1.) This idea distinguishes race-not class-as a key division in the mid-1800s as it demonstrates how white people would unite against black people regardless of their status. Even if a white person was poor, something most of us would consider “distinguishing” today, they were still viewed and accepted as above black people. For this reason, race, not class, is what divided this country during that time. This reminds me of when Coates wrote on diminishing others in order to help yourself. At one point, Coates openly admitted to hating on gay people, eccentric people, etc just to fit into some sort of group. I think this relates strongly to the “poor” in this quote. As outcasts, they had to get in on hating black people to fit in somewhere.
2.) “Historians conjured the Dream. Hollywood fortified the Dream” (102). This segment resonated with me as it speaks to the American dream more as an illusion (a more literal sense of the term “dream”) than an ambition to treat with reverence. This is important as the American dream is, in a way, built on lies. In order to resonate with people, Americans had to hide all of the pain, struggle, and despair that made the dream possible. To be more specific, we’ve had to hide the ugly truth that the enslavement of black people is what we owe this dream to. In reality, its not the American dream. Its the result of African American labor.
3.) “If my life ended today, I would tell you it was a happy life” (115). This quote was interesting to me, and I think it speaks to whether or not Coates is anti American. Yes, Coates has had to deal with segregation, violence, persecution, etc, and he’s endured a lot more trauma and hardships than someone like me has simply because of the color of his skin. Still, Coates, having grown up in America, is proud of the work he’s been able to do, and proud of the understanding he’s gained of the world. He’s content it seems. Because of this, I don’t think Coates is anti-America.