Books by Walter Mosley
A Memoir Toward World Peace /
Life Out of Context /
Devil in A Blue Dress /
Fear of the Dark (audiobook )
Little Scarlet (An Easy Rawlins Novel) /
Cinamon Kiss (audiobook) /
This Year You Write Your Novel /
* * * *
Responses to Walter
Mosley's "A New Black Power"
E. Ethelbert Miller, Jonathan
Scott, Dennis Leroy Moore, Joyce King, and
Rodney D. Foxworth, Jr.
I really like Walter Mosley. I love his fiction. But what
he wrote for the latest issue of The
Nation (February 27, 2006) deserves closer scrutiny. The title
of his essay is "A New Black Power." Of course this
caught my attention. I loved Carmichael (Ture) when I first headed
off to college. Next to my books by Marshall McLuhan was a copy of
Black Power. Reading Mosley's essay, I suddenly realized
it's graffiti. Something on a wall you read because it's there. I
subscribe to The
Nation. Graffiti is shorthand.
Mosley means well and so I respect him as much
as I like Mariah's voice. But I'm not listening to Aretha and
Mosley is not C.L.R. James or Walter Rodney. Instead of providing
serious intellectual thought, his essay sounds like a response to
the Gary Convention, or maybe Jesse Jackson after four years of
the Carter presidency. Remember when folks were upset with the
Democratic Party and didn't know what to do?
Some became Republicans and made money the old
fashioned way. They run things today. The rest of us fell apart
like the Berlin Wall and entered a world with no ideological
direction. We became a race of weepers with no King, no Malcolm.
We embraced the image of Mandela like it was a mandala. Something
to wear but not believe in. How many of us really call ourselves
socialists or communists?
Mosley has two good suggestions for what we
1. Rehabilitation for
people trapped inside the legal system. Suffrage for all
ex-convicts who have served their sentences.
2. A universal
I think Easy Rawlins would support # 2. The guy
is getting older with each book. However, before Mosley ends his
essay we get that sunlight that reveals nonsense. Mosley would
like our youth to take the reins of leadership. He asks the
question I ask everyday when I'm riding the # 70 bus down
Georgia Avenue in D.C.
"What are the young people telling us when
they talk about bitches and ho's, motherfuckers and niggahs and
Well Walt, they are not telling us anything. I
don't want to follow kids. I don't even want them to drive the bus
or sit in the seat where Rosa Parks sat. Let's be honest. Adults
lead movements. Young people lead movements when they have an
ideology, so my hat will always go off to a young Fidel and Che. I
will always respect the members of SNCC who risked their lives to
help black people in the South obtain the power to vote. Those
young people had a worldview and a commitment to service. They
also listened to people like Ella Baker.
Without adults taking the lead you can't move
forward. The Lost Generation is us, Walt. Folks who are in their
50s. We are the Lost Generation, not our children. We have
witnessed the decline of our communities as a result of violence
and drugs. Of course, we could also be in Sierra Leone or Liberia,
looking down the barrels of guns held by 12 and 14 year olds.
Well, in some places in the United States we do. I don't expect a
14 year old to lead Africa and I don't expect a 12 year old to
lead D.C. or Philadelphia.
When he was the leader of Tanzania, Nyerere
said that if you want immediate change you must change the
behavior of adults and not children. I named my son after the man
because he was smart. You can't hand over the leadership of the
race to children. When I went to those old socialist countries
many years ago and sat down with "youth" from around the
world, many of the people were in their late 30s.some were even in
Do you remember when a "young" writer
was a middle-aged person? Hip Hop messed with our age. The motion
of everything speeded up and we've lost control. We don't want to
admit it because too many of us want to be hip and sing the latest
songs and wear cool clothes.
The absence of dialogue in a community is also
an indication of the absence of ideology. Men and women give us
ideas, not children. We give children our ideas and values, and we
hope they will build a better foundation from our lives and wisdom
instead of destroying things. I remember my father going to work
during the early days of graffiti in New York. Here was a hard
working man who sat on a subway train and knew something was
changing and not for the best.
