When many of us read and think of things that have happened, we think of them as exactly that…. things of the past. Coates realizes that and in his essay talking about discrimination in our country and he makes sure to distinguish that this is not the case.
He makes sure that we realize that the “history” we think of, is not actual history and is still happening. Starting off with the main character, he makes sure that the reader understands that people from the “past” he talks about are in fact still living. With the realization that the main character is still alive and the age of a possible grandparent, readers understand what has occurred not to long ago.
Because many of us feel that things which have happened in the past are not our jobs to fix, Coates also makes sure to show how wrong that is. With predictable arguments such as “I didn’t have slaves,” or something similar, he shows us how, in fact, everyone as a whole added to the actualities of slavery.
Though he does not know who the reader exactly is and what their views are, Coates targets each type. Throughout the page, he comes at each view point but explains how each idea goes with his concept. As a whole, he looks at the argument from each side and critically shows why what he is saying is important.
If you think of what you are stating as a multisided cube or figure like Coates did it helps you understanding other viewpoints. Eventually it can strengthens your argument.