutes away from my house with some of his friends. I remember my mom and dad discussing it in hushed tones behind their bedroom door. They ultimately came to the conclusion that they did not want him walking to the ice cream shop without an adult present and my brother was very mad. He argued that all of the other kids in school were always getting to walk places and hangout at malls without adults and he did not understand why he and his neighborhood friends were different. The fact of the matter is that my brother and his neighborhood friends are black and that entails a whole new string of threats and potential violence. As a parent, how are you going to tell an 11 year old, “I don’t feel safe with you walking along because the police might come up to you and harass you”. It is ridiculous that we do not live in a world where my parents should be able to feel safe allowing my brother and his friends to walk around alone, but that is the reality of the situation. I can only hope and pray, as Coates does in his novel, that in the future, hopefully before it is my time to have kids, the world is a safer place for all babies regardless of skin color.


  5. In this blog, Abby examines the writing of Ta-Neshisi Coates, and role that family plays within his works. In Coates’s book Between the World and Me, he explores race relations in America with the lens of a father. As Abby identifies, Coates has feelings of sorrow that his son has to grow up in a world where racism is as prevalent as it was when he was growing up. Every parents wants to make their children experience a better world than they did, and in this sense Coates seems unable to do this. In this sense, Coates’ reality seems like a break in the American Dream. As the idea goes, anyone who works hard and contributes to society, as Coates certainly has, should be able to better their life or the lives of those around them. However, because of the systematic racism that still exists in the United States, this dream has not been a reality for many African Americans. As we approach the 2016 Presidential elections, this has been a major theme among candidates. Candidates that believe the system is broken, such as Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, have received large amounts of support from Americans that believe that the political system no longer works for them. While I do not know who Coates plans on voting for, I think that his situation can be representative of what many Americans are feeling as we enter election season.


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