Toni Morrison on Honorary Whiteness, etc

Comme d’habitude, Tayari’s blog had something quite interesting today – especially because today it involved Toni Morrison. *Pauses for angelic chorus* Anyway, if you aren’t familiar with her blog, you should bookmark it – I always enjoy it and it’s a very engaging glimpse of one writer/teacher/mentor’s career (not to mention travels!).

Of course, I’m posting the video here for your enjoyment. It’s something that can be so obvious an obstacle (so to speak) to those of us who have no choice but to be familiar with it and at the same time, I’m sure, can be foreign to someone whose experience does not include it. Which is how we’ll always be able to track where and when a “postracial” era begins. If my experience is a mystery, we’re further from that then if you simply hadn’t moved to change it.

As I commented on Tayari’s blog, I know that many Black Americans – particularly those of us who were nurtured down a particular academic course or have had the occasion to be mentored in some talent – have been “complimented” in a way that delivered us from the stereotype. Leaving the stereotype intact. I’ve had boys tell me I’m not “really like other Black girls, you know”. I’ve had teachers/professors insist that I shouldn’t “restrict” myself by writing “only” Black characters – and by the way, show me a Black writer who honestly does… moreso it’s a question of the world being whitewashed, not the other way around. I, personally, have no interest in segregation. But I also have no interest in being an exception. First of all because how could I be and secondly because how offensive and telling that anyone would think that a compliment. In short, I’m not anything I am in spite of being Black. Or female. Mostly Black. 🙂 I like it. It’s intriguing. It’s engaging. I’m gonna write about it. I shouldn’t have to not be Black American for other Americans to honor their national and cultural heritage to recognize how meaningful that story is. And I can’t wait for another young girl – and hopefully she won’t have to be Black – to read Cora in The Momentary Light Afflictions and have a strong reaction or opinion of her own. Okay, so I guess the woman side of it is a big deal to me, too. 🙂


2 thoughts on “Toni Morrison on Honorary Whiteness, etc

  1. You know I understand this, as I’ve always been told by the black guy who “doesn’t date black women” that he would date me…and I’m supposed to feel how?!


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