SUMMER 2021

Week Two Assignments: Post by Monday, June 14 (by midnight)

Excellent job, students, with your literacy narratives, which I enjoyed very much. I have made suggested edits of all the drafts that have been uploaded to our googledrive. I ask that you review these edits and comments and revise your essay, using the same documents (you can easily “accept” many of my corrections). Pay close attention to my content comments as well as my punctuation/style/grammar corrections. When you have completed your edits, I will give your final essay a grade and post it in the gradebook link (to the left). If you haven’t uploaded your essay yet, please do so ASAP (and email me at mnoonan@citytech.cuny.edu).

I believe all of you will benefit from reviewing comma and semicolons rules. Here are two videos from Texas A&M Writing Center that I want you to watch: COMMAS and SEMICOLONS. Keep in mind that this site is filled with additional videos and materials to improve your grammar.

As writers, we can all continue to improve our vocabulary, as English has the most words out of any language. As you read this week’s essays, note the strong vocabulary our authors utilize. To develop your language use, I recommend regular reading but also using dictionary.com, which provides not only definitions but a thesaurus, and much more. In addition, here is a list of words all college students should know.

For this week, I want you to read eloquent and moving pieces on racial injustice by two renown writers: James Baldwin and Ta-Nehisi Coates. I ask that you think not only about the content of these pieces but the choices the writers make — including Coates’ choice to borrow the “letter” form from Baldwin. I also want you to watch a powerful documentary that follows the life of James Baldwin and the social issues he championed. For all of these pieces, I want you to post a comment on a particular line, paragraph, scene, or theme you found especially profound and important.

READ: James Baldwin “Letter to My Nephew” (1962) and Ta-Nehisi Coates, “Between the World and Me” (2015)

WATCH: Raoul Peck, I Am Not Your Negro (James Baldwin documentary)

POST: Comment on a particular line, paragraph, scene, theme, or rhetorical move (from Baldwin, Coates, and Peck) that you found especially interesting. Be sure not to post on what a previous student has posted on. Please post on one of the readings (Baldwin, Coates) and film OR both readings.

REMINDER: To post a comment, simply click on “comments” (above), write comment, and “post”

For the week after this, I will be asking you to find an article on an issue of importance to you from the New York Times. I will ask you to write a letter on this topic to someone you care about, similar in form to Baldwin’s letter. Your letter will also use quotes from the article you picked. I will provide more information on this assignment (Unit#2) next week.

32 Comments

  1. Ameer

    Quote Selection from “Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates

    “At the onset of the Civil War, our stolen bodies were worth $4 billion, more than all of American industry, all of American railroads, workshops, and factories combined, and the prime product rendered by our stolen bodies—cotton—was America’s primary export. The richest men in America lived in the Mississippi River Valley, and they made their riches off our stolen bodies. Our bodies were held in bondage by the early presidents. Our bodies were traded from the White House by James K. Polk. Our bodies built the Capitol and the National Mall.”

    I chose the following lines from “Between the World and Me”, which I found very interesting. The quote basically talks about how the foundation of America was built on the backs of slaves; not only that, it gives the reader a sense of how divided and unequal the black and white races were before the Civil War. It calls attention to how slaves were being treated horribly and how their “bodies” were in fact used to build the buildings at the Capitol in DC. This maltreatment of African Americans led to the Civil War, which was supposed to end racism, which Coates laments, never really did in the end.

    In the Video Documentary “I Am Not Your Negro”, I learned that whenever there was a crime committed, black people were often the ones who were always blamed for it, without any questions being asked.

    • Mark Noonan

      Excellent post Ameer. Can you give a specific example from the documentary of how blacks were blamed for crimes and/or mistreated. Who specifically (or what incident) are you referring to?

    • Ameer

      One example from the video where blacks were blamed for crimes was from a scene where a young women was walking a home and was murder by a white person and later on a black person was blame for the crime.
      Another example was when a black guy and white women was dating and would have to walking different path because of the laws that was around at the time. (Video in around 35-45 minute)

      • Mark Noonan

        Excellent pick-ups Ameer.