I remember my father on his few days off,
polishing his black Dodge, outside our housing project. This was
one of his few joys in life. Now, I open the newspapers every day
and somewhere in the world a young person is burning a car. It's
my father's car. And when I look at the pictures of young,
laughing faces and flames around their grins, I think of the cars
of our fathers.
Our children are also burning. Maybe in the
midst of chaotic joy their clothes trapped a spark. I was always
reminded not to play with fire. I was taught this by the adults in
my house. Now we are fumbling trying to pass a torch to another
generation, and the words burn, baby, burn take on a new meaning.
February 17, 2006
To turn EVIL backwards is to LIVE
* * *
E, I have received
your response to Mosley's "A New
Black Power ."
On the whole I like your common sense view of things.
I am not sure yet
what age group Mosley is making reference to when he speaks of
black youth, whether he's thinking of 14 year olds or 24 year
olds. I think that makes a difference.
I have had Mosley's
essay for over a week now and I have yet to read The
Matter of fact, I have never read Mosley, neither his novels nor
his book of essays. He has never turned me on in any particular
way so that I'd be encouraged to read him. It's probably a shame.
But he's probably not the only black writer that I have been
reluctant to read.
I also agree with
you, though I have not read Mosley, but rather about him, that he
is not a political thinker, but rather a concerned black citizen
who is dissatisfied with the status quo of present electoral
politics. I am going to read "A New
Black Power ."
I'm sure I will sympathize greatly with his measure of
dissatisfaction of the status quo of Republicrats.
I did read a small
review of his latest book of essays in which the reviewer says
that Mosley called for a black political party. I was impressed by
that progressive thinking. I had called for the same thing last
fall and, of course, I was ignored, and, of course, I think he
will on the whole be ignored for his politics also.
But Mosley is
probably as qualified as West or Gates or Dyson or other
black preachers with doctorate degrees, that is, to be a
public intellectual. They tell me that there's money in it, that
is, opportunity. And I suppose we have enough room for one
more opportunist in the field of black politics. He seems to be
making the rounds. I saw his image today, dressed in a long black coat
and black hat, in the recent Crisis magazine
(NAACP). Very spiffy!
But I promise you I
will read Mosley's the Nation
article, by and by. You can definitely conclude that I am more
interested in reading you than I am Mosley.—Rudy
* * *
I'm with Rudy in that
I haven't been particularly a fan of Walter Mosley's writing. This
isn't a knock against his writing ability I assure you; I'm simply
not much of a fan of crime or science fiction, interesting
considering my childhood love affair with comic books and horror
fiction. I thought that The Man in my Basement, Mosley's
attempt at existentialism, was mediocre at best. Give me The
Stranger or The Outsider instead. Of course, one of my
favorite of contemporary novelists happens to be Walter Kirn,
which is perhaps indicative of my immature reading interests.
Still, I was
gravitated to the essay in question because of Mosley's call for a
Black political party.
I do recall Rudy expressing this months ago, and yes, the response
was lukewarm at best. I'm surprised that the Right has yet to dig
their fangs into Mosley's plea. Can you imagine a Black political
party? How divisive! How anti-white working class! How racist! How
I wrote an essay
regarding the need for a new party led by the interest of blacks
sometime before my 20th birthday. It was originally a
letter to then Congressional Black Caucus president Elijah
Cumming, right after the CBC decided to strong arm Nader. To me it
is all common sense; we just get bogged down by the bullshit. Of
course, I got no response from the CBC. Just another letter from
yet another angry, young black male.
I agree with Rudy
that it makes a difference as to whether Mosley is referring to 14
year olds or 24 year olds. I assume that E is being facetious when
he writes that he doesn't want a 12 year old to lead D.C. or
Philly. I don't want that either. Of course, one can suppose that
they might fare at least as poorly as the present day
And almost anything
might be an improvement over Bush, who often at least appears to
have the mental development of a 12 year old. Let's assume that
"young people" is that age between 16 and 24. In
Maryland, this is the age group used most often in reference to
young people, statistically speaking. Of course, I am in this
group. So I might be sensitive to these matters. I am fallible.
