Critical Linking

Contemporary Fiction for Your Antiracist Reading Lists: Critical Linking, June 4, 2020

Critical Linking is a daily roundup of the most interesting bookish links from around the web.

“For those who have not been on the receiving end of the systemic violence of racism, and who are therefore responsible for dismantling it, the work begins with listening to the voices and experiences of those who have. For those who are subject to anti-Blackness every day, it can be valuable to see your experience reflected and understood. Either way, fiction offers a rich medium through which to explore themes as complex and weighty as navigating white supremacy as a Black person in contemporary America. If you’re looking to dive deeper into this subject, seeking either kinship or education, consider one of the following novels or story collections by contemporary Black authors who tackle it head on. “

These works of fiction confront the destructiveness of anti-Blackness. Add them to your antiracist reading lists, too.

“As we mourn and seek justice for the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Nina Pop and Tony McDade (to name but a few), many black people such as myself are wondering: what will happen when the news cycle is over, the social justice memes are no longer posted, and the declarations for inclusivity, diversity and “doing the work” have died down? What happens when white people, momentarily awoken from the comfortable slumber of white privilege by this moment of unignorable protest, go back to sleep? How do we actually create an anti-racist world and rid ourselves of this sickness and system of white supremacy, when the people who benefit from it are not showing up to do the work?”

Layla F, Saad, the author or Me and White Supremacy, asks the questions we should all be asking ourselves.

“I love stories about women taking care of each other, or failing to take care of each other. I think that’s also why I like stories about sisterhood or sisters. I think in The Mothers there’s a chosen sisterhood that emerges and in this one there’s a biological one. So I think that’s something that I just in general enjoy as a reader or as a viewer when I’m watching things. I think that the relationships you have with your mother are so foundational. There are ways in which we are shaped so dramatically in who we are or who we become. Whether it’s in reaction to who our mothers are or whether it’s us embracing whatever it is that we’ve inherited from them. I think that there’s so much in that relationship that relates to these questions about identity that I was interested in. The question of how do we become who we are? I think a lot of that can be traced to our relationships with our mothers, whether they’re good or bad or somewhere in between.”

Can’t wait to read the new Brit Bennett.