Monday, September 12, 2016

NEWSHOUR BOOKSHELF - "Invisible Man, Got the Whole World Watching"

"An author's aspirations in the time of Obama and Trayvon" PBS NewsHour 9/5/2016


SUMMARY:  In "Invisible Man, Got the Whole World Watching," Mychal Denzel Smith discusses what it's like growing up as a young black man in an era that saw the election of the first black president in America, as well as the killing of Trayvon Martin.  Smith sits down with Jeffrey Brown to discuss his new book.

JEFFREY BROWN (NewsHour):  “I started this book with the question, how did you learn to be a black man?”

That line comes from the new book titled “Invisible Man, Got the Whole World Watching:  A Young Black Man's Education.”

Author Mychal Denzel Smith is a contributing writer for “The Nation” and other publications.  This is his first book.

And welcome to you.

MYCHAL DENZEL SMITH, Author, “Invisible Man, Got the Whole World Watching”:  Thank you for having me.

JEFFREY BROWN:  Let's start with that question, how did you learn to be a black man?  Why was that the question?  Why was that still the question today?

MYCHAL DENZEL SMITH:  Well, so the book has its Genesis after George Zimmerman killed Trayvon Martin February 26, 2012.

After that event, we were having a conversation about the lives of black men in America, and particularly young black men and the experience of walking through a world that's still — where racism persists, and the judgment on the basis of stereotype has this effect where one's life could be taken.

And we were having a conversation about the talk that black parents would give to young black men about how to survive in this country, how to comport oneself with authorities.

JEFFREY BROWN:  How to behave.

MYCHAL DENZEL SMITH:  How to behave.

And what it did was, it was flattening the experience of what it is to be a young black man in America, and to say that that's the only thing that we have to concern ourselves with.  Like, it's a big deal to — continually to exist in a country that upholds racist ideas and racist structures, but the interior of black men's lives are a thing that we don't really talk too much about, right, the nuances of our experience.

Walking through racism is important, but how are we dealing with talking about patriarchy and misogyny and homophobia and class race elitism and mental illness?  We're not including these things in the narrative around young black men.

No comments: