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We Can't Breathe: On Black Lives, White…
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We Can't Breathe: On Black Lives, White Lies, and the Art of Survival (edição 2018)

por Jabari Asim (Autor)

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321586,275 (3.67)Nenhum(a)
"Asim disrupts what Toni Morrison [calls] the 'master narrative' and replaces it with a story of black survival and persistence through art and community in the face of centuries of racism. In eight ... essays, he explores such topics as the twisted legacy of jokes and falsehoods in black life; the importance of black fathers and community; the significance of black writers and stories; and the beauty and pain of the black body"--Front flap.… (mais)
Membro:JessGandy
Título:We Can't Breathe: On Black Lives, White Lies, and the Art of Survival
Autores:Jabari Asim (Autor)
Informação:Picador (2018), 208 pages
Colecções:A sua biblioteca
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We Can't Breathe: On Black Lives, White Lies, and the Art of Survival por Jabari Asim

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The message has been repeated for centuries, but never seems out of date – or heeded: racism needs to be addressed and dealt with. We Can’t Breathe, by Jabari Asim is another attempt to get that message through. Unfortunately, it is obscured by tangents and diversions.

It is both remarkable and typical that Americans do not see blacks as resources, as allies, or even as customers. Same goes for immigrants of any other color. Whites are entitled, and need no advice, consent, or help from anyone, anywhere. The president is their model.

The book starts out powerfully, as Asim details the endless ways blacks are held back in the United States, through history and still today. The title comes from an earlier work by Ronald Fair as well as Eric Garner’s pleas for his life as a white police officer choked him to death for selling individual cigarettes – which he wasn’t doing at the time.

It then takes a turn for normalcy. Asim grew up in St. Louis, in a large family, in a single family home, with loving, attentive parents. No one was an alcoholic or a drug addict. No one went to jail, no one got shot. He bought the house when his parents moved to smaller digs and kept the dream going as long as he could. Asim became an acclaimed journalist and author, and is a professor of writing and literature at Emerson.

Perhaps to demonstrate his chops, he analyzes and criticizes a number of black fiction authors, for their language, their treatment of blacks in their characters, and their degree of self-awareness. This long middle part of the book is both puzzling and worrying. After the fusillade that opened We Can’t Breathe, the bulk of the book is disappointingly laborious.

There is a lot on various blacks who were lynched or killed by police, but there are entire books that deal with those cases with far greater impact. There is also a lot on slaveowner attitudes and acts, which, to no one’s surprise, are reprehensible.

Asim comes back with both barrels blazing for the conclusion. He is at his literate and right-between-the-eyes best when he attacks racism from every angle. He bemoans the lack of active support from liberal whites, the waste of time at the hands of religion, and the sad institutionalization of racism and hatred by our elected officials, setting a horrific example for all.

Three stirring examples from the wrap-up:
“It seems that going high is an unfit response to say, rapacious private prisons, heartless Republican congressional policy, and 63 million Americans who voted for a racist demagogue. Instead of going high, we should be going everywhere.”
“If it makes sense to sometimes forgive as part of a larger political strategy, it does not function well as a method of advancing moral consciousness in the United States.”
“While honorable as a motive, moral suasion is ultimately insufficient as a tactic …. Religion, secular humanism, and atheism have all failed to instill anything like a moral culture in human beings.”

This is as straight as straight shooting can be. I’d love for everyone in the country to red those quotes. Would that there were more chapters like this and less about his Leave It To Beaver upbringing.

David Wineberg ( )
1 vote DavidWineberg | Aug 2, 2018 |
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"Asim disrupts what Toni Morrison [calls] the 'master narrative' and replaces it with a story of black survival and persistence through art and community in the face of centuries of racism. In eight ... essays, he explores such topics as the twisted legacy of jokes and falsehoods in black life; the importance of black fathers and community; the significance of black writers and stories; and the beauty and pain of the black body"--Front flap.

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