Beyond the Whiteness-CL

Jane Lazarre, Author, Jane Lazarre, Author, Jaime Manrique, Author Duke University Press $69.95 (168p) ISBN 978-0-8223-1826-2
""I think of the Black bodies which are the closest bodies to me in the world, and then... I imagine black bodies made to seem mysterious, threatening, holders of nightmares,"" says Lazarre in this unorthodox book that combines her experiences and observations as a white wife and mother in a black family living in a white world. If this sounds complicated, that's because it is. Lazarre (The Mother Knot) is acutely aware of her skin color and it is her heightened awareness that allows her to perceive black racism in this country so clearly, and more acutely than most whites. But as her sons gently inform her, she can never really know what it's like to be black, and so she doesn't try: instead, she gives her white, Jewish, woman's perspective on the racism she has noted in society, and also within herself. The result is a compassionate, compelling outpouring of anecdotal family stories and confessionals--and a brief but fascinating analysis of O.J. Simpson--that fine-tune the reader's awareness to racism in everyday life. Lazarre's voice is artful and measured, like a friend's, and her prose is thick with images one might expect from the director of the New School's writing program. Though a mere 138 pages, Beyond the Whiteness of Whiteness provides substantial food for thought for both white and black perspectives on the murky issue of race in America. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/01/1996
Release date: 07/01/1997
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