  2. Jane Won (Jung)

    In the “Letter to My Nephew” written by James Baldwin, he wrote “I know how black it looks today for you. It looked black that day too. Yes, we were trembling. We have not stopped trembling yet, but if we had not loved each other, none of us would have survived, and now you must survive because we love you and for the sake of your children and your children’s children.” I can feel the love and care in this quote. Uncle is telling his nephew James that he needs to live through this unfair world no matter what. I can also truly feel how Uncle is worried about the future life that James will be living. Uncle knew that somehow the racism will hurt him so, he is telling James that he needs to be strong because he has a family who loves him very much and who truly cares about him.
    In the “Between the World and Me” written by Ta-Nehisi Coates, I choose this line, “I remember watching him in a kind of daze, awed at the distance between punishment and offense.” When Coates was young, his parents searched for him because he was missing. Coates was just playing in the playground but when his Dad found him, he had to punish him. Living in a world where racism was going on was very dangerous to live. If he did not punish him, the white police man could have punished him. I can feel that Dad loved him so much that he did not want others to punish him but himself.
    In the documentary, “I am not your Negro”,  there was a scene where Harry Belafonte made a comment on black community. For the past hundred years, black people have tasted bitterness with their lives but they are not asking a single quarter from anyone. They are not asking for anything. They just want the same freedom as other human beings. Even today, there is a lot of racism going on, not only just black population but also for asian people. I was very upset while I watched this documentary. Every human being is as important and unique as they are. There should be no one out there thinking that I am better than the others or I am above the others. Hatred makes just another hatred. 

    • Mark Noonan

      Very thoughtful and thorough response to all three pieces, Jane. I love your final line:
      “hatred makes just another hatred.” — which is certainly the tied between all these pieces.

  3. Emily Hu

    A line that really stood out to me came from “A Letter to My Nephew” by James Baldwin. The line goes, “You were expected to make peace with mediocrity”. Although this statement is short, it means a million different things. He later goes to say, “…men who picked cotton, dammed rivers, built railroads, and in the teeth of the most terrifying odds, achieved an unassailable and monumental dignity”. Slaves worked endlessly working for a country that did not love or respect them. They were the most skilled and talented tradesmen but had no respect. They were always seen as beneath the white population and even with the “freedom”, they were forced to be okay with mediocrity. They were not allowed to hold positions that made white people feel uncomfortable and were unable to make wages that was substantial to meet their needs of a family. The Black community was constantly and always being blamed for when any mishaps happened and they were suppose to be able to accept that. In the letter, BALDWIN tells his nephew to forgive the white man as he is lost brother. To hold that much power to love and forgive, takes someone with the strongest will. Being in peace with mediocrity means to never be able to reach your dreams or have any dreams and to be okay with it. The short but powerful statement amplified the extreme struggles that they faced during this time period and evidently, it is a statement is that is still relevant to this day.

    • Mark Noonan

      You pick out and discuss this piece extremely well. I agree that Baldwin’s letter is still relevant today. This is certainly a chillingly accurate quote: “You were expected to make peace with mediocrity”.

  4. Devante R Moore

    “This innocent country set you down in a ghetto in which, in fact, it intended that you should perish. Let me spell out precisely what I mean by that for the heart of the matter is here and the crux of my dispute with my country. You were born where you were born and faced the future that you faced because you were black and for no other reason. The limits to your ambition were thus expected to be settled. You were born into a society which spelled out with brutal clarity and in as many ways as possible that you were a worthless human being. You were not expected to aspire to excellence.

    This quote stood out to me the most. Every day I wake up in my environment, I wonder why my neighborhood doesn’t look like Broadway or Amsterdam Avenue . Why is there a liquor store on every block followed by the smell of failure. Not just the smell of failure in life but for ambition to change the concurrent behavior which we endure. Schools aren’t as good , the crime is at an all time high, and since this pandemic things seem to keep getting worst. If you are black in America then you are only here to balance out “their” good because in America eyes if you skin is dark then you are bad. Its sad that “we” aren’t given the same opportunities, and this is the land of opportunity. – Devante RD Moore

    • Mark Noonan

      Very powerful response Devante. Perhaps you can elaborate on this post for your Second essay that I will assign for next week.

