I try very hard, never to forsake reading work by Ta-Nehisi Coates and this New York Times op-ed, Beyond the Code of the Streets is no exception. Mr. Coates writes as usual, with an open-ended candor. I succumb to the persuasive lyricism of his language and am challenged in both my personal and literary pursuits to always write from the most honest, interior places and spaces. For me "the code of the streets" is not something we want to examine only within the confines of our social media circles (Oops...did I say circles? I really meant "cliques") – social media cliques merely appearing to be about inclusion.
Feminist thinker/intellectual, bell hooks, puts word out there like this: "Exclusion and isolation, whether they occur through overt or covert acts, have always been useful tactics of terrorism, a powerful way to coerce individuals to conform, to change." As a southern writer indisposed to use tactics of terrorism, strangely, I identify with Mr. Coates when he says: "I have all the repressed rage of a kid who was bullied — except now I have some size to match. At that moment, violent fantasies, wholly unmentionable, were dancing in my head. Contributing to those fantasies was a simple maxim inherited from childhood: “Thou shalt never be found a punk.” #never