Between the World and Me Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

Ta-Nehisi Coates
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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. According to the author, how does racism affect the body?

2. According to the author, upon what has America's progress been built?

3. According to the author, there is no difference between his son and which murdered 17-year-old?

4. According to the author, what is the purpose of defining races of people?

5. How old is the author's son at the time the memoir is written?

Short Essay Questions

1. Why didn't the author console his son when Samori grieved over the release of Michael Brown's killer?

2. How important were books to the author as he was growing up?

3. How does the author use poetry to express his thoughts?

4. What influence did Malcom X have on the author as a young man?

5. According to the author, how has the lack of fathers and father-figures affected black children?

6. Why did the author's son experience such extreme grief when Michael Brown's killer was set free?

7. What role did religion play in the author's childhood?

8. According to the author, how have American police departments been given the right to destroy black bodies without the fear of recrimination?

9. Why did the author's mother encourage him to write?

10. What role did violence play in the author's childhood?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Amidst multiple examples of police brutality, the author mentions an effort on behalf of some police departments to improve relations with black Americans by diversifying their staff, utilizing body and patrol car cameras and offering sensitivity training. In the same paragraph, he points out that there remains a significant distance between the police and those they are appointed to protect. Does diversity, sensitivity training and the use of cameras allow the citizens of America to build trust or dissociate themselves from the police force? Is is possible to overcome this dissociation of racism between authority and citizenship. If so, how?

Essay Topic 2

The author spends a great deal of time describing his Mecca, Howard University, as an escape from the fear that once plagued his life as a child on the streets of Baltimore. Keeping in mind that Howard is a private university that not every student can afford, what other Meccas might exist in America that could parallel the author's experience? Are there other places or experiences that could provide a similar bond of safety and community for the black student? If so, what? Is the author's Mecca a physical place or a state of mind? Explain your answer citing examples from the author's work.

Essay Topic 3

When the killer of Michael Brown was set free, Samori (the author's son) was overwrought with anger and sorrow. The author could not bring himself to console his son, although he did sit with him as Samori grieved. Why did Coates find himself unwilling to console his son? Why were things "not going to be okay"? What lesson was Coates trying to teach his son in that moment?

(see the answer keys)

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