Lessons on Black Life from Writers Toni Morrison and James Baldwin

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It is challenging to figure out the business of living in America with Black or Brown skin. Watching white counterparts, one immediately observes the vast array of daily concerns that do not occupy them – living under suspicion of deviance; working and studying while suspecting peers think you are an affirmative action appointment; and the persistent mortal danger from state institutions. These are just a few of the considerations that represent the toll that comes with being born Black, and, conversely, the absence of these considerations in white lives indicates that what is often unbearable for us is simply their insufferable lightness of being. How are we supposed to think and feel about America when its politics and economics are predicated on this divergent quality of existence?

I’ve been spending time with Toni Morrison’s recently published collection of splendid essays, The Source of Self-Regard. The title of…

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One comment

  • veyr

    It is easy to simplify Bigger but the meaning of his acquired silence has haunted generations and changed lives. He is at least a warning and an everyman. Also Wright really is a giant and Baldwin’s ambition for literary-critical stature required him to take on Bigger. So all I’m saying is Wright’s realism has artistic depth but Baldwin’s literary critique reduces that depth to make his valid points. The thought of them with Chester Himes in Paris, surrounded by spies and FBI informers, blows my mind ( F.B. Eyes https://press.princeton.edu/titles/10321.html ).

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