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Between the World and Me Quotes From Ta-Nehisi’s Iconic Book

The experiences of Black America are as varied as any other community but these Between the World and Me quotes truly exemplify the complexities of Black fatherhood, education, racism and consciousness.

Ta-Nehisi Coates is one of the most talented writers of our modern era.

His book Between the World and Me is an amazing piece of literature that paints a picture of the transformation of an African American boy into an African American man responsible for his own child.

The journey of fatherhood is depicted in a way that also accounts for all that shaped Coates into the man he became today.

His upbringing in Baltimore, his time at Howard University, his career, mentors, and challenges that all added to his current self are intertwined with his future and past in a powerful message to his son.

Coates redefines black masculinity in a way that both empowers and enlightens.

His passion and desire to support his son in a world where harsh realities manifest are truly inspiring.

Don’t forget to also check out these Ta-Nehisi Coates quotes providing insight on race and culture.

Between the World and Me Quotes on Racism

1. “But race is the child of racism, not the father.” – Between the World and Me

2. “To yell “black-on-black crime” is to shoot a man and then shame him for bleeding.” – Between the World and Me

3. “America understands itself as God’s handiwork, but the black body is the clearest evidence that America is the work of men.” – Between the World and Me

4. “The destroyers will rarely be held accountable. Mostly they will receive pensions.” – Between the World and Me

5. “And the process of naming “the people” has never been a matter of genealogy and physiognomy so much as one of hierarchy.” – Between the World and Me

6. “It is not necessary that you believe that the officer who choked Eric Garner set out that day to destroy a body.” – Between the World and Me

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7. Why were only our heroes nonviolent? I speak not of the morality of nonviolence, but of the sense that blacks are in especial need of this morality.” – Between the World and Me

8. “One cannot, at once, claim to be superhuman and then plead mortal error. I propose to take our countrymen’s claims of American exceptionalism seriously, which is to say I propose subjecting our country to an exceptional moral standard.” – Between the World and Me

9. “You still believe the injustice was Michael Brown. You have not yet grappled with your own myths and narratives and discovered the plunder everywhere around us.” – Between the World and Me

10. “Hate gives identity. The nigger, the fag, the bitch illuminate the border, illuminate what we ostensibly are not, illuminate the Dream of being white, of being a Man. We name the hated strangers and are thus confirmed in the tribe.” – Between the World and Me

11. “But 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.” – Between the World and Me

12. “But all our phrasing—race relations, racial chasm, racial justice, racial profiling, white privilege, even white supremacy—serves to obscure that racism is a visceral experience, that it dislodges brains, blocks airways, rips muscle, extracts organs, cracks bones, breaks teeth.” – Between the World and Me

13. “All you need to understand is that the officer carries with him the power of the American state and the weight of an American legacy, and they necessitate that of the bodies destroyed every year, some wild and disproportionate number of them will be black.” – Between the World and Me

14. “You must never look away from this [racism]. You must always remember that the sociology, the history, the economics, the graphs, the charts, the regressions all land, with great violence, upon the body.” – Between the World and Me

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15. “But 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.” – Between the World and Me

16. “And they are torturing Muslims, and their drones are bombing wedding parties (by accident!), and the Dreamers are quoting Martin Luther King and exulting nonviolence for the weak and the biggest guns for the strong.” – Between the World and Me

Between the World and me Quotes on Fatherhood

17. “To be black in the Baltimore of my youth was to be naked before the elements of the world, before all the guns, fists, knives, crack, rape, and disease.” – Between the World and Me

18. “Black people love their children with a kind of obsession. You are all we have, and you come to us endangered.” – Between the World and Me

19. “All my life I’d heard people tell their black boys and black girls to “be twice as good,” which is to say “accept half as much.” – Between the World and Me

20. “Marriage was presented to us as a shield against other women, other men, or the corrosive monotony of dirty socks and dishwashing.” – Between the World and Me

21. “I have raised you to respect every human being as singular. And you must extend that same respect into the past.” – Between the World and Me

22. “I remember being amazed that death could so easily rise up from the nothing of a boyish afternoon, billow up like fog.” – Between the World and Me

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23. “So I feared not just the violence of this world but the rules designed to protect you from it, the rules that would have you contort your body to address the block, and contort again to be taken seriously by colleagues, and contort again so as not to give the police a reason.” – Between the World and Me

24. “Before you, I had my questions but nothing beyond my own skin in the game, and that was really nothing at all because I was a young man, and not yet clear of my own human vulnerabilities.” – Between the World and Me

25. “She had wanted her son to stand for what he believed and to be respectful. And he had died for believing his friends had a right to play their music loud, to be American teenagers.” – Between the World and Me

What did you learn from these Between the World and Me quotes?

Between the World and Me is a worthwhile read for those outside of the African American community who are seeking more knowledge and awareness of the narratives that shape our reality.

It is a phenomenal book for Black fathers as it really sets the tone for what is needed to support our children.

It is also an excellent book for those looking for a more concise understanding of why and how the legacy of slavery, the global implementation of white supremacy, and the powerful role our education system each plays in maintaining these artificial norms.

Coates does an amazing job of weaving historical context with modern conditions while expressing his need to share this knowledge on behalf of his son.

This book reminds us of the importance of pursuing excellence for ourselves while we live for the sake of others.

Hopefully, these Between the World and Me quotes and lines can help you find solutions for any challenges in the way of your success.

Clifton Sankofa
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