And so when it is
said that without adults taking the lead, we can't move forward,
I'm not sure how to respond. It doesn't appear that we are moving
forward right now, and I don't think anyone in leadership is
younger than 50. It is clear that we are digressing if anything.
Yes, it is true that ideas and values are transmitted to the
succeeding generation. I think Mosley is referring to this
exchange when he speaks of the elders' fumbling. What values and
ideas are being reproduced?
and commitment to service? This is doubtful. The 50 and over crowd
had King and X; I was given Sharpton and Jackson. And we wonder
why the spiraling has occurred. Opportunism and indifference to
the status quo of Republicrats – thanks for the lovely
terminology Rudy – seems more like what was truly handed down.
But I don't know. Let
me learn my place instead. I am no one's leader. I don't have an
ideology. I prefer my moral compass instead. As Baldwin said, one
must find their own moral center and move through the world hoping
that it will guide them true. There's no need to hand the
leadership of the race to a group of children, as the current
leadership is doing a fine job of masquerading as adolescents.
The statement that
hip hop messed with our age seems to carry some prejudice to me. I
don't know though, it is late. Hip hop did nothing to alter what
it meant to be a young writer. Mailer was 25 when he published the
Naked and the Dead; Vidal was 19 or 20 for Williwaw.
Capote was at the New Yorker in his teens. More recently,
Easton Ellis was 19 for Less Than Zero. All privileged
white men. And Shelley was a pup when she wrote Frankenstein.
Literature is ripe with the accomplishments of the young, way
before the seeds for hip hop were ever sewn.
Mosley does raise
valid questions. Why aren't the major thinkers amongst the youth
distinguished from the thugs? Are the differences between a Common
or Andre 3000 or Mos Def not pronounced enough to distinguish them
from 50 Cent and the gang that raps "Laffy Taffy?" I
don't mean to imply that those three are major thinkers, but they
aren't exactly 50 Cent, either.
And so we come full circle. Is there a dread of
our young people, as Mosley suggests? Perhaps. This I know: there
isn't much left for us to destroy. Our task isn't to build upon,
but to rebuild. And it is an ambitious task. I don't mean to be
doom and gloom. But I do think that the buck is being handed down
to my generation. The debt. The massive inequality that continues
to grow. The mass incarceration. The miseducation. All the
problems but few ideas on how to actually solve them. No
direction. So Mosley is right that we must take the reigns.
If not us, then who?
My grandfather and I have the greatest of relationships and we are
a generation or two apart. He is my greatest influence. He served
in the Korean War. He's what I jokingly refer to as a blue-collar
scholar and he's all but given up on his peers. Too set in their
ways, he says. But this is just one man's opinion. Perhaps the
majority possesses the progressive thinking of a Rudy Lewis or my
grandfather. Or maybe they all fell apart like the Berlin Wall or
became Republicans and Democrats, as Mr. Miller suggests.
In Baltimore, when
the public school system was in debt and began firing teachers to
alleviate said debt, it was the students that were leading the
demonstrations. 14 and 16 year olds. They inherited a debt and
tried to do something about it. The children are most certainly
burning. But the mothers and fathers burned long ago.—Rodney
Rodney D. Foxworth, Jr.
Associate Editor, LiP magazine
cultural journalist & freelance writer
Ronald E. McNair Scholar
Ph.: (410) 978-0045
* * *
Thanks so much, Rudy, for sharing E's essay.
I think we met once out in the Bay Area—SF—at an
affair for Sylvia Wynter. I've read Mosley's essay. You
are right to welcome another voice into the
mix—preacher, philosopher or not. I think the Hip Hop
Convention also laid out a credible agenda that could
inform this discussion and Mosley's position. It was
published in www.blackcommentator.com.
I probably have it in a file. Let me know if you want it.
I don't agree totally with E that (some) youth
don't bring something—so I'm not lumping all the youth in the
single (car burners) category. Your point about the age of
the young people is important—likewise—their experience. Let's
not do a "Bill Cosby" on the young folks. Like
most stuff it's complex. Ella Baker's role with SNCC youth was not
just as a leader but she taught the youth in a very
particular way how to draw out their own thoughts and
capabilities. That kind of teaching is sorely needed and
something we need to be passing along as well.
