Dear friend,

I spent quite some time trying to think about how I was going to write this letter, and I figured I would write this how I would write a blog post on my personal blog instead of trying to format it in a way that seemed too proper and formal. See, reading Coates’ book (part 2 for this week) reinforced the idea that racism is still well and alive in today’s world, and that the time period of segregation and inequality for the “colored” we read about in our history books is something that also happens in our present reality. I wasn’t oblivious to what was going around me, but the fact of the matter is that the privilege of not fearing for my life or fearing for police brutality makes the hardships of others a bit less pronounced than if it were personal and direct. Coates’ writes his book as a letter to his young son as a way to explain what it’s like growing up in a black body and his letter is incredibly personal and inspirational, but also eye-opening and thought-provoking. Many thoughts came to mind while I was reading Coates’ speak of a time when a white woman had pushed passed his young son and in the heat of the moment he had scolded the woman, and in return, a white man had yelled in her defense, “I could have you arrested!” This moment was when Coates’ was flooded with mixed emotions over the entire situation. He said that this was stating that the white people were almost saying, “We have control of your body.” First of all, I believe that any parent would have reacted in the same way, because I can recall a very similar moment in my own childhood that parallels this completely. To Coates, this was a defining moment in his life as it showed how much the black body is viewed as something of little value, and how he realized that in defending his son he was endangering him at the same time. Coates’ continues on by saying that, “But the price of error is higher for you than it is for your countrymen, and so that America might justify itself, the story of a black body’s destruction must always begin with his or her error, real or imagined — with Eric Garner’s anger, with Trayvon Martin’s mythical words (“You are gonna die tonight.”), with Sean Bell’s mistake of running with the wrong crowd, with me standing too close to the small-eyed boy pulling out.” He writes to his boy in fear of his life almost, because even when it wasn’t the boy’s fault, in the future, it will always end up being his fault. That’s not to be negative or accusatory, but with the amount of police brutalities occurring lately, we’ve already become desensitized to this destruction of the black body because it’s so constant, and the media and officers always aim the error towards the victim. Coates references all these males because they didn’t deserve to go out the way that they did, and that just by the color of their skin they were already a part of the negative stigma of being violent, unruly, whatever you want to call it. Use of force didn’t have to go this far but it did, and now these males are referenced in the past tense, as it ended with lives being taken too soon. Coates writes, “… our bodies have refinanced the Dream of being white. Black life is cheap, but in America black bodies are a natural resource of incomparable value.” The Dream was built on the foundation of slavery, dominance, violence. The Dream, emphasized and glorified, wasn’t ever intended for the black body as it seems. The Dream had a history of slavery and brutality but this history had been overshadowed by the constant need to work for the Dream when in reality, it only takes a little effort from those who are privileged. But on the other hand, it takes back-breaking effort from those in a colored body. I could be rambling and over-exaggerating, but it’s a reality that Coates portrays in his book. The past hasn’t changed if we’re still fighting for a single and solid view of an equal Dream. Forgetting is a habit but necessary in achieving the Dream, he says. And what happens when we as nation forget? History repeats itself.