Possibly one of the most beautiful and powerful works I have ever read. Coates writes with elegant simplicity that is both piercing and remedying. Forged as words of wisdom to his adolescent son, Coates unrelentingly warns of ‘the Dreamers’ and rectifies the beauty and value of black bodies. The Dreamers do not want them, but cannot but need them. Therefore, the Dreamers name them and forget them to further exploit them. Yet, Coates powerfully exclaims: “They made us into a race. We made ourselves into a people.” The struggle is for the awareness and valuation of the beauty that is inherent in black bodies and their cultivations. It is the struggle that fashioned them. It is the struggle that sustains them. It is the struggle that will revive them.
In light of recent horrific traumas (that reflect the historic and ongoing disembodiment and disenfranchisement of black bodies), I am challenged, as an Asian American (specifically Korean American), to try my best to understand and empathize with the ongoing black struggle. It is not their job to teach me; it is my job to love them: this is my human responsibility, which is my Christian responsibility for “to be Christian is to be human” (Hauerwas, Stanley).