Introduction- What is a ‘they expect one of us’ in the wreckage brother?
One day during a lunch break, I was walking to my car when I heard a few guys talking about a cinematic horror movie. They were calling the protagonist “Chris,” which is just one of the many ways in which they belittled him. In their eyes, Chris was an asinine and naive young man who didn’t know how to handle whatever came his way. One of them said, “I’m hoping it’s not me they expect one of us in the wreckage brother. “I was baffled as to what this meant. It wasn’t until after class that I figured out what they were saying in ‘they’ and ‘expect.’ They expected one of us in the wreckage brother, because of the role they perceived that Chris was playing in the movie. The first thing I thought about was how uncreative the term ‘wreckage brother’ is. My recollection of the movie was that it took place in a high school, and so I assumed that these guys were just calling another member of their own baseball team “the wreckage brother.” So, what does this movie have to do with anything? Here’s my explanation:
You can see the ‘expect’ card below in its entirety. The art is by Nicolas Freccia.
* * *
In the movie, Chris was playing a role in the movie called “wreckage brother.” The purpose of the movie was to focus on “wreckage brothers” and their role in the life of one of them. This is not a new concept. In 1945, playswright Clifford Odets wrote Awake and Sing! , a play about three men who bond together as “the wreckage brother.” If you recall, this play also had characters named Mark and Brownie. I wonder if this parallel of imaginary playmates and their names stems from the fact that Odets was a close friend and collaborator of Bertolt Brecht [1905-1956]. So, I guess it all comes down to genre, after all.
* * *
Coates’s Conclusion on “They Expect One of Us” and his Suggestions for Action
I believe that Shelby’s explanation, as she calls it, is not very convincing as to why we should become “they.” The fact of the matter is that when I became aware of the term, I found myself actually feeling uncomfortable. After coming to terms with this discomfort and after talking with others about what they understood ‘they’ to mean, I was able to determine that this was not an offensive term. It was merely a way of referring to people in general as if they were a group. Since we are all humans, then it is acceptable to group ourselves together for that purpose. This is what constitutes our humanity. We are all humans, therefore, it is within our right to group ourselves together under that banner. By calling people “they,” however, we are referring to them individually. This is a statement of prejudice. Therefore, when you refer to ‘they,’ you are denigrating one individual out of the population over others equally deserving of being recognized as they. This is not fair. It is prejudicial to all people, as a whole, and we should not fall into that trap.
Ta-Nehisi Coates’s View on Racism and Its Effect on Society
Racism is a by-product of the notion that we are inherently different from one another based on our physical characteristics. These physical differences were determined to be what determines our character and personality. This concept was widely accepted during the time of slavery when we were viewed as property and therefore not equal to those who held us in bondage. Even though we are born with different physical characteristics, none of them should dictate our destiny. The problem is that this concept has been ingrained into our collective consciousness and even though it is widely accepted as fact by the majority, there are some who do not know how to act differently. These individuals will continue to be racist in their actions until they have the opportunity to be educated on the topic. “The end of racism will only come when the members of the oppressor race, and individuals of mixed race, realize that racism is wrong and begin to educate other oppressors on why it is wrong,” said Walter Williams.
Ta-Nehisi Coates’s view on how to overcome racism and racial disparity in society
We have to start with acceptance of people for who they are and not how they appear. As mentioned above, we are all human beings and as such, we should be treated as such. We should be accepting of anyone’s differences based solely on their actions and attitude towards us. There is no reason why we should feel uncomfortable because someone believes that another person is inferior. If this other person is potentially harmful to us, then we should call them out on their behavior. We need to be open to the possibility of engaging in a conversation about racial issues in order to explore all perspectives without judgment. We should not be afraid to engage with people who have differing opinions than us and instead, we should have the courage to solicit their feelings. This is a good way for us to better understand each other and change the way we feel about others.
Visit link below to read more:
http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2014/01/ta-nehisi-coates-s-view-on-how-to-overcome-racismand racial disparityin society/286068/#.UxPjKbVlZBo.twitter
The Atlantic magazine article title is: “Ta-Nehisi Coates’s view on how to overcome racism and racial disparity in society”
Happy Earth Day everyone!
This is the birthday card I gave to Emma. Hopefully, it will get her thinking about Earth Day and the importance of protecting our beautiful planet. And we all know that Emma loves a cute birthday card. 🙂
May you all stay safe, happy, healthy and strong this Earth Day.
Earth Day is just around the corner! How cute is this heart balloon?
to understand others. Furthermore, we should not be afraid to engage with people who believe that we are inferior in any way shape or form. Our differences should be celebrated because it is what makes us individuals and not a single mass of uniformed people. We need to accept that our individual thoughts and opinions will never come close to being the same as someone else’s, but at the same time we do not need to be sensitive to the fact that other people may hold different views than we do. We should all be free to express ourselves in any way we want without fear of judgment. Finally, we should be willing to educate others on the topic of race and its implications on our society. Engaging in this conversation will not solve racial inequality but it will allow for people to begin understanding what people of color go through every day.
* * * *
Title: Ta-nehisi Coates
Ta-Nehisi Coates is an author and journalist for The Atlantic. He wrote about the death of Trayvon Martin in a book called Between the World and Me. While writing this book, “Coates shared a story from his childhood where he was beaten by a teacher.” However, “Coates’ story has harmed his own career because most people oppose to the idea of someone being beaten by their teacher. Some people believe that the teacher was acting in self defense, and others believe that the teacher deserved to be beaten and that Coates should not share such a story with the world.”