Tag Archives: race

South African Roots and Apartheid’s Influence, with a Sense of Humor

What's Nonfiction?

Book review: Born a Crime, by Trevor Noah

Where most children are proof of their parents’ love, I was the proof of their criminality.

Apartheid is one of those subjects that I know embarrassingly little about beyond the basics. If you’re in the same position, I highly recommend comedian and Daily Show host Trevor Noah’s 2016 memoir, Born a Crime, of his unique experience growing up as mixed-race in apartheid-era South Africa. Noah was born to a South African Xhosa mother and a white Swiss father. His very existence was a serious crime under the laws of apartheid, under which both sexual and romantic relationships between blacks and whites was penalized criminally.

Apartheid was a police state, a system of surveillance and laws designed to keep black people under total control. A full compendium of those laws would run more than three thousand pages and weigh approximately ten pounds…

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On a voyage of self-discovery: James Baldwin. Photograph: Ralph Gatti/AFP/Getty Images On a voyage of self-discovery: James Baldwin. Photograph: Ralph Gatti/AFP/Getty Images

Baldwin’s landmark collection of essays explores, in telling language, what it means to be a black man in modern America

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“Passing” and the Color Line

This is a book review of Yecheilyah Ysrayl’s Stella series that delves into the issue of “passing” and the color line. After a comment on the post about Juanita Moore (the actress in the movie Imitation of Life), I thought some of you might be interested. Here’s the link:


Snapshot: Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

The Book Wars

Between The World And Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

“This is your country, this is your world, this is your body, and you must find some way to live within the all of it.”

In a profound work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation’s history and current crisis. Americans have built an empire on the idea of “race,” a falsehood that damages us all but falls most heavily on the bodies of black women and men—bodies exploited through slavery and segregation, and, today, threatened, locked up, and murdered out of all proportion. What is it like to inhabit a black body and find a way to live within it? And how can we all honestly reckon with this fraught history and free ourselves from its burden? — [X]

Ever since…

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Between the World and Me | by Ta-Nehisi Coates

SCC Library Reads

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
(Spiegel & Grau, 2015, 152 pages)

Reading Between the World and Me feels a bit like eavesdropping. The book is written as an open letter from Coates to his son. It frankly discusses some of the most important issues in American culture in an intensely personal way. By design, it is a communication that we as readers are listening in on. It is a memoir and a report on black life in America that is shot through with anger, wisdom, and warning.

Coates’ overriding message to his son is this: “In America, it is traditional to destroy the black body – it is heritage” (103). He illustrates this startling claim by rehearsing the country’s history of slavery, racial prejudice, and violence. More strikingly though, Coates explains how bodily danger has defined his life. From the cautions he had to take walking…

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