NPR 4 THE DEAF: We Hear It Even When U Can’t


Illustration by M. MGALO


Growing up in West Baltimore, writer Ta-Nehisi Coates was no stranger to violence. “Everyone had lost a child, somehow, to the streets, to jail, to drugs, to guns,” he tells Fresh Air‘s Terry Gross. Coates’ new book, Between the World and Me, is an effort to protect his son from the same threats he experienced as a youth. Written in the form of a letter, Coates draws on history as well as personal experience to discuss the different forms of violence BetweenTheWorldAndMEyoung African Americans face on the street, in school and from the police. According to Coates, despite the media’s recent attention to police violence against black men, he does not believe such incidents are on the rise; rather, he says, injustices have been occurring for years — and many of them can be traced to America’s flawed judicial system. “We’ve spent the last roughly half a century or so growing increasingly Draconian, stripping back people’s rights in terms of how they deal with the criminal justice system, increasing the punitive nature of the criminal justice system once people are in the system’s clutches — all of that is brought to bear when we think about each of these deaths.” MORE