Brit Bennett’s review of “Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates, for The New Yorker magazine, is the best I have read so far. Bennett writes from an African American Feminist perspective drawing clean lines between what it means to be black and female in America. You can expect classy and exact references examining the relationship of black authors to black women, the black father to his son, and their relationship within the scope of institutional racism.
My favorite paragraph from Bennett is as follows:
As a child, I once heard that slavery was worse for black men than black women, because black men were pained by their inability to protect the women they loved. In this retelling, black women’s pain is incidental. The systemic, relentless rape that black women endured is only meaningful because of how it hurt black men. I believed this for a time, in deference to the black elder who told me, until I realized that trauma is not a competition, that there is no better or worse; there is only pain, and a woman’s pain is equally worthy of mourning.
Bennett’s piece opens:
The night Trayvon Martin’s killer walked free, I stood outside a Los Angeles movie theater, in line to watch “Fruitvale Station.” Maybe I would’ve picked a different movie had I foreseen the verdict, but I was young and hopeful, and I believed that someone would be held accountable for snuffing out a seventeen-year-old’s life. Instead, I blinked back tears as a well-meaning white woman approached—she couldn’t believe that verdict, she said, the injustice of it all. I didn’t want to hear her disappointment. I didn’t want to be a conduit for her guilt. I wanted to understand how a jury could determine that a child’s unarmed black body posed more of a threat than a grown man with a gun.