I lived in the Philly suburbs a few years ago, so WHYY was my source for NPR radio shows. When I first moved down there, and for 3 full years, I worked second shift. I got to hear radio shows that played in the middle of the day. Tell Me More was one of my favorites. I don’t know what it says about me (I’m oblivious?) that for years I never realized that it was about/by African Americans. I guess it was the power of radio and the fact that I couldn’t see who was talking that kept me oblivious. Anyway, Ta-Nehisi Coates was a regular contributor to the roundtable part of the show. I think they called it the barbershop. I got used to hearing his voice, his opinions, and how his name was pronounced. It was a great show, and he’s a very intelligent man. Reading his second book reminded me how different my world is from his, and how different my childhood was from his.
I never worried that someone would bring a gun to the playground. I was never scared of the police. In this way, we’re different. But I think we’re the same in other ways that are more important.
He talks about police shootings, college, love, and learning. I can relate to most of those things.
He’s written this book to his son. He wants his son to know that his body is always in danger. Coates talks about which shootings of unarmed black men shaped his thinking, and how his son has newer shootings to identify with. He finishes with his thoughts as he’s leaving the house of the mother of a police shooting victim. It’s not exactly hopeful, but it’s not entirely gloomy either.