Who’s Afraid of Post-Blackness by Toure’
Review by Tavares S. Carney
“Rooted In, Not Restricted by Blackness”
I first learned about this book when a friend mentioned having picked it up to take along on her travels. Shortly after, I began seeing “tweets” from Goldie Taylor, a CNN correspondent, which further peaked interest. The tweets pertained to “eating watermelon at the Ritz.” I just had to learn for myself what the buzz was swarming around Toure’s Who’s Afraid of Post-Blackness.
During the Civil Rights era, there was a commonly understood meaning and acceptance of what it meant to be “black.” Post-civil rights era, what does being black really mean? Who’s Afraid of Post-Blackness delves into this thought-provoking subject matter; however, after reading it, I gather there is no definitive, unifying response to the question. Toure’s latest release embarks upon discovering possible answers and commencing the conversation of what it means to be black in America in today’s day and age. Obviously, being Black today is not the same as being Black in the 1950s and 1960s, even the early 1970s.
Toure’ moves that the definition of the Black culture is the “plasticity” amongst our individual belief systems, morals, values – in essence, you can’t put Black in a bottle, it is many, many things. One thing I carry with me personally after reading “Post-Blackness,” is that Blackness is a gamut of individual actions and reactions to the environment, society and the world in which we as Blacks navigate in present day. I am open to acceptance of the realization that Blackness is a constant change and can be dependent upon individuals themselves, timing, places, things and events.
Additionally, I am accepting of the fact, too, that everyone is not as accepting of this idea of “Post-Blackness.” For example, Toure’ discusses the “old perception” vs. the “new perception” of what it means to be black. Of course, times and circumstances are not the exact same as in the Civil Rights era. Many doors have been opened and many roads paved by those before us. Because of these very things, Black people today do not have the same issues; however, this is not to say there is no struggle. Present-day struggles of Black people are quite different. We know that racism still exists, just in more subtle ways. Let’s take climbing the corporate ladder for example - I so agree about the judgmental peers who critique a friend for “talking white.” Why does the friend have to be “talking white” as opposed to “speaking proper English” or “being professional?” I so felt this topic. Who is one group of Blacks to judge, or even another, on what Black is or is not. Blackness is many things.
Like the book says, “to maximize yourself as a human is to maximize your Blackness.”
I recommend this book to anyone interested in race relations, self-improvement or anyone who is developing relationships personally or professionally with people of color, including people of Caucasian descent. This is where the conversation begins.
Review by Tavares S. Carney
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