This is one of the most powerful books I’ve read in recent memory. I have never walked in the shoes of an African American young man and I was completely swept away by this story. I read it in one day – and it’s been a while since I’ve done that!
I’m pretty sure that I am not the intended audience for this author as this is thoughtfully written in a series of essays as letter to his son. I found out later that the author is a pretty big social media guy who my sons follow and I’m thinking young men like them were probably his intended reader. Or, you know, maybe I was. If I/we weren’t, maybe we should be. If you were to ask me, I think this story should be required reading for EVERYONE.
Chapters are based on his experiences, the enduring theme is violence. Specifically violence against the black body, which is explained as a tradition that is not examined, but rather explained away. It is not a failure of our American system, it is an intentional part of our system.
One of the most compelling stories in this book (for me), is when he explains the death of his friend who, although did all “the right things” (according to the norms of white society), was killed because he was only seen as a black man. It didn’t matter about his personality, his successes, his family; he was a threat as a black man.
My single complaint would be that he doesn’t really examine the black female. There were opportunities where he could have more fully added an analysis of the few female characters, but maybe that’s just for a different story. In retrospect, it may have taken away from his message.
I have told everyone I know that they should read this book. So far, I’ve only had three takers that I know of. I look forward to more of his ideas/works in the future.