One line I remember from Mosley's essay asks
why we (older heads) are listening to the Blues and not Hip
Hop—or something like that. I think there is definitely a need
for dialogue for the "torch" to be passed. E is
absolutely right about that. My kids are in their thirties (a
school principal and a physician) and I can say I learn from
their experiences all the time. But keeping communication open
means they can come to me for an interpretation of their
experience that draws on mine. I don't know if Mosley is just out
to make a buck.
I've read his fiction and I enjoy his work.
This is not his first non-fiction, political-oriented foray.
I think he has another book of essays, if I recall. The
character "Mouse"—an unrepentant career
criminal—and brother from the hood—is one of my favorite
characters. His line: "What you leave him wid me for, if you
didn't want him dead"—reminds me that "we" as a
people are comprised of many "types" of folks—whom we
may need from time to time. Endesha Mae Holland and Corretta Scott
King represent two very different women's experiences of the Civil
It's up to us not to forget the Endesha's and
the Mouses if we are to be a whole people following our own not
some other folks' ideology.
Cheers for you and E and "all of we"—Joyce
* * * *
Well...the wheel has come full circle. Now, pardon me,
but I must ramble as I do occasionally when I am excited
about something. I am writing a mile a minute—so pardon
What E has written is powerful and one of the most
honest pieces I have read by an elder statesman, so to
speak. I should like to contact him, perhaps even share
some of my film work with him. I have a feeling he may appreciate it. When I read what he
wrote—so simply and truthfully, I thought: "A voice of
reason. Thank god someone has had the guts to point a finger at
his own generation and take responsibility."
It is refreshing and encouraging to read what
older (50s and up) Black Americans are really feeling and
thinking. Meaning, as someone who is just now emerging from his
youth. (I just turned 30 Wednesday.) I can begin to see
the similarities, the shared sentiments that I have now with some
older and wiser artists, teachers, activists, etc,. - such as
yourself - who certainly benefit from having lived longer and
experienced more. But I can still see the other side of the coin.
The "Youth" that Mosley refers to is
probably anyone in my generation and below (meaning 35 and under).
It is rather general, but not really considering that my
generation mocks and ridicules serious thought or anything
"heavy" for fear of being "too serious" or not
being hip. It is actually a very American attitude, since
Americans have always been afraid of serious thoughts or
"serious" art or what have you.
My generation is the MTV generation for better
or for worse. Mutant Television Voices. We have been
literally brought up by Mass Media and now we are part of that
awful machine and there are serious frictions amongst us; which is
why we are so fragmented and hard to organize. I am speaking
about my generation overall (black, white, Asian, etc.).
What I am aware of, and what scares me still is
that Mosley is not saying anything new or different, necessarily,
than what many other frustrated and concerned (and conscious)
Black Americans would say. But his call to arms is simply bouncing
back within itself, as if caught in an echo chamber.
When August Wilson made his "The
Ground on Which I Stand
" speech in the mid 1990s, it roused and divided.
Great! That is what we need. However nothing came of it. And if
you remember in that little memory piece I wrote about Wilson. I
met him in person and told him I was trying hard to realize his
manifesto. And he thought I was nuts. And he didn't take me
serious cause I was young, and alone.
E is write about young activists and minds
challenging and inspiring and taking action (Che, Panthers, SNCC,
etc.). But what no one understands simply because they are not
exposed to it is that very few of the younger cats nowadays feel
confident to take anything into their own hands. I have battled
this alone within my art for years.
The past ten years I have been an independent,
underground artist who always ran into problems with collaborators
of his own age and group because of the zeal I often had - which
was real and honest. It was the only thing I had going for me. I
know most of the activist groups in NYC and of those that
"Young" people subscribe to. They are simply
trying to regurgitate the past, rather than building upon it,
being inspired by it and forcing something new.
That is a serious problem. This generational
conflict and misunderstanding is huge and there are many
opportunists who are faking the funk - they need this level of
disease and shattered communication - or else they wouldn't exist.
