For generations of African Americans, the struggle for civil rights and economic opportunity created a sense of common purpose — of what it meant to be black. In recent decades, however, blackness has become a much more fluid concept. That, at least, is what Toure contends in his new book, Who’s Afraid of Post-Blackness?
While I haven’t read the book personally, it definitely looks worth checking out, judging from the favorable reviews. A New York Times critic writes:
For all its occasional contradictions (why the put-down of the comedian Byron Allen for his Middle American cultural fluency?) and omissions (there is no consideration of the ways immigrant blacks and mixed-race people are contributing to post-black heterogeneity), this is one of the most acutely observed accounts of what it is like to be young, black and middle-class in contemporary America. Touré inventively draws on a range of evidence — autobiography, music, art, interviews, comedy and popular social analysis — for a performance carried through with unsparing honesty, in a distinctive voice that is often humorous, occasionally wary and defensive, but always intensely engaging.
A similarly positive review in Insight News concludes:
The diversity of insights and opinions and shared in this enlightening treatise leaves no doubt that, while a monolithic Black mindset might have served a very valuable purpose from the slave days right up through the triumphs of the Civil Rights Movement, there are now as many different ways to be Black as there are African-Americans. And if that’s the definition of post-Black, there’s obviously nothing to fear about it, so it’s time to blend inside the proverbial melting pot simply as unhyphenated Americans.
Has anyone read Toure’s book? What did you think?