Not Just “The Other,” But Also “The Below” – Insight from Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me

Between the World and Me COVER.jpg.CROP.original-originalIn additional to the synopses I present on business books, I also read books on social justice, dealing with issues of race, poverty, education, immigration… And I present synopses of these books for the Urban Engagement Book Club in Dallas (sponsored by CitySquare). This Thursday, I am presenting my synopsis of Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. The book is written as a letter from Mr. Coates to his son. This book won the National Book Award for Nonfiction last year.

I think it is the most difficult book to read that I have ever read.

I will post more in this book in coming days. But, the book develops a concept that is new to me, and it has gripped me. In a number of other books, I have read of “the other.” This “the other” designation has been used against multiple groups of immigrants, and against groups of “different” ethnicity.

But, this concept, “the below,” is new to me. And it strikes me as accurate, true, and… so very wrong, and intolerable.

From the book:

“a mountain is not a mountain if there is nothing below.”
Thavolia Glymph, Out of the House of Bondage

You and I, my son, are that “below.” That was true in 1776. It is true today.

His case is compelling. Black people have been viewed as and treated as “the below.” And, he argues, this is true every day of his life.

Please consider reading this book. It is a true, genuine, eye-opening book to read.


Between-The-World-and-MeAnd, if you are available at noon Thursday, March 17, come join us at CitySquare Opportunity Center (near downtown Dallas) for my synopsis, and our discussion, of Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Cotates.  Find the details, and register, by clicking here.


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