E's response and thoughts were quite profound,
I thought. I must tell you lately I have been reading more and
more thought-provoking statements through ChickenBones than
anywhere else in the world. The cross section it has is always
great, but I am getting very deepened by the real thought and
honesty and pointed accuracy of what Sharif
or E have written lately.
Thank you for passing this on to me and not
forgetting me. Hope you are staying warm and keeping your spirit
Berlin is cold and frothing over the
celebrities at the Berlinale. The tensions between the Europeans
and the Arabs are increasing (I got into a scuffle with a couple
of Germans the other day and was bruised a bit, but the real shame
was that the Black woman I was talking to outside a barber shop
did not understand and could not see the parallels of what is
happening between the Anglo and the Arab and the entire history
of, say, Black Americans and White Americans. But I digress and
that is another story completely)
My wife is well. And it is time I get down to
the theater. I have a class to teach.
Peace to you and I will check out E's website.—Dennis Leroy Moore
* * *
re-reading Walter Mosley's piece "A New Black
Power," I think the main point he makes is that the
liberal-left (or the Democratic Party as a whole) has
fumbled the cup, and so now we have to do something
dramatic. In squandering the great gains of the civil
rights and Black Power era, the American Left has offered
to the Right a whole generation of young people. In other
words, a whole generation has been taken out of politics,
which has made the Right's triumph possible.
I've been teaching Black youth at the college level for
the past 16 years, in both Detroit and New York.
It never ceases to amaze me
how quick most young people are to dive into Margaret Walker, DuBois, Fanon, Baraka, Angela Davis, the speeches of Maurice
Bishop and the writings of Langston Hughes. They become political
in less than 3 weeks of reading. Then they want to know what to do
about it, about this new consciousness.
In my opinion, the problem that Mosley hits on the head is that
the older generation has left the Political. This is a complex
story that needs to be told, and I'm not the one to tell it. I can
only comment on what I've experienced the past 20 years in higher
education. In short, the Political has been replaced by the
Cultural. This is Mosley's great insight, I think: that the older
generation got what they needed from the 1960s and 70s anti-racist
and anti-imperialist movements, which was a place for themselves
in the society, however unstable that place is. And this place is
not a political place, it is a cultural place.
The college campuses today are completely barren politically.
Contrast this to the 1980s when it was hard to find a campus that
was not up in arms about apartheid in South Africa, U.S.
imperialism in Central America, and the Israeli occupation of
Palestine. These movements were powerful and they put local
leaders in office at the city and state and even national levels.
Jesse Jackson won the Democratic Primary in Michigan convincingly
in 1988, behind the power of these student movements.
So I think this is what Mosley is arguing for—a simple return to
the unfinished business of the 1970s and 80s, when to be Political
was what everyone was about, not being Cultural. To be Cultural is
easy and it only pleases the ruling class.
In this way, Mosley is right to ask, Who is leading our youth
today? What is really happening on college campuses across the
country? What are teachers and professors actually teaching their
students? Are they showing them how to be Political? Are they
teaching how to take power?—Jonathan
* * * *
generation gap is something that I've had to grapple with
both personally and intellectually as of late. Rudy is
right to suggest that we are facing a consciousness
crisis, not a generational one. It is easy to be caught up
in what may be termed as "generational warfare."
We are always told to pull our pants up, and our peers
aren't the ones admonishing us. But this is trivial
really. Communication can solve for these sorts of small
matters. We are all susceptible to stereotyping.
equals complacent, arrogant and preachy; youth equals
disrespectful, crass, and uncritical. I've only had positive, meaningful
exchanges with my grandfather and people like Rudy and Miriam.
And I can relate to Dennis' feeling of alienation amongst his
peers. But we have to be careful not to make this a generation
thing. I'm not sure that, on the whole, the 50 and over crowd is
any more conscious or sacrificing than the 35 and under crew. Any
difference is negligible.
I am reminded of
Norman Podhoretz and his criticism of Baldwin that he spoke not as
a Negro but as an American social critic. Baldwin said that we
didn't want to be integrated into a burning house; Podhoretz
countered that many Negroes would be content with a healthy
helping of the American pie.
