Black, Listed by Jeffrey Boakye review – race and the power of words


This post is by David Lammy from Books | The Guardian


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‘A book that gives a voice to those whose experience is persistently defined and denied by others’

“Call me black and I’ll get a complex knot of pride and insecurity tightening in my psyche. It’s a word that reminds me that I’m lesser than and different from, but it’s also a source of self-affirmation.”

Intense and compelling from the very beginning, Jeffrey Boakye bravely explores the ways in which people with darker skin are located in language. “Call me black and you’ll remind me that, racially, I’m everything I’m not, which makes me everything I am,” he continues. “Call me black and I won’t even flinch because I’m so used to calling myself black that it’s become the invisible lens. A perspective that has hardened into an objective truth. Call me black and I’ll welcome the definition, despite the fact that it denigrates just as much as it defines. ...