A Crucial Conversation with the Self

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For a black woman in a white world, a conversation with the self is crucial: for when she walks through that often-unwelcoming world she is subjected to confining perceptions of who she might be. When that world insists on racist and narrow paradigms, the diary gives these women a chance to scratch out and rewrite such definitions. That is what my own diary offers me.

For the New Yorker, Morgan Jerkins reviews Helen Oyeyemi’s latest collection, What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours, and considers what keeping a personal diary means for women of color.


Guia Cortassa was born, lives, and works in Milan, Italy. After working as a Contemporary Art curator, she went back to writing. She is a contributing editor for Ondarock and her writing has appeared on Rivista Studio, Flair and the Quietus. She compulsively tweets @gcmorvern. More from this author →