  5. Ashley salazar

    this quote from “between the world and me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates
    “The question is not whether Lincoln truly meant “government of the people” but what our country has, throughout its history, taken the political term ‘people’ to actually mean. In 1863 it did not mean your mother or your grandmother, and it did not mean you and me”

    This short quote stood out to me because its something my father talks about when we get into politics on what they actually mean by the word people and just reminded me on how when governments, presidents ,mayors and all of those areas when they say “people” they tend to choose favors on what type of people they are to referring to whether its leaning towards a certain race or wealth status they give more attention to than others, which is really unfair.

    • Mark Noonan

      Excellent quote selection and discussion, Ashley.

  6. Habeeb Zandani

    Quote Selection from “Between the World and Me” by James Baldwin. “You were born where you were born and faced the future that you faced because you were black and for no other reason. The limits to your ambition were thus expected to be settled. You were born into a society which spelled out with brutal clarity and in as many ways as possible that you were a worthless human being.” I found this quote very interesting about the discrimination on the world that’s we all live in. if your are born black ,so you don’t have any worth on the society or any rights. where is the justice?? in the end of the day we all are humans no mater if you White or yellow or brown or black skin. the World gotta get rid of this racism and gotta stop discriminate the people on their colors. we should be treated equally no matter what.

    Quote Selection from “Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates”

    “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. The law did not protect us. And now, in your time, the law has become an excuse for stopping and frisking you, which is to say, for furthering the assault on your body.” I found this quote really necessary to talked about just to show how unfairly the blacks people were treated on our society. it shows about the discrimination on the black people before and how it developed up to right now. it also explained how roughly they lived on this society before and up tp right now.

    • Mark Noonan

      Excellent quote selections and discussion of the depth of ongoing racism in this country, Habeeb.

  7. Itay

    In Letter to My Nephew, James Baldwin writes, “One can be–indeed, one must strive to become–tough and philosophical concerning destruction and death, for this is what most of mankind has been best at since we have heard of war; remember, I said most of mankind, but it is not permissible that the authors of devastation should also be innocent. It is the innocence which constitutes the crime.”

    After re-reading Baldwin’s letter three times, I chose this sentence because it stood out to me each time I read it. Initially, it just looked like a beautifully written or poetic combination of words, but I could not understand it. I looked for another quote, that would be easier to understand, but on my second and third readings, this sentence again jumped out of the page. I looked closer and struggled to dissect it.

    The first part of the sentence advises Nephew James that he must constantly struggle and examine the destruction which came before his existence and is the foundation for everything leading up to the present. Uncle Baldwin informs his nephew that everyone is part of this, including the “authors of devastation.” Since this letter is written against the backdrop of racial injustice that defines his existence, I believe “the authors of devastation” are the white people who profited from the blood, sweat, and tears of black men and women. The final sentence is a warning. Every black person, just by virtue of the color of their skin, was a product of the devastation whether slaves, or descendants of slaves. Therefore, every white person, by virtue of the color of their skin, must not think themselves innocent of the actual slavery of black men, or the figurative slavery of black men which continues to define every moment of their lives.

