Memoir, the offspring of the slave narrative, is not simply a form within the Black literary tradition; it has thoroughly shaped that tradition.
Posts Tagged: Racism
As much as we cherish the books from our childhood, there is no denying that some of the stories are just a little (or a lot) racist. But how do we reconcile this truth?
They were the feckless prisoners of their times, and much as we’d like for people in the past to share our enlightenment, especially people we otherwise admire, it’s just not going to happen in an unfortunate number of cases.
At Hyperallergic, Chris Cobb explores new photography exhibits featuring over 200 color photos from a recently rediscovered collection by Gordon Parks. The collection dates from 1956, when Parks was commissioned by LIFE magazine to capture the day-to-day of black families in segregated Alabama....more
It’s December, that magical time of year when newspapers and websites across the globe unveil their “Best of the Year” lists. Valeria Luiselli has been all over them with her innovative novel The Story of my Teeth, and lucky for us, this week Guernica gifted us a new Luiselli short story, “Shakespeare, New Mexico,” translated by Christina MacSweeney....more
George Saunders! America’s greatest satirist! The heir to Mark Twain’s estate! And I thought, Oh, what I wouldn’t give to hear Saunders weigh in on Trump. And then I remembered that, in a way, he already had.
For many Mexican-Americans, Trump’s campaign is nothing new. It fits within repeating cycles of attraction and rejection for Mexican immigrants in this country and connects with a long history of challenges that citizens of Mexican descent have faced to their place in the society.
While it isn’t unusual to find Killer Mike speaking about race and politics (see his past lecture at MIT on Pitchfork), Render appeared at Florida State University last week to lecture again on racism and civil rights. “Step out of your comfort zone and engage another human being as a fair and honest equal,” he said, “and based on that engagement, help that individual grow.”
Considering that racism protests have overwhelmed campuses nationwide, we’re hoping Render’s words affect change and generate positive insight....more
This tension is not new. It is a product of the systemic racism built into the institution, as ubiquitous as the architecture that characterizes the place in our shared consciousness. “Everyone who enters Yale is reminded that they’re in an environment that is a product of centuries of classism and racism,” Cynthia Hua, who graduated earlier this year, told me.
In a short interview with the Los Angeles Times, Junot Diaz discusses how he chooses what works to read at events, some books he’s reading now and loving, and America’s uncanny ability to erase racial struggle from its collective mind:
I think that we’re in another moment where historically, periodically issues of race and the kind of panorama in which we live becomes more clear and comes into focus.
It’s more Baldwin understood that if you are going to say something important about the world it is best if you try to say it beautifully.
At Electric Literature, Matthew Salesses discusses the works of Joseph Conrad and Flannery O’Connor to explore the problem of unconscious prejudice and unintentional racism in writing, and how writers can avoid it:
The writing of fiction cannot treat marginalized characters as vessels, cannot let the plot play out the racism of under-enlightened protagonists.
At the New Yorker, Kelefa Sanneh discusses a new provocative book about current racial tensions in the US. The book, Black Silent Majority by Michael Javen Fortner, aims to complicate the idea that black people are disproportionately affected by police violence and incarceration (notably addressed by Michelle Alexander in The New Jim Crow) by talking about the ways black people themselves called for harsher prison sentences and a crackdown on crime in the 60s and 70s:
At a moment of growing concern about how our criminal-justice system harms African-Americans, Fortner seeks to show that African-American leaders, urged on by members of the community, helped create that system in the first place.
There’s a storm in the poetry world, this one set off by the bio in Best American Poetry 2015 of Michael Derrick Hudson, who has been publishing under the name Yi-Fen Chou. I’m not here to talk about the poem, or about how (at least) silly the notion of collecting some poems from the previous year and calling them the “best” of anything is....more
You are not like the other children. You can’t get into the same juvenile mischief your white friends get into. You represent something more than yourself and your family when you are outside this house. You will have to be twice as good as other people to be as successful as them.