Self-Portrait in Black and White: Unlearning Race
A reckoning with the way we choose to see and define ourselves, Self-Portrait in Black and White is the searching story of one American family's multi-generational transformation from what is called black to what is assumed to be white. Thomas Chatterton Williams, the son of a 'black' father from the segregated South and a 'white' mother from the West, spent his whole life...more
Challenging us as he challenges himself, and deftly navigating the minefield this topic is at this point in history and public discourse, ...more
This one, though, is a far more introspective and studious approach to the questions of race in America. It looks at the cruelty and unfairness of the racial divides, and the nebulousness of the belief that it is possible to delineate where, along that black-to-white ...more
Many thanks to W. W. Norton for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review
i'm not sure that i'll have anything valuable to add to the conversation of race. being white (well, white/latinx), i've been blessed to not had to face racism. that said, i really appreciate W. W. Norton sending me this!
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Williams is attempting to present a big truth about race that does not fit easily into familiar American historical narratives, and it also ...more
Thomas Chatterton Williams grew up in a bi-racial home. His mother was a white woman, the daughter of a conservative preacher who attended Wheaton College in Illinois. His father, a black man, grew up in the South. Williams grew up in the northeast and led, what some would call a privileged upbringing.
It sounds to me rather that he grew up ...more
"Self-Portrait wants to be two things at once: a call to arms against the constricting power of race as an identity, which Williams calls a “philosophical and imaginative disaster,” as well as a follow-up to his 2010 memoir, Losing My Cool. As such, the new book discusses his incredibly specific ...more
If you like memoirs about identity; ...more
It was difficult to make it through this...so I didn't.
The premise was fairly intriguing, but the execution was disappointing. Thomas and I have very different conclusions when it comes to race and while Thomas recognized that he holds a good amount of privilege (that affords him avoidance in this case), it still doesn't quite settle with me that he attempts to erase the concept of race.
Of course, race is a construct. But claiming that does not work to undo the ways race/racism are ...more
Fascinatingly, his ...more