    When I reflected on this quote, I started to think of the racial differences that I see in New York, and how these differences are still part of society even after slavery ended. We are all part of this system that classified people according to their skin color, and we don’t even realize the subtle and obvious ways that it continues to separate and keep African Americans down. I do believe that things are shifting right now in the right direction. For example, in politics, more black and African American [I’m still not sure which is the most appropriate term to use] leaders have risen to the highest positions such President Obama and Vice President Harris. Additionally, cities like Atlanta, where many African Americans who are descendants of slaves live, are now defined by “black excellence,” a movement defined by the most highly educated, wealthiest, professionally successful people. But this level of success is still not the default as pointed out by my classmate when he described his black neighborhood filled with liquor stores instead of looking like Broadway and Amsterdam in the white neighborhoods. The shift is only possible through the “thorough and philosophical” struggle, including uniting, education, mentorship, guidance, and support from the country and non-black communities. Until that happens, black men will still be assumed to be criminals before they are assumed to be professors. Black women will be called angry for being angry [as if anger is a forbidden or illegal emotion]. And white people will continue to be unaware of how they contribute to this disparity and dehumanization which has psychological, legal, and economic consequences.

    • Mark Noonan

      This is an extremely thoughtful and eloquent reply on the deep and subtle structures of racism that Baldwin calls attention to. I really like how you cite a previous student’s comment and call for a solution to Baldwin’s indictment of white people’s “innocence. ”

      I believe it’s best to use the term “African American” and to capitalize Black if using that term. Subsequent to the BLM movement, these terms are continuing to be under scrutiny, so really there’s no “correct” answer other than to be sensitive to the dynamics of this usage (which you certainly are).

      • Itay

        I also wanted to add another comment regarding a long exerpt from “Letter to My Son” by Ta-Nehisi Coates which was relevant the theme of innocence. Coates writes, “I am writing you because this was the year you saw Eric Garner choked to death for selling cigarettes; because you know now that Renisha McBride was shot for seeking help, that John Crawford was shot down for browsing in a department store. And you have seen men in uniform drive by and murder Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old child whom they were oath-bound to protect. And you know now, if you did not before, that the police departments of your country have been endowed with the authority to destroy your body. It does not matter if the destruction is the result of an unfortunate overreaction. It does not matter if it originates in a misunderstanding. It does not matter if the destruction springs from a foolish policy. Sell cigarettes without the proper authority and your body can be destroyed. Turn into a dark stairwell and your body can be destroyed. The destroyers will rarely be held accountable. Mostly they will receive pensions.” Many people, even those who are sensitive to bigotry and acknowledge that it is wrong, understand this on an intellectual level, but cannot really understand how it FEELS on an emotional level to be African American or to raise an African American child with the knowledge that they will be perceived as a criminal just for existing in their skin. One of the easiest ways to step into the mindset for someone who did not experience life as an African American person is to replace those names with someone from your own ethnic, racial, gender, sexual, or religious identity or group. When you reread it, you will feel what you already may have known intellectually. This feeling is what makes it easier to understand the truth in Coates’ fears for his son.

        • Mark Noonan

          I think you hit on the head the aims of both Baldwin and Coates: to try TRY to have whites emphasize with the lives of those who live in constant fear and concern.

  8. Dominique Jones

    “You were born where you were born and faced the future that you faced because you were black and for no other reason. The limits to your ambition were thus expected to be settled. You were born into a society which spelled out with brutal clarity and in as many ways as possible that you were a worthless human being. You were not expected to aspire to excellence. You were expected to make peace with mediocrity.” – James Baldwin.
    These powerful words of James Baldwin stuck out to me because of the incredible worthlessness the countrymen saw in the black communities of America. Their lives and dreams were immediately decided for them because of the color of their skin. I find it incredibly sad and unsettledly that one would have to “make peace with mediocrity” because of what they look like. Black Americans were made to feel like their lives were decided by America and unfortunately, they were. Like James Baldwin said, “This innocent country set you down in a ghetto”. From the beginning of their lives, black people were put at a disadvantage.

    “The destroyers are merely men enforcing the whims of our country, correctly interpreting its heritage and legacy.”
    This quote from Ta-Nehisi Coates exemplifies the fact that inequality and brutality is something embedded in the foundation of America. He says that these murders that are being done in this country are only in alignment with its roots and what it has been known to conduct and accept. I found Coates take to explain this alignment very interesting.

    • Mark Noonan

      Excellent discussion of both authors, Dominique.

  9. Tatiana Ribeiro

    “Not everything that is faced can be changed. But nothing can be changed until it is faced.”

