Between the World and Me pdf

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that white America’s progress, or rather the progress of
those Americans who believe that they are white, was built
on looting and violence.

Hearing this, I felt an old and
indistinct sadness well up in me.

The answer to this question is the record of the believers themselves. The answer
is American history.


There is nothing extreme in this statement. Americans
deify democracy in a way that allows for a dim awareness
that they have, from time to time, stood in defiance of
their God. But democracy is a forgiving God and America’s heresies-torture, theft, enslavement-are so common
among individuals and nations that none can declare themselves immune.

In fact, Americans, in a real sense, have
never betrayed their God. When Abraham Lincoln declared, in 1863, that the battle of Gettysburg must ensure
«that government of the people, by the people, for the
people, shall not perish from the earth,» he was not merely
being aspirational; at the onset of the Civil War, the United
States of America had one of the highest rates of suffrage
in the world.

The question is not whether Lincoln truly
meant «government of the people» but what our country
has, throughout its history, taken the political term «people» to actually mean. In 1863 it did not mean your mother
or your grandmother, and it did not mean you and me.


Thus America’s problem is not its betrayal of «government
of the people,» but the means by which «the people» acquired their names.

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