Saturday, November 28, 2015

Randall L. Kennedy ― A Caricature of Black Reality

Ta-Nehisi Coates has written the race book of the year. Too bad it’s disempowering.

Randall L. Kennedy is an American Law professor and author at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

(The American Prospect magazine)
 Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Between the World and Me is an open letter to his 15-year-old son, Samori. It conveys worry over Samori’s prospects and posits a stoical parental philosophy on raising a black man in America. Coates’s portrayal of the African American past, present, and future is gloomy. He asserts that the subordination of blacks has been an integral feature of the good fortune that Euro-Americans have enjoyed. “A mountain is not a mountain if there is nothing below,” he observes. “You and I, my son, are that ‘below.’” True in 1776, “it is true today.”

Coates presents American history as a chronicle of atrocities. The consolidation of white America, he writes, “was not achieved through wine tastings and ice cream socials, but rather through the pillaging of life, liberty, labor, and land; through the flaying of backs; the chaining of limbs; the strangling of dissidents; the destruction of families; the rape of mothers; the sale of children; and various other acts meant, first and foremost, to deny you and me the right to secure and govern our own bodies.” Portraying the recent, highly publicized killings of blacks by police officers as reflections of racist business as usual, Coates tells his son that “there is nothing uniquely evil” about these officers “endowed with the authority to destroy your body”; they “are merely men enforcing the whims of our country, correctly interpreting its heritage and legacy.”

Read the full article HERE.