Who's Afraid of Post-Blackness?: What It Means to Be Black Now

Who's Afraid of Post-Blackness?: What It Means to Be Black Now


Language: English

Pages: 251

ISBN: 1439177562

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Now in paperback, “one of the most acutely observed accounts of what it is like to be young, Black, and middle-class in contemporary America…told in a distinctive voice that is often humorous…but always intensely engaging” (Orlando Patterson, The New York Times).

In this provocative book, writer and cultural critic Touré explores the concept of Post-Blackness: the ability for someone to be rooted in but not restricted by their race. Drawing on his own experiences and those of 105 luminaries, he argues that racial identity should be understood as fluid, complex, and self-determined.

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speaks to, so for Africans to feel ownership over nigga feels a bit peculiar. But much of the world feels Black culture is available to them. So what impact does that have on Black culture and its producers? How does that transform Black culture and, with it, Black identity? The mainstreaming of Black culture has had a transformative impact on the culture producers—instead of Blackness as a private world they share, explain, and defend, Blackness becomes something they can explore and redefine

even though almost everyone around me seemed to be going out of their way to try to be non-racist. But still I was hyperaware of race. Whites were maybe underaware of race but they were still able to be hurt by race. I learned that the hard way. In my eleventh-grade American History class we sat at a large round table that was meant to encourage group discussion rather than having the teacher just tell us what to think. Because we dealt with contemporary issues that many of us talked about

my grandmother. They would tell their kids, we goin to get Mama Ealy to beat your ass. They used her to scare their kids. Oh you not going to do that homework? Then Mama Ealy gonna come whoop that ass. So they couldn’t lynch her or beat her because the white folks protected her.” She was a woman with a special place in the community, a valuable role—the designated spanker and sometime bogeywoman whose presence allowed white parents to keep their hands clean and avoid the messy work of meting out

tied to your ability to modulate. Black success requires Black multi-linguality—the ability to know how and when to move among the different languages of Blackness. A prime example is Oprah Winfrey, who will switch modes in a matter of seconds and can sometimes convey multiple modes at one time. This is not selling out any more than cursing in front of your friends and not cursing in front of your grandmother is selling out: it’s intelligently modulating among the various selves we all have

“We have an affection for people around us, our families, and for non-sentient things like land, maybe the red clay of Georgia,” Harry Allen said. “That’s soil, that’s matter, and that can move people and make them emotional and it is part of America. But there’s anger and there’s hurt as well. I would love nothing more than to love my country. It sounds like a really cool thing to do.” But he can’t. Many Blacks do love America deeply but they seem to me to be glass-half-full types—their love is

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