    James Baldwin

    This powerful quote from “I Am Not Your Negro” film by Raoul Peck summarizes, in my opinion, one of the biggest challenges of humanity: how to reconcile our past, present, and aspirations for our future. The very essence of our being is a narrative, a collective knowledge of the past, which inevitably becomes the basis for our perception of present, and our projections into the future. Our policies and laws, our dictionaries and school curriculums, our leisure style and entertainment, our entire societal fabric is made up entirely of our collective controversial knowledge of our collective controversial human experience. Every one of us is living out our own version of reality based on what circumstances we find ourselves in, and which narrative prevails. And boy, do those versions differ. The question of this staggering difference is explored throughout the film. It shows us glamorous pictures of the golden age of Hollywood juxtaposed to the appalling scenes of Lynched bodies hanging off the trees, surrounded by a cheering crowd. Truly, what a grotesque disparity: while some are enjoying the riches and opportunities, deciding between champagne and red wine, others are left for dead, abandoned, tortured, and dehumanized.
    The history of humanity has no shortage of examples how we can destroy, slaughter, and conquer. And though we never stop analyzing, compartmentalizing, redefining, and recontextualizing our past, we can never get away from it far enough. The past always lingers in our present. In a way, it never really goes away, as it must live in our collective knowledge about our own world, because we cannot live in the present moment only. We must face ourselves and what we did if want to progress. The “I Am Not Your Negro” film written by James Baldwin, brings to our attention the horrific legacy of slavery in the United States, as one of the things the humanity in general, and the United States in specific has to face in order to improve its present. Although the institution of slavery had been abolished, its lingering effect on our present is as real as it gets. The term “institutionalized racism” sadly still finds its place in this country, as well as many other places on the planet. It means that there are certain groups of the population that faces discrimination embedded though laws and regulations, which results in inequality in criminal justice, housing, medical care, education, political power, employment, etc.
    This present moment in time when the voiceless can find their voice online and reach millions in an instant, when most everyone has a video capturing device in their pocket, when speaking out and standing up becomes a viral effect, we have been seeing so many examples of institutionalized racism in action: police brutality, voting rights suppression, housing discrimination, and so on. It is not to say that these things are happening now more than before; it has only become more visible. Now, that most of us have an opportunity to capture and share events immediately, the speed of information availability and the amount of it is truly unprecedented. To understand where it all comes from and what the reasons may be, we must look in the past. Because without looking into the past, without acknowledging its gruesome legacy, we will never have enough context to move beyond terms, and closer together.
    As James Baldwin profoundly notes in the closing remarks of the film “I Am Not Your Negro”, the term “Negro” and the meaning it has been assigned does not represent the people who were described by this term; It only represents a narrative that the oppressors invented to explain away their actions: the senseless brutalization and enslavement of a group of people. Although the term itself is not in use anymore, what is stands for, unfortunately, is still adhered to by some. The summer of 2015 showed us unrests and riots in Ferguson, Missouri; where the fatal shooting of a black teenager Michael Brown by a white police officer Darren Wilson sparked the “Black Lives Matter” movement. Last summer’s tragic and so disturbingly public death of George Floyd took the movement to the global scale. Movements are not created over night, they signify long-standing issues that do not get solved. The fact that we still have such movements in the first place, speaks for the fact that many people in our world still cannot access a fair chance in life. The system of our society was not created equal. In fact, the opposite is true. The system of societal hierarchy was created by the powerful, for the powerful; everywhere; and every country has its own complex history of inequality and oppression. To change our systems, each county must start from within, from its history, because we are our history. James Baldwin, in his turn, frames the future of this country to be “…entirely up to the American people, whether or not they are going to face, and deal with, and embrace the stranger they have maligned so long”. People are afraid of what they do not know; and the only way to overcome the fear, is to get to know it.
    I also feel like I must say that my experience of living in the United States is one of an immigrant. I came to New York at the age of 21, and never lived outside of New York City since. My experience of this country started from a point of view of an observer, an outsider, and I am still learning a great deal about its history, and cannot relate to it in the same way as Americans do. However, on the human level I relate to this issue just the same. My own country, Russia, has its own horrific legacy of slavery. Russian power elites practiced feudalism, and enslaved their own people for 3 millennia, from 1600’s to late 1800’s. Certain groups of people, specifically farmers, became legally “attached” to the land, could not leave, could be bought and sold with the land, had no access to education, their children were born and raised to be slaves. They had no legal rights, could not be defended in courts, were brutalized, slaughtered, and considered sub-human. The revolution of 1917 was for the most part inspired and taken to action by the oppressed majority.
    The truth is that our reality always changes, people change, our collective consciousness changes, and progress is unstoppable. There will always be those, who are afraid of the change, and those, who proliferate it. Each of us will end up on one or the other side of history, and become some part of this narrative. Where we stand now, may not be where stand tomorrow. What is important to keep in mind, is the perspective, the bigger picture. And the bigger picture can only be seen when we are able to grasp how much we still do not know. How much we do not know about each other, how much we are afraid of each other, and how much we need each other. To relate to someone different is hard, but the alternative is harder. Our differences are only superficial. It is only when all humans are able to think of the other as a friend by default, that we will be able to create just, inclusive, and fair systems. For this to happen, we must see beyond ourselves into the past, compare it with the present, and make plans for the future.

