History 420 – Between the World and Me Journal - Assignment #4
Dr. Gayle Olson-Raymer
Worth 100 points

Directions: There are two parts to your journal assignment, all of which are described below. Turn in your TYPEWRITTEN responses on the day the assignment is due and be ready to discuss your responses with your classmates.

Part One - Listening/Watching: Please listen to the "Democracy Now!" Podcast or watch the video with Ta-Nehisi Coates at http://www.democracynow.org/2015/7/22/between_the_world_and_me_ta. Then, address the following:

  1. Does this introduction to Coates make you want you to read his book? Why or why not?
  2. What did you find most interesting about your introduction to Coates as an author?

Part Two - Analyzing: Either while you are reading or after you have read the book, please spend some time responding to the following questions. Be prepared to share your answers to these questions on the day your assignment is due.

  1. In your opinion, what are the major themes of this book?  Describe at least three of these themes.
  2. How does Coates describe his relationship with school and with his teachers?  Provide specific quotes from the book to support your answer.
  3. What did you learn from Coates that should inform your own classroom teaching?
  4. What do you think are the major strengths of the book? Be specific and provide evidence from the book to support this response.
  5. What are your major criticisms of the book? Be specific and provide evidence from the book to support this response.
  6. Do you agree with Coates that all whites are privileged?  Why or why not? Is this the same idea as social currency - that the white elite provide poor whites a certain type of legitimacy in exchange for their poverty and powerlessness?
  7. How can we give all our students passports to the world - a world that most will never visit but should, nonetheless, have some cultural understanding?
  8. Do you think this book is useful reading for History 420 in terms of helping us better understand the students we may be teaching. If so, why? If not, why not.