Dan's Reviews > Incognegro

Incognegro by Mat Johnson
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's review
Jun 10, 2010

did not like it
bookshelves: comics-and-graphic-novels
Read in May, 2008

This has to be one of the most disappointing approaches to a painful subject in African-American history (the lynchings in the deep South) since Rosewood. Anyone who knows me will know that thoughts of that movie fill me with a potent rage.
"Incognegro" is about a light-skinned black reporter who "passes" for white to infiltrate lynch mobs. Apparently, it's based on an actual reporter from the 1920s who wrote for the Harlem papers. After dancing around this book and its execrable title, I caved in after I heard an interview with the author on "The Tavis Smiley Show."
It has an engaging storyline where the reporter tries to save his brother and friend from bloodthirsty bigots--and a different sort of "passing" that arose now and then (I won't reveal)--but for the most part, I felt as if I were watching a movie that is so infatuated with its importance that it doesn't bother with more nuance outside of trite coincidences and stereotypes. Though that title may be the worst thing about it, "Incognegro" manages to fall far short of its ambitions as a statement on a miserable aspect of our nation's past.
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09/05/2016 marked as: read

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message 1: by Evan (new)

Evan Wow, that's some title.

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