    • Mark Noonan

      This is quite an eloquent and thorough discussion of the amazing documentary. Your connection to the history of the Russian Revolution is also profoundly interesting. I really liked your line: “Truly, what a grotesque disparity: while some are enjoying the riches and opportunities, deciding between champagne and red wine, others are left for dead, abandoned, tortured, and dehumanized.” Superbly expressed. BTW: You posted correctly.

  10. Chad

    A quote that stood out in “Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates was when Ta-Nehisi states. “The streets transform every ordinary day into a series of trick questions, and every incorrect answer risks a beat-down, a shooting, or a pregnancy. ”

    This quote is powerful to me because Ta-Nehisi points out that living in west Baltimore in the 1800s as a black man or women, walking outside a certain day, talking to anybody, looking at anybody, you just being a presence, can get you shot, killed, raped, sent to jail, almost anything horrible and there’s nothing to do about it. The laws at the time also didn’t help for them in their case, if anything the laws also made it much more harder for them to live and be equal, and made even more people have a perfect excuse for them to harass and humiliate black people. Through out history we’ve seen stories like Emmett Till, who just whistle at a women and was later found lynched, how Trayvon Martin was shot then killed and he only had a bottle of Arizona and skittles in his pockets, how Rodney King suffered 33 critical blows by four police officers, these stories are black people that’s why this quote stood out because we still see it today in the world.

    • Mark Noonan

      Great response to Coates, Chad. I really liked your line: “Through out history we’ve seen stories like Emmett Till, who just whistle at a women and was later found lynched, how Trayvon Martin was shot then killed and he only had a bottle of Arizona and skittles in his pockets, how Rodney King suffered 33 critical blows by four police officers, these stories are black people that’s why this quote stood out because we still see it today in the world.” Did you happen to watch the Baldwin documentary — I think you will find it fascinating.

  11. Aalaa

    Article: Letter To My Nephew
    Sentence: “They have had to believe for many years, and for innumerable reasons, that black men are inferior to white men.”

    Comments: This sentence from the text really stood out to me because as I read it, it made me feel a sense of outrage to know that this dilemma still exists in the world today. Racism existed when James wrote this letter to his nephew, and it is still existing today as we speak! White people do see themselves as superior to the Black folk and continue to hurt those of colors both physically and verbally. This has been seen in many recent situations, such as the BLM protests, riots, the death of George Floyd, and the list continues.

    Article: Between the World and Me
    Sentence: “Before I could escape, I had to survive, and this could only mean a clash with the streets, by which I mean not just physical blocks, nor simply the people packed into them, but the array of lethal puzzles and strange perils that seem to rise up from the asphalt itself.”

