Reading while traveling has always been special to me. While I’m learning about other cultures, books help me see how much I have to learn about my own home. While I was in Sarajevo and Budapest, I read Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. It is a tough and necessary read, especially for Americans who aren’t black. While I will never truly understand what it means to be black in America, I do want to understand as much and as best I can. This book forced me to wake up.
I live just north of Howard University, where Coates went to school and where his father worked for many years. After reading this book, I see Howard in a new light. That is sacred ground for its students because for many, their time there is the beginning of them feeling fully accepted and respected by those around them.
Coates talks about the constant pursuit by black Americans to work twice as hard to get half as far as whites in America. He talks about The Dream and The Dreamers, and how neither are fully accessible, much less possible, for many black people in America. He talks about the constant message we send to black youth—when dealing with storied institutions here, keep your head down, your mouth shut, and your eyes and ears open for danger. This book, and its truths, broke my heart
I will fully admit that I cried through much of the book, out of sadness, embarrassment, and anger. 250 years on from the end of the Civil War and still, it rages on in the streets all over this country. I had hoped the book would wrap up with ideas of how to solve the struggle. It didn’t. And maybe that’s the point. We can’t erase history. We can only learn from it and use it as context to frame the situation currently at-hand. Coates wrote this book as a guide to taking the first step on the journey, not a guide to get to some pre-determined destination.
With this book, I have more awareness and understanding of the anger and fear felt by the black community, especially in light of the year we’ve had. And that’s a start.
The short of it:
Writer. Health, education, and art advocate. Theater and film producer. Visual artist. Product geek. Proud alumnae of the University of Pennsylvania (BA) and the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia (MBA). Inspired by ancient wisdom & modern tech. Proliferator of goodness. Opener of doors. Friend to animals. Fan of creative work in all its wondrous forms. I use my business skills to create passion projects that build a better world. I’ve been called the happiest New Yorker, and I try hard to live up to that title every day.
The long of it:
My career has stretched across Capitol Hill, Broadway theatre, education, nonprofit fundraising, health and wellness, and Fortune 500 companies in retail, media, entertainment, technology, and financial services. I’ve been a product developer and product manager, theater manager, strategic consultant, marketer, voice over artist, , teacher, and fundraiser. I use my business and storytelling to support and sustain passion projects that build a better world. In every experience, I’ve used my sense of and respect for elegant design to develop meaningful products, services, programs, and events.
While building a business career, I also built a strong portfolio as a journalist, novelist, freelance writer, interviewer, presenter, and public speaker. My writing has appeared in The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, PBS.org, Boston.com, Royal Media Partners publications, and The Motley Fool on a wide range of topics including business, technology, science, health, education, culture, and lifestyle. I have also been an invited speaker at SXSW, Teach for America, Avon headquarters, Games for Change, NYU, Columbia University, Hunter College, and the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America. The first book in my young adult book series, Emerson Page and Where the Light Enters, was acquired by a publisher and launched in November 2017. I’m currently working on the second book in the series.
A recovering multi-tasker, I’m equally at home in front of my Mac, on my yoga mat, walking my rescue dog, Phineas, traveling with a purpose, or practicing the high-art of people watching. I also cut up small bits of paper and put them back together as a collage artist.
I’m bringing together all of my business and creative career paths as the Founder of Double or Nothing Media:
• I craft products, programs, and projects that make a difference;
• I build the business plans that make what I craft financially sustainable;
• I tell the stories that matter about the people, places, and products that inspire me.
Follow my adventures on Twitter at https://twitter.com/christanyc and Instagram at https://instagram.com/christarosenyc.
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2 thoughts on “This just in: Reading Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates while traveling”
We have so much healing to do in our world. Seems to me that making an effort to understand another’s suffering and challenges is a great place to start. Thanks bringing forth this book and sharing your experience with it.
You’re welcome, Jan. I’m very glad I read it.
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