Cover image for When race becomes real : black and white writers confront their personal histories
When race becomes real : black and white writers confront their personal histories
Singley, Bernestine.
First edition.
Publication Information:
Chicago : Lawrence Hill Books, [2002]

Physical Description:
xvi, 335 pages : portraits ; 24 cm
Introduction / by Bernestine Singley -- Genesis. Race story / Jim Schutze. Crazy sometimes / Leonard Pitts, Jr. Experiences and memories / Robert Cole. The night I stopped being a negro / Les Payne. Son of the south / John Seigenthaler, Sr. Talking white / Kimberly Springer. Central Park samaritan / Natalie Angier. It all started with my parents / Lucy Gibson -- Fear and longing. Race, rage, and the Ace of Spades / Julianne Malveaux. To make them stand in fear / David Bradley. Passing / Theresa M. Towner. Black and white / Robert Jensen. For colored girls who have resisted homogenization when the rainbow ain't enough / Joycelyn K. Moody. Anatomy of a fairy princess / Patricia J. Williams. A rambling response to the play Marie Christine / Kalamu ya Salaam. Black, white, and seeing red all over / Shawn E. Rhea. Race fatigue / Ira J. Hadnot -- Exodus. Choosing to be black : the ultimate white privilege? / Beverly Daniel Tatum. White like me : race and identity through majority eyes / Tim Wise. Traveling with white people / Colleen J. McElroy. Race : a discussion in ten parts, plus a few moments of unsubstantiated theory and one inarguable fact / Kiini Ibura Salaam. A funky fresh talented tenth / Touré. On acting white : mother-daughter talk / Lisa Dodson and Odessa Dorian Cole. Country music / Susan Straight. One summer evening / Noel Ignatiev. Spelling lesson / Carlton Winfrey. Jasper, Texas elegy / Bernestine Singley. All souls : civil rights from Southie to Soweto and back / Michael Patrick MacDonald. Pictures in black and white / Hanna Griffiths.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E185.615 .W44 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Robert Coles, Beverly Daniel Tatum, Natalie Angier, Patricia J Williams, David Bradley, Lisa Dodson, Leonard Pitts, and Jim Schutze are just a few of the best-selling or award-winning writers who, in this deeply moving book, step from behind the curtain of objectivity to turn the race spotlight on themselves. This riveting collection of personal stories, all commissioned specifically for this book, reveals the racial hopes, fears, fury, and triumphs of black and white writers of all stripes. These are stories by writers who refuse to tiptoe around the issue, who don't wax nostalgic, preach sermons, or act as expert witnesses; in this book they are willing, for the first time, to bare their souls and tell the truth. Alternately invigorating, shocking, and inspiring, this is the first book to reveal what it really means to be black -- and to be white -- in the 21st century.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

In America, race is! And although it is a social construct with no real biological basis, it has real meaning to us as individuals. This book of essays and commentaries from black and white people of various ages, economic status, and sexual orientations focuses on the social imposition of race as a reality. The contributors recall how race as a reality was introduced into their lives, how it is forever present in their lives, and how it is negotiated, challenged, or ignored. The white man who grew up in the segregated South declines to apologize for racial attitudes but reflects a social reality that is grounded in the U.S. Other more liberal and radical whites face up to the privileges attendant on their racial status. Several black subjects seek not to be consumed by a racial identity that American society imposes on them. The essays, while rich in individual insights, collectively reflect the complexity of how American ideals of equality fall prey to the blindness of a colored history. --Vernon Ford

Choice Review

Of the many books about race and racism in the US, this is the first this reviewer has seen that approaches these fundamental issues entirely from the inside out, rather than the outside in. Most books on the US's toughest moral and material problem dissect it with little or no reference to the experiences and situations of the analysts. This is especially true for white writers on race. Yet here are 30 writers, white and African American, baring their lives and souls to give readers inside views on the color line crisscrossing every sector of society. Some commentators, especially the whites, provide intimately personal looks, often from racism-riddled childhoods, at how they came to be what they are--antiracist whites. Other writers focus on the present--most often, the black writers--and the continuing painfulness of racism. These amazing, original essays show how very personal the country's systemic racism really is, as it is lived at the local level and every day. Attorney and editor Singley's hard work in cajoling distinguished writers to bare their souls results in a rare book that ought to be in every home and library in the country. No index or bibliography. Essential. J. R. Feagin University of Florida

Table of Contents

Bernestine SingleyJim SchutzeLeonard Pitts, Jr.Robert ColesLes PayneJohn Seigenthaler, Sr.Kimberly SpringerNatalie AngierLucy GibsonJulianne MalveauxDavid BradleyTheresa M. TownerRobert JensenJoycelyn K. MoodyPatricia J. WilliamsKalamu ya Salaam and Marie ChristineShawn E. RheaIra J. HadnotBeverly Daniel TatumTim WiseColleen J. McElroyKiini Ibura SalaamToureLisa Dodson and Odessa Dorian ColeSusan StraightNoel IgnatievCarlton WinfreyBernestine SingleyMichael Patrick MacDonaldHanna GriffithsDerrick Bell
Introductionp. xi
I. Genesisp. 1
Race Storyp. 3
Crazy Sometimesp. 21
Experiences and Memoriesp. 29
The Night I Stopped Being a Negrop. 37
Son of the Southp. 51
Talking Whitep. 71
Central Park Samaritanp. 79
It All Started with My Parentsp. 87
II. Fear and Longingp. 99
Race, Rage, and the Ace of Spadesp. 101
To Make Them Stand in Fearp. 111
Passingp. 139
Black and Whitep. 143
For Colored Girls Who Have Resisted Homogenization When the Rainbow Ain't Enoughp. 159
Anatomy of a Fairy Princessp. 173
A Rambling Response to the Playp. 183
Black, White, and Seeing Red All Overp. 193
Race Fatiguep. 207
III. Exodusp. 213
Choosing to Be Black: The Ultimate White Privilege?p. 215
White Like Me: Race and Identity Through Majority Eyesp. 225
Traveling with White Peoplep. 241
Race: A Discussion in Ten Parts, Plus a Few Moments of Unsubstantiated Theory and One Inarguable Factp. 253
A Funky Fresh Talented Tenthp. 269
On Acting White: Mother-Daughter Talkp. 273
Country Musicp. 283
One Summer Eveningp. 291
Spelling Lessonp. 303
Jasper, Texas Elegyp. 307
All Souls: Civil Rights From Southie to Soweto and Backp. 317
Pictures in Black and Whitep. 323
Epiloguep. 327