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Barry and Malcolm #2: Early Struggles with Identity

Malcolm Little, around 8 The second set of observations while reading, in parallel, both The Autobiography of Malcolm X and Dreams from My Father . Preliminary research for my next novel.  Honestly, in reading the autobiographies of two of America's most defining cultural figures, you find a lot of similarities in their early lives. It's kind of stunning. However, one of the significant differences between how Barack Obama and Malcolm X grew up is that from a young age Malcolm's parents made him highly aware of his special skin tone, while little Barry's family seems to have actively sought to minimize any concern about pigmentation when he was young. Obama, in fact, had to figure things out on his own -- leastways, as he tells the story. Both situations are logical as far as they are described by these two. Early in his autobiography, Malcolm X notes that his parents seemed to treat him in opposite ways because his complexion was so much lighter than his si
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Reading Barry and Malcolm in Parallel - #1

The Autobiography of Malcolm X in the White House library (Photo credit: Wikipedia ) In the old days, before the ubiquity of backpacks, we carried a pile of books and notebooks around school going from class to class, maybe returning to our lockers and swapping them out once or twice during the day. Always, at the top of that book pile -- clutched close to the hip for boys, double-armed to the chest for girls --  was the novel or biography, or whatever, being read at the time for pleasure. Yup, we had text books, spiral notebooks, and three-ring binders to carry around, but we also had a special paperback sitting on top of everything meant for free reading and enjoyment. This wasn't a requirement, it was simply a logical and important element of life as a teenager in America circa 1972. My first free reading book in junior high was Frank Herbert's Dune . My last, senior year of high school (1976), was Jack Kerouac's  On the Road . I remember so m

Moral Craft: Issues of Plot and Prejudice in Literature and Culture

Source: Electric Lit notes "from The Librarian by Giuseppe Arcimboldo" Moral Craft: Issues of Plot and Prejudice This Electric Lit essay should be very interesting for anyone concerned with racism in literature. The true insight of Mr. Salesses's essay is the question of how racism seeps into a story (at least perceived) if the author did not intend it. The issue kicked up a lot of thoughts for me. Here's my full comment in the Comments section of the essay: Such a fabulous and provocative essay. So are the comments! This is one of those times where the

Loving Day on My TV? And Who's a European American?

Author Matt Johnson and his book cover floating next to him You will find a lot of articles online that came out in the summer of 2014 claiming that Asian Americans are the fastest growing minority group in America. They apparently had a growth rate of 2.9% from 2000 to 2010, overtaking Hispanic Americans who only had a rate of 2.1%.  Let's get this straight: In actuality, the fastest growing "minority group" in America is people who identify as mixed race. Results from the 2010 US Census show citizens who identify as "two or more races" had a 32% increase in numbers from the 2000 US Census. Read about it at HuffPost in "Multiracial American Population Grew Faster Than Single-Race Segment In 2010 Census." So, 2.9% versus 32%. Who wins? Hell yeah, Mulatto Nation! We rock! And the media, once again, is full of shit.

On passing, wishing for darker skin, and finding your people: A conversation between two mulattos | Fusion

Note: I just started reading Mat Johnson's new book,  Loving Day  today. Here we have a powerful voice for us gold-brown people who feel not so much disenfranchised as partial. More later as I churn through Johnson's very interesting novel that kind of lays it all out there. (I'm jealous). Click below to read a very interesting interview, if you can open your mind enough. " On passing, wishing for darker skin, and finding your people: A conversation between two mulattos | Fusion " Related articles Books of The Times: Review: Mat Johnson's 'Loving Day' Takes a Satirical Slant on Racial Identities The Great American Mulatto: Mat Johnson Talks Identity and Facing Ghosts Review: Mat Johnson's 'Loving Day' reaches beyond black and white "You get a cookie for being offended": Mat Johnson on the fine art of racial satire Not the Marriage Plot: On Men Reading Novels in the 21st Century

From The American Reader: The Return of “The Curses..." by TONY TULATHIMUTTE

The Return of “The Curses, the Fates, the Races, the Fakes, the Faces, the Names of 'The Game of Death'; or, The Game of Death” | The American Reader An essay by Tony Tulathimutte Wow. This is one wild ride of an essay. It's as much about the the mind tricks that shake you down as a writer as it is about the aesthetic expression of racial identity. It's a big think piece that requires careful attention and a good amount of pausing and pondering. But it's well worth the price of admission. For those who need short and simple, don't go here. This is for the Big Kids who want to swim in the deep end. -dcb

The Millions : Paucity of Art in the Age of Big Data: A Dispatch from San Francisco

The Millions : Paucity of Art in the Age of Big Data: A Dispatch from San Francisco This is a very interesting essay on the need for more digital tech in novels, the novel as a social data driven artifact, and the question of the big novel in modern times. Important to think about for anyone who cares about fiction and where it's going in this modern age.