    Comments: This sentence from a larger paragraph goes on to explain how Nehisi Coates had to become one with the streets in order to make it out alive. You have to walk the walk, talk the talk, and not do anything out of the ordinary. For many neighborhoods in NYC, this is exactly what the majority of millennials experience on a daily basis. I once watched a documentary in my social sciences class called “Inside a Gang Initiation with the Silent Murder Crips”. In this video, TJ says “he was born for this life and can’t see himself doing anything but this”. He also emphasizes that the key to survival is practicing Crip rituals and not “disappointing” his boys or else there are consequences. This video relates to what Coates says in his text and I think it is very important for people to understand that this issue really does exist and unless the people change, the situations will not either.

    I’ve attached the link for the video below for those interested. The video itself is very eye-opening and educational on the lives of people in gangs.

    https://video.vice.com/en_us/video/vice-brooklyn-gang-initiation-crips/58dc3000466f70ae1467bb8d

    • Mark Noonan

      Excellent choice of quotes and discussion, Aalaa. I think you hit on the right word when reading these pieces: outrage. Thanks also for sharing the video, which connects well with Coates’ own Baltimore tale in his essay. It’s these unhealthy environments that lead to the poor choices young males sometimes make.

  12. Aban Waleed

    In “A letter to my nephew” by James Baldwin, he wrote “I know what the world has done to my brother and how narrowly he has survived it and I know, which is much worse, and this is the crime of which I accuse my country and my countrymen and for which neither I nor time nor history will ever forgive them, that they have destroyed and are destroying hundreds of thousands of lives and do not know it and do not want to know it”. This letter was written in 1962 and racism was a big issue then. This quote is important because it shows the truth that people were messing African-Americans lives even though they knew what they were doing. African-Americans were from the beginning treated as unequal and they all had to go through inequality which was and is wrong.

    A quote in “Between the world and me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates was “The boy with the small eyes reached into his ski jacket and pulled out a gun. I recall it in the slowest motion, as though in a dream. There the boy stood, with the gun brandished, which he slowly untucked, tucked, then untucked once more, and in his small eyes I saw a surging rage that could, in an instant, erase my body. That was 1986.” This quote stood out and seemed important to me because the boy who pulled out a gun was a white male who was scowling at another boy, who was standing close to Coates. The boy who tucked and untucked his gun was showing threats. Coates was hated because of his color and could’ve been shot due to racism. This quote had me frustrated because of people thinking they are far more superior than others just because of their color.

    In the documentary “I am not your negro”, I saw how badly blacks were treated. They were kept separated from the whites and some were kept as slaves. Black men would always get accused first of a crime. A scene I found important was 0:44:15. This scene was of an African-American women coming to school to take her white girl home. The little girl was embarrassed of the women and all the other students teased her.

    • Mark Noonan

      Excellent response Aban.

  13. Junhao Yu

    In the “Letter to My Nephew” written by James Baldwin, he wrote “Iknow your countrymen do not agree with me here and I hear them. saying, “You exaggerate.” They do not know Harlem and I do. So do you. Take no one’s word for anything, including mine, but trust your experience. Know when you came. “It can be seen that James Baldwin wants his nephew to understand how complicated and dangerous the world is. At the same time, he also knows that many things cannot be conveyed in words, and can only be felt by personal experience.

    The author of “Between the World and Me” tells the various injustices suffered by blacks under the rule of white Americans. The world was originally fair, just like the laws of physics, but everything changed under unfair treatment. Whites can use various reasons to convict blacks of crimes they shouldn’t have so that they can be punished to achieve their goals.

    In the documentary “I Am Not Your Negro”, I learned that the lives of blacks under the rule of the white government have become very dark. You need to pay attention to your words and deeds all the time. Maybe one day you will get into trouble. Many blacks have to hide their identity in order to live a better life, seeking a chance to survive in the crevices of this unfair society.

    • Mark Noonan

      Terrific post Junhao.

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