Russell Simmons, the
millionaire hip-hop impresario, made a similar comment when
praising Michael Steele, the black Republican running for U.S.
senate in Maryland. He suggested that, if not for economic
inequity—that is, blacks not getting their fair of the
pie—blacks would probably be overwhelmingly Republican. There is
a kernel of truth here. I'm not sure we—and by we, I mean the
many—are concerned with American imperialism, global
exploitation, or smugness.
These concerns are
generally associated with dissidents against the status quo, not
those that are complacent. And we are complacent. Hence, the
consciousness crisis. John Hope Franklin said that we are an
indifferent, uncaring people on Charlie Rose. Very blunt and very
This level of
indifference and non-consciousness has strands in every
generation. We just want a piece of the American pie, no matter as
to whether or not it was ripped from the hands of an Iraqi or
African or South American child. This doesn't speak well of our
willingness to sacrifice.
I think that the
relatively few numbers of us who might be described as conscious
ought not to be bogged down by this drivel of a generational
conflict. We need to start communicating and exchanging ideas. We
should learn from one another.
My experiences as a young,
black male in Baltimore might differ from Rudy's. We might not
make the same conclusions but this is where the communication
takes place. The exchange. We all have things to offer that are
born of our distinct experiences. I'm done with my brief spiel.
posted 18 February 2006
* * *
Walter Mosley on Writing
I didn’t start off writing
detective novels. The first thing I wrote was Gone Fishin’,
which is Easy Rawlins and Mouse, but it wasn’t a detective
novel. I sent it out, and everybody said to me, "Well, it’s good
writing, but who’s going to read this?" And I go, "What do you
mean?" Said, "Well, you know, white people don’t read about
black people. Black women don’t like black men. And black men
don’t read. So who’s going to read your book?" And so, you know,
I accepted it. A lot of people, their first book, don’t get
So I went back, and I wrote
another book about Easy and Mouse, but this time it was a
mystery. And everybody was like, "Wow! That’s great! A black
detective!" One guy actually said, "But, you know, there already
is a black detective." And I said, "Well, you know, there’s a
whole bunch of white detectives." And he goes, "I don’t see what
you mean by that." But that worked.
And then it worked in ways
that I didn’t expect, because everybody reads mysteries, and
they don’t care who the detective is. They care about the
mystery itself. And then a world gets revealed throughout that.
You know, that starts with Sherlock Holmes. You know, he kind of
reveals the whole empire through those short stories. And so, I
just said, "Wow! This is really great. This is working. I’m
getting all kinds of people to read this book." And, you know,
and that’s really wonderful. . . .Well, you know, I’ve always
been really bad in school. I can’t study anything I’m not
interested in, or that I don’t—I can’t see a direct reason for
studying it. And that was always a really bad thing. I always
tell people that, you know, if you—well, if you come to, like, a
young black woman and she’s going to be a writer, she’ll
say—you’ll say, "Who influenced her?" And she’ll say, "Well,
Phillis Wheatley and Zora Neale Hurston and Alice Walker and
Toni Morrison and Edwidge Danticat and Zadie Smith." She’ll say
names to you that will make you put her in higher esteem. You
know, you’re going to be like Toni Morrison.
The truth is, you learn how
to read when you’re a kid. Who influenced you was Nancy Drew,
right? If you read Beloved at the age of eight, you would either
kill yourself or your mother, right? You know, I mean, you’d
say, "Mom, I read this book, and I don’t buy it. You know, so
one of us has to go." I mean, that’s what you would say. You
have to be an adult. But when you learn how to read, you’re a
child. You love literature. It’s real. You really experience it.
Your imagination is the most powerful it will ever be. You’re
closer to your unconscious than you will ever again be. So you
read these things that are not great literature, as E.M. Forster
talks about in his book about writing. But you take the things
that you love, and you make them into something.
So, like I’m really
influenced by the stories my father told about his childhood.
