Is becoming broken inevitable?

WHAT: “the belief in the preeminence of hue and hair, the notion that these factors can correctly organize a society and that they signify deeper attributes, which are indelible — this is the new idea at the heart of these new people who have been brought up hopelessly, tragically, deceitfully, to believe that they are white.” (24). Growing up in the United States has opened my eyes to the true race cage that confines our society, and the cage continues to grow stronger due to the past history that haunts our country. In this text, the main reason he is writing is to confirm to his son that not everything is going to be always be alright, and that being African American in the United States puts you at risk for receiving a broken body every single day. Coates chooses to write this letter to his son due to the overwhelming events that he has witnessed in his 15 years of living. From watching someones body become broken for selling cigarettes, to a woman getting shot for seeking help, and for seeing the very people who define our justice system beat Marlene Pinnock, who happens to be someone’s grandmother. Coates wanted to inform his son that despite how hard life is, and how broken ones body can become, “that this is your world, that this is your body, and you must find some way to live within the all of it.” (46). Coates also loved Malcolm because Malcolm never lied. He loved malcolm because he never tied his speeches with gods or other forces, but rather the real physical world. One particular important quote I indulged in was, “If you’re
black, you were born in jail” (159). This one sentence describes how race contributes to the organizational stereotypes our country has developed over time. Coates also disliked black history month due to the intimate violence of proof that whites are unrelated to blacks.


a) The school systems is one example that Coates uses to identify the hall pass through history. He speaks of two options that black Americans have availability to: the streets, or the education system. he speaks of the cruel pressure to succeed in both, and if you fail on the streets your body is at risk, or if you fail in the classroom you will end up back in the streets. Coates describes that no one would talk about how schools were designed to make kids fail, but they would talk about personal responsibility. Coates states It does not matter that the “intentions” of individual educators were noble. Forget about intentions. What any institution, or its agents, “intend” for you is secondary. Our world is physical. (142). This definitely reminds me of illich, and I would not be surprised if he retained some of his ideas from him.

b)The dream is living a great comfortable life as an American Citizen. Coates speaks of many wonders that he wish he could enjoy rather than be stuck in this race dominated society. he states “The Dream is treehouses and the Cub Scouts. The Dream smells like peppermint but tastes like strawberry shortcake. And for so long I have wanted to escape into the Dream, to fold my country over my head like a blanket. But this has never been an option because the Dream rests on our backs” (42). The dream that is conveyed at my community site is the need to be able to read, so they can become part of the normalized American system they believe to be apart of. The employees at this site are very disciplined upon how the kids progress, and finish their assignments. They tell the kids that thorough hard work, being able to become educated is just the beginning to a glorified life as an American.

NOW WHAT: Good intentions and the dream have definitely shaped who I am as a person and my ambitions in my life. Right now I am currently searching for what brings meaning to my life, and am struggling while in the process. One quote i found particularly interesting was, “I tell you now that the question of how one should live within a black body, within a country lost in the Dream, is the question of my life, and the pursuit of this question, I have found, ultimately answers itself.” (46). I currently am trying to find a way to live as a first generation college student, but i found that the answer is merely just to let fate become the answer itself, and not to question almost every single answer of my life and to just let the dream come into place.