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FearAnd Violence: Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Book Between The World and Me
Ta-Nehisi Coates’sbook Between the World and me offers a clear understanding ofhow fear can make people participate in dreadful behaviors ofviolence towards each other, question the right of other people’sexistence, as well as violate the freedom of others. This paperpresents Coates’s display of the relationship between fear andviolence by giving a description of how the black men and women suchas Malcolm X and Prince Jones suffer at the hands of police officerswho are supposed to protect them. Therefore, the white people beliefthat the black people are a hostile population makes them toreact to that fear by use of police killings and brutality
These policeofficers go unprosecuted at the end, and for this reason, thesereactions instill more fear and anger on the black people. The fearof what will happen next makes them defend by acting in violent ways,engaging in street gangs, speaking violent language, and even wearingattires that displays fear, not knowing that they are endangeringtheir lives. The whites are also overwhelmed with fear, the ar thatthe blacks can harm them. Coates (97) describes how useless it is toarm his son with the positive values, good education, and rightbehaviors because when he is on the streets, no one will notice thosegood traits. The only noticeable thing is his skin color, that makeshim susceptible to not only the police attacks but also to trip wiredground, toxic air, violence, as well polluted water. Black childrenwere taken to school not as a means of getting a good education butas a getaway for penal housing and death. He stated that his fatherbeat him up for allowing another boy to steal from him, and he alsofaced punishment for being a threat to his teacher. He mentions thathis father acted in that way because the white people placed theblack in a position where they believed that too much violence was adanger to their bodies and lack of enough violence could also costtheir body.
The blacks wereforced to live in fear. Compliant black people were also subjectedto battery, rape, assault, and extermination (Adams et al., 529).Coates (39) tells his son that all racial phrases such as racialjustice, race relations, racial profiling, white supremacy, whiteprivilege, and racial chasm act to conceal the truth that race is adeep-rooted experience that block airways, extracts organs, dislodgesbrains, cracks bones, rips muscles, as well as breaks teeth.According to Coates (221), the destruction of a black body is nothingbut a tradition in the American culture. The schools and the streetsshared the same characteristics.
The admiration Coates had for Malcolm X added some complexity to howfear is related to violence .Coates (35) admired Malcolm’sintelligence, control, and how he acted without fear. He wanted to belike him, beyond the fear. Malcolm urged the black population topreserve the beauty of their lives and restrain from giving up theirlives for fear of brutality or death. Malcolm called for black peopleto understand that their lives and bodies equaled the lives of thosewho believed to be white. Malcolm believed that black is beautifuland black people should not be lost in the world of bleaching andplastic surgeries. The relationship between fear and violence wasdescribed by the erasure of the black cultural beauty through blackbody destruction. The view that the black people were inferior wasassociated with fear that was passed from one generation to anotherthroughout history.
Coates (110)argued that the black body reduction by the people who dreamt ofbeing white, acted white, and talked white killed his friend PrinceJones. This brutality is experienced by the black population inChicago with petrifying regularity. Coates compares the killing ofPrince Jones to the killing of Chicago people, to show that the blackbody is not safe in the streets of America. Coates () tells his sonnot to be trapped in the lie that when he acts comfortable in theeyes of the whites, he will be spared. He assures him that whateverhappened to Prince Jones can also happen to him.
Coates illustrateshis schoolmate’s murder with rage. He says that this brutality madehis fear to disappear, which means that too much of violence can makepeople fearless and rebellious. After the investigations had beenconducted, it was revealed that the claims of self-defense of theofficer who killed him were fraudulent. Coates said that failure toprosecute the officer left a permanent mark in his life. Hesaid that there is no difference between an officer who was inhumanto the innocent black population and one who died when trying to savelives during the twin towers’ flames. His fears turned to a scar inhis heart. The police were a danger to the black people, and theycould strike at any time.
In conclusion,Ta-Nehisi work pictures a parent who is engulfed with fear of raisinga black child in America. He describes the past, present, and thefuture of the African American in a way that shows the blackpopulation subordination has been a foundation of the fruits that thewhites enjoy today. The whites perceive the black as a harmfulpopulation, and therefore they use police brutality to infringe therights of the black, through violence.
Adams, M.&Rameau, Max. “Black community control over the police.” WisconsinLaw Review, Vol.2016, no. 3, 2016, pp. 515-539.
Coates, Ta-Nehisi.Between the World and Me. New York: Random House PublishingGroup, 2015. Print.