I’m very influenced by comic books: Jack Kirby and Stan Lee and
Marvel Comics really kind of structured my life. Later on, you
know, I read Gabriel García Márquez and Albert Camus and André
Malraux, and they influenced me. But the big thing was, you
know, the Fantastic 4 when I was a kid.—
* * *
* * *
The Warmth of Other Suns
The Epic Story of America's Great
By Isabel Wilkerson
Ida Mae Brandon Gladney, a
sharecropper's wife, left Mississippi
for Milwaukee in 1937, after her cousin
was falsely accused of stealing a white
man's turkeys and was almost beaten to
death. In 1945, George Swanson Starling,
a citrus picker, fled Florida for Harlem
after learning of the grove owners'
plans to give him a "necktie party" (a
lynching). Robert Joseph Pershing Foster
made his trek from Louisiana to
California in 1953, embittered by "the
absurdity that he was doing surgery for
the United States Army and couldn't
operate in his own home town." Anchored
to these three stories is Pulitzer
Prize–winning journalist Wilkerson's
magnificent, extensively researched
study of the "great migration," the
exodus of six million black Southerners
out of the terror of Jim Crow to an
"uncertain existence" in the North and
Midwest. Wilkerson deftly incorporates
sociological and historical studies into
the novelistic narratives of Gladney,
Starling, and Pershing settling in new
lands, building anew, and often finding
that they have not left racism behind.
The drama, poignancy, and romance of a
classic immigrant saga pervade this
book, hold the reader in its grasp, and
resonate long after the reading is done.
* * * *
The 5th Inning by E. Ethelbert Miller
The 5th Inning is poet and literary
activist E. Ethelbert Miller's second memoir. Coming after
Fathering Words: The Making of An
African American Writer
(published in 2000), this book finds Miller returning to
baseball, the game of his youth, in order to find the
metaphor that will provide the measurement of his life.
Almost 60, he ponders whether his life can now be entered
into the official record books as a success or failure.
The 5th Inning is one man's examination
of personal relationships, depression, love and loss. This
is a story of the individual alone on the pitching mound or
in the batters box. It's a box score filled with
remembrance. It's a combination of baseball and the blues.
To see a clip of Ethelbert reading
The 5th Inning click here:
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Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in
By Melissa V.
According to the
author, this society has historically exerted
considerable pressure on black females to fit into one
of a handful of stereotypes, primarily, the Mammy, the
Matriarch or the Jezebel. The selfless
Mammy’s behavior is marked by a slavish devotion to
white folks’ domestic concerns, often at the expense of
those of her own family’s needs. By contrast, the
relatively-hedonistic Jezebel is a sexually-insatiable
temptress. And the Matriarch is generally thought of as
an emasculating figure who denigrates black men, ala the
characters Sapphire and Aunt Esther on the television
shows Amos and Andy and Sanford and Son, respectively.
points out how the propagation of these harmful myths
have served the mainstream culture well. For instance,
the Mammy suggests that it is almost second nature for
black females to feel a maternal instinct towards
As for the source
of the Jezebel, black women had no control over their
own bodies during slavery given that they were being
auctioned off and bred to maximize profits. Nonetheless,
it was in the interest of plantation owners to propagate
the lie that sisters were sluts inclined to mate
* * *
Sex at the Margins
Migration, Labour Markets and the Rescue Industry
By Laura María Agustín
This book explodes several myths: that selling sex is completely different from any other kind of work, that migrants who sell sex are passive victims and that the multitude of people out to save them are without self-interest. Laura Agustín makes a passionate case against these stereotypes, arguing that the label 'trafficked' does not accurately describe migrants' lives and that the 'rescue industry' serves to disempower them. Based on extensive research amongst both migrants who sell sex and social helpers, Sex at the Margins provides a radically different analysis. Frequently, says Agustin, migrants make rational choices to travel and work in the sex industry, and although they are treated like a marginalised group they form part of the dynamic global economy. Both powerful and controversial, this book is essential reading for all those who want to understand the increasingly important relationship between sex markets, migration and the desire for social justice. "Sex at the Margins rips apart distinctions between migrants, service work and sexual labour and reveals the utter complexity of the contemporary sex industry. This book is set to be a trailblazer in the study of sexuality."—Lisa Adkins, University of London
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(Books, DVDs, Music)
update 5 March 2012