The Cycle co-host Touré's book "Who's Afraid of Post-Blackness? What It Means To Be Black Now" was released in its paperback version today. Be sure to grab a copy at your local bookstore and let us know what you think.
Below find a conversation with Touré about his book "Who's Afraid of Post Blackness? What It Means To Be Black Now."
What is the concept of post-Blackness? Post-Blackness is about broadening Black identity into infinity. The idea that Blackness is anything you want it to be. There's no way to narrow Blackness. People nowadays are rooted in but confined by Blackness. It has nothing to do with post-racialism which is naïve and psychologically impossible. In the Post-Black era people are allowed to be Black however they want to be. Skip Gates says if there are 40 million Black people there's 40 million ways of being Black. That's what I'm talking about.
What does it mean to be Black now? It means anything you want it to mean. And that freedom is crucial to Black people growing as humans. I once went skydiving, after Black people told me Black people don't do that. I did it and had the most spiritual experience of my life and came to a more clear relationship with God than I have ever had. If I hadn't done that because Blacks don't do that I would've cut myself off from growing as a human. What was your motivation for writing the book? I wanted to kill the ongoing discussion that some people are "legitimately" Black and some are not. I've heard this in the Black community and outside it for years. In college someone told me "You ain't Black" and it was very painful and made me take a hard look at myself and realize that they were wrong. But that was a painful epiphany. That moment was the genesis of this book. Who did you interview for the book? I interviewed 105 brilliant people who I thought would be able to speak eloquently about what it means to be Black. They include Skip Gates, Cornel West, Mike Dyson, Malcolm Gladwell, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Gov Paterson, Harold Ford, Sharon Pratt (the 1st female mayor of DC), Kara Walker, Kehinde Wiley, Glenn Ligon, Questlove, Mumia Abu-Jamal (by mail), Soledad O'Brien, Greg Tate, Stanley Crouch, Kamala Harris, Chuck D and many others. What experiences/comments of theirs most surprised you? I asked everyone what was the most racist thing that ever happened to them. This led to a deep discussion of racism now and in the past and how racism impacts people. In many cases, these moments were not incidental in people's lives, they were central and shaped the person they became. However, in most cases people said the most racist thing that ever happened to them was unknowable. It was something that happened that they were unaware of. This is frightening and it shapes people in funny ways. You know racism has had an impact on your life but you don't know quite how or in exactly what way. I did also get many people's stories about the most racist thing to ever happen to them and the stories are heartbreaking. Rev Jackson, Mike Dyson, Skip Gates and others tell harrowing stories about how racism has shaped their lives. Rev Jackson cried as he talked about an incident that led him to begin the activism we know him for. Racism transforms people.