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Ok, ok, I know, enough about Ta-Nehisi Coates. Last thing! For now, anyway. This is one of the passages from Between the World & Me that we discussed at the Faith & Race book group I facilitated a few weeks ago and it resonated for everyone there.
Coates’ college friend, Prince Jones, was killed by an undercover police officer in Maryland in 1999 and this passage about him gripped me, not just because I am a parent, though that’s certainly reason enough, but because there are so many boys just in this past year whose life ended in a similar way.
“Think of all the love poured into him. Think of the tuitions for Montessori and music lessons. Think of the gasoline expended, the treads worn carting him to football games, basketball tournaments, and Little League.
Think of the time spent regulating sleepovers. Think of the surprise birthday parties, the daycare, and the reference checks on babysitters. Think of World Book and Childcraft.
Think of checks written for family photos. Think of credit cards charged for vacations. Think of soccer balls, science kits, chemistry sets, racetracks, and model trains.
Think of all the embraces, all the private jokes, customs, greetings, names, dreams, all the shared knowledge and capacity of a black family injected into that vessel of flesh and bone.
And think of how that vessel was taken, shattered on the concrete, and all its holy contents, all that had gone into him, sent flowing back to the earth.”