Tag: Race

Trans Like Us

When Caitlyn Jenner came out as transgender in 2015, many commentators praised her bravery for claiming a truth that had been denied her at birth. At roughly the same moment, the story of Rachel Dolezal, the 37-year-old …

A Tapestry of Black Lives

James Baldwin’s legacy looms powerfully in this current moment. This may be all the more true for black writers. Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah, one of the contributors to Jesmyn Ward’s timely new anthology ...

Feeling like the Internet

What has the advent of the internet meant for the novel? Apart, that is, from its having opened a gaping time-sucking sinkhole at the center of culture? The sweet drip-feed of sentiment and savagery ...

When Stuart Hall Was White

I do not recall when I discovered that Stuart Hall was black. Growing up in Britain as neoliberalism first began to take shape under the rule of Margaret Thatcher, I found that Hall’s work helped me …

My Neighbor Octavia

For years, I knew Octavia E. Butler, the famed African American science fiction and fantasy writer, by her first name only. That was the way she introduced herself when I first met her back in the fall of 1999 ...

Police Brutality, a Horror Story

Victor LaValle’s new novella bridges the weird and the ordinary, and reveals the ordinary to be all the more terrifying. LaValle employs the paranormal not to reject reality, but to open a portal ...

Shadow-Dancing with Zadie Smith

There is a scene in Swing Time, the 1936 George Stevens musical that gives Zadie Smith her new novel’s title, in which Fred Astaire, through a series of comic mishaps, enrolls in a dance lesson with ...

Louise Erdrich’s Hard Facts

Early on in Louise Erdrich’s most recent novel, LaRose, the priest on the reservation articulates a worldview that encapsulates an enduring theme of this novelist’s work: “some people would try their ...

On Black Girlhood

The bikini-clad teen is thrown to the ground. An officer, his knee in her back, grabs her braids and slams her head into the grass. She cries, “Call my mama.” When other teens, leaving a pool party ...