Thursday, May 23, 2024

Seven books about Black people who pass as white

Kuchenga Shenjé is a writer, journalist, and speaker with work on media platforms including Stylist, British Vogue, and Netflix. She has contributed short stories and essays to several anthologies, most notably It's Not OK to Feel Blue (And Other Lies), Who's Loving You, and Loud Black Girls. Owing to a lifelong obsession with books and the written word, Kuchenga studied Creative Writing at The Open University. Her work is focused on the perils of loving, being loved, and women living out loud throughout the ages. Her debut The Library Thief, is the ultimate marriage of her passions for history, mystery, and rebels. Kuchenga lives in Manchester, where she is determined to continue living a life worth writing about.

At Electric Lit she tagged seven "stories that delve into race and identity in the U.S. and U.K." One title on the list:
Passing by Nella Larsen

The now seminal text portraying vignettes into the life of the ridiculously reckless Clare Kendry and the endlessly anxious Irene Redfield has captivated readers for a century. A sky-scraping achievement from a writer of the Harlem Renaissance, the queer coded depiction of a woman who uses her ability to pass as white to play in the face of a racist, will continue to be argued as an act of Black feminist defiance. Snatching racial privilege out of the mouth of the lion in the age of Gatsby which lasted only as long as it could. My mind remains made up, but I’ve never recovered from the “did she or didn’t she” of the last scene. Possibly the most perfect novella ever written.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue