A Measure of Belonging: Writers of Color on the New American South

Edited by Cinelle Barnes. Hub City, $16.95 trade paper (204p) ISBN 978-1-938235-71-9
“What constitutes being a Southerner? What constitutes being an American?” Each of the 21 contributors to this splendid assembly by memoirist Barnes (Malaya) reflect upon those two questions. They include both Northerners and native Southerners, as well as both first-generation Americans and immigrants. Some capture moments in time, such as the origins of the majorette tradition at historically black colleges, the impact of hip-hop music on generational identity, or familial memories of Klan terror. “Are you a Muslim?” Aruni Kashyap reports being asked by prospective landlords while apartment-hunting in Athens, Ga., reflecting, “I could say I am a Hindu and solve this problem.” Toni Jensen writes, “I’m Native, but I absolutely can pass,” while Ivelisse Rodriguez wrestles with racial identity queries at the DMV. Life in America for writers of color is not confined to race and ethnicity, the essays remind the reader. Jennifer Hope Choi describes living with an elder parent, Minda Honey learns “what it’s like to be an auntie,” Sonia Kamal deals with a miscarriage, and Latia Graham handles flooding on her family’s South Carolina farm. Totally engaging, this informing, thought-provoking collection is valuable for its vision of a South that is not monolithic. Agent: Noah Ballard, Curtis Brown. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 07/24/2020
Release date: 10/01/2020
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 978-1-938235-72-6
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