A Self Citizen Of This Terrible And Beautiful World Essay

A Self Citizen Of This Terrible And Beautiful World Essay

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“I would have you be a conscious citizen of this terrible and beautiful world” (Coates). Although a very poetic excerpt from Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me, the line is also a poignant view point the writer has about the world in which he and his son live. Coates writes to his fifteen year old son in Between the World and Me about the world in which they both live. Coates wants his son to be “conscious” of the unfair life he will live and the struggles he will have to go through to survive simply because he is black. Alice Goffman’s On the Run and W.E.B. DuBois’ The Philadelphia Negro show an extremely similar life for the black communities studied by the ethnographers as they are a more “terrible” world to live in. Both communities struggle to get an education, properly maintain a family setting in their homes, and struggle to keep jobs.
The children of Goffman’s Sixth Street and DuBois’s Seventh Ward struggle with balancing the value of education and income. Additionally, unfair treatment of the black youth also keeps them from receiving a proper education. Goffman describes a black man named Chuck who was arrested in school for a minor dispute with another classmate; “According to the police reports, Chuck didn’t hurt the other guy much, only pushed his face into the snow, but the school cops charged him with aggravated assault” (Goffman 11). This minor crime, which was given a serious charge, then went on to affect Chuck’s life as he continued to get in trouble with the law and had trouble maintaining his family life and a legal job. Similarly, many black youths in Dubois’ study had to choose between school or income. The choice many made were that of finding a job at a young age and supporting their family, whic...

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...nclusion, both books give the problems our society faced in the past and still face in the present. Both show just how terrible and unfair the world truly is based on the color of your skin. However; both differ from Coates’ Between the World and Me as they have a more positive outlook on the future. Goffman and Dubois believe a change will and needs to come in order to stop this unfair treatment and racism while Coates’ simply states that his son must find a way to survive with the odds stacked against him. The world for the black community is a “terrible” place where they have already been given an unfair disadvantage solely based on their skin color. While I agree, one should be “conscious” of this and find a way to survive, I do not agree that just allowing it to happen and not fighting to end this prejudice is the right way to go about the overall problem.

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