This audio is an interview led by Dr. Clarence Lang, Chair of the African & African American Studies Department at the University of Kansas, with Jabari Asim. Asim is an author, Editor-in-Chief of The Crisis Magazine, and Associate Professor of Writing, Literature, and Publishing at Emerson College. In this interview Asim discusses his book, What Obama Means:...for Our Culture, Our Politics, Our Future as well as many other themes related to the KU 2016 Common Book, Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates.
In this podcast Nick Carswell interviews Howard Graham about the selection of the 2016 - 2017 KU Common Book, Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. They discuss how the text challenges readers to delve into difficult conversations that are relevant to discussions happening on our campus and around the nation.
As part of the 2016 Free State Forum, the ACLU of Kansas brought Leonard Pitts to discuss race and inequality. Kaye McIntyre of KPR sat down with Dr. Clarence Lang, chair of the Department of African and African-American Studies to discuss the way these issues directly affect life in Kansas. Listen here.
“After a year I watched the boy with the small eyes pull out a gun, my father beat me for letting another boy steal from me. Two years later, he beat me for threatening my ninth-grade teacher. Not being violent enough could cost me my body. Being too violent could cost me my body.”
Many years ago, soon after we were married, my wife and I spent a year as house parents for a group of academically-talented teenage boys from disadvantaged backgrounds who, were they not part of the program that put them in better schools, would have had little chance of getting into college. The house was, to say the least, ethnically and racially diverse. One afternoon, one of our seniors came home upset and with his knuckles bleeding. Corry, as I will call him, had been in a fight because another boy in the school had called him the N-word. The details of the fig
"This need to be always on guard was an unmeasured expenditure of energy, the slow siphoning of the essence. It contributed to the fast breakdown of our bodies. So I feared not just the violence of this world but the rules designed to protect you from it, the rules that would have you contort your body to address the block, and contort again to be taken seriously by colleagues, and contort again so as not give the police a reason."
I have encountered many times in my life individuals, community members, and students who hold onto the Lost Cause ideology—that the Civil War was not about slavery but about states’ rights and that the Civil War could have had a different outcome had it not been for the defeat of the Confederacy at Gettysburg, especially with the utter failure of Pickett’s charge. Coates puts a nail in the coffin of Lost Cause ideology, which unfortunately seems to keep coming back from the dead. He powerfully and poetically captures the lasting and important meaning of the Civil War that we st
“But I would watch how black people moved, how in these clubs they danced as though their bodies could do anything, and their bodies seemed as free as Malcom’s voice. On the outside black people controlled nothing, least of all the fate of their bodies, which could be commandeered by the police; which could be erased by the guns, which were so profligate; which could be raped, beaten, jailed. But in the clubs, under the influence of two-for-one rum and Cokes, under the spell of low lights, in thrall of hip-hop music, I felt them to be in total control of every step, every n
What strikes me the most about Between the World and Me is how real and relevant it is to current social conditions in the U.S. Coates’ perspective makes the reader reconsider what the American Dream is, which many have sought after since the establishment of this country. This book is a narrative for black lives, specifically young black males, and the recurring barriers that exist. It speaks volumes about the real experiences and emotions of being black in America from slavery in the 1600’s to racial injustice in 2016.
How does my college experience set the course for the rest of my life? Was college as transformational and affirming for me as it was for Ta-Nehisi Coates? I find myself continually asking this question when I read over this passage of the book. I attended a predominately white institution, in many ways far removed from the “Black Mecca” that Coates experienced at Howard. However, my time in college absolutely helped to solidify and set the course for the rest of my life. In some ways my thoughts about the world and my place in it were affirmed by my institution.