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What It Means to Be Black Now

by Touré

Pub Date: Sept. 13th, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-4391-7755-6
Publisher: Free Press

A personal and scholarly dissection of race issues in modern America.

In his latest work, MSNBC correspondent and Rolling Stone contributor Touré (Never Drank the Kool-Aid, 2006, etc.) offers a fresh take on what it means to be Black in America. In the opening scene, the author is preparing to skydive; prior to hurling himself from the plane, an African-American male informs him, “Brother, Black people don't do that.” “I was breaking the rules of Blackness as they saw it,” he explains, segueing into the book's primary question: What exactly are those rules? While Touré argues that "the number of ways of being Black is infinite,” he undercuts his claim pages later by admitting that he “never lived a typical Black experience.” If there are, in fact, an infinite number of possibilities of being Black, who is to say his atypical experiences weren't among of them? With the help of an array of writers, performers, comedians, artists and intellectuals, among others, the author attempts to reach a consensus on what is typical or otherwise for African-Americans, as well as what Black identity means in the modern era. Yet despite the chorus of voices, the most powerful voice belongs to Touré. While his collected anecdotal evidence provides a necessary framework, his personal experiences with race ring loudest of all.

A likely bellwether for America's future struggles with race.