Tag Archives: books

I am Not Sidney Poitier

not-sidney-poitier(Graywolf Press, 2009)

I was, in life, to be a gambler, a risk-taker, a swashbuckler, a knight. I accepted, then and there, my place in the world. I was a fighter of windmills. I was a chaser of whales. I was Not Sidney Poitier.

–from I Am Not Sidney Poitier

This is not a full review… that, my pretties, is still to come.  This is just a heads up on “I Am Not Sidney Poitier”, a forthcoming (May ’09) novel by Percival Everett.  According to the publisher, Graywolf Press:

“Not Sidney Poitier is an amiable young man in an absurd country. The sudden death of his mother orphans him at age eleven, leaving him with an unfortunate name, an uncanny resemblance to the famous actor, and, perhaps more fortunate, a staggering number of shares in the Turner Broadcasting Corporation.

Percival Everett’s hilarious new novel follows Not Sidney’s tumultuous life, as the social hierarchy scrambles to balance his skin color with his fabulous wealth. Maturing under the less-than watchful eye of his adopted foster father, Ted Turner, Not gets arrested in rural Georgia for driving while black, sparks a dinnertable explosion at the home of his manipulative girlfriend, and sleuths a murder case in Smut Eye, Alabama, all while navigating the recurrent communication problem:

“What’s your name?” a kid would ask.

“Not Sidney,” I would say.

“Okay, then what is it?”

Sounds like summer reading to me…..


Choosing Food

englewood-3

Yes, I love Englewood. I love the people because they refuse to quit.

I love the vacant lots because I can envision growth. I love the schools because I can envision a child learning to read and developing a love for knowledge. Block by block, Englewood shall rise and reclaim our children and community, and I love that too.

– Evelyn Johnson
Lindblom Park

from the Journal of Ordinary Thought, or JOT (Fall 2008), published by the Neighborhood Writing Alliance.

The Neighborhood Writing Alliance is an organization based at 60th Street that “provokes dialogue and promotes change by creating opportunities for adults in the inner city of Chicago to write, publish, and perform works about their lives”. They also publish the Journal of Ordinary Thought.  I am a fan.

Join them tomorrow night:

Choosing Foodscreening of the movie Soul Food.
Thursday, February 19th
Hull-House Museum
800 S Halsted
5:30-8:30pm.

After the movie screens, join activist LaDonna Redmond in a discussion on food and community. She’ll talk about her perspectives on the local food movement; the lack of diversity in dialogue about local, sustainable food; and the unavailability of fresh and healthy food in certain neighborhoods, including the “food deserts” on Chicago’s West and South sides.This event is free, but reservations are required. Please call NWA at 773-684-2742 or email rsoni@jot.org.


Book Review: More than just Race

(Norton Press, 2009)

more-than-just-race

According to William Julius Wilson, author of More Than Just Race: Being Black and Poor in the Inner City (in stores March 2009), “the disproportionate number of low-skilled black males in this country is one of the legacies of historical segregation and discrimination”.  This statement cuts cleanly the notion that class-ism is the new racism.  Racism’s shockwaves have not yet subsided.  The book’s title alludes to the notion that race for race’s sake is not the virus plaguing America: it is “structural forces” (that is, individual decisions and “the machinery” (law, policy, and institutional practices).

In this book, Wilson essentially alludes that when the fight for integration took precedence over the fight to end impoverished conditions, neighborhoods (and people) suffered dramatically.  They still do.

Class-ism is not the new Racism.  It has lingered with us since Jim Crow and was, perhaps, the heavyiest load of old guard racism.  In More than Just Race, Wilson quotes the late black economist Dr. Vivian Henderson as saying thirty years ago that “racism put blacks in their place, but changes in the modern economy make the place in which they find themselves more and more precarious”.

After the election of Obama, news sources nationwide asked, “It racism over?  Is this the earmark we’ve all been looking for?”  Wilson responds with this book.  Race alone is no longer the issue that divides us.  It is no longer nearly that simple.


No Coast, Schmo Coast…

timeout_12-08a bit about No Coast….(thanks, Time Out Chicago)

NOTE: I am all about…

1. Pilsen

2. Trippy-ass bookstores