Why are race-related conversations such an uncomfortable topic for everyone? Is it because we are all well-aware that racism is still alive? Does that fact fill us to the brim with dread and shame? Does that fact in turn make our faith in humanity take a dive into a sea of hopelessness? Black history month is a good excuse to push through discomfort and talk about race and how complex it can be.
Books like More than enough help us with the language, and arguments for boldly speaking about race in ways not many people think of.
Here are 5 questions from the book of the week, More Than Enough – Claiming space for who you are (no matter what they say).
I’ve been looking at blackness like it was a prty that I didn’t get the invite to. Like it was a dance that someone forgot to teach me.More Than Enough – Elaine Welteroth
1 – “They want our rhythm, but not our blues”
Black culture appropriation is rampant. Its easy to pick and choose small shiny parts of a whole but the fact is, despite most people’s appreciation of things deemed culturally “black”, nobody wants to talk about black issues. The fact that this topic is awkward to read about, and hear about is the dark undercurrent of a racist society. More than enough exposes that in a very informative and eloquent way, you can definitely tell she’s a journalist considering how much knowledge she packs into her story.
… but I’ve learned that as much as it is our shared history and a pride and culture that connects us, being part of the black experience is being bonded by the painful and sometimes violent experience of exclusion.More Than Enough – Elaine Welteroth
2 – Why black people need each other.
More Than Enough speaks about the importance of having a community of people that physically look like you. When yet another racist event happens, nobody can understand you like a black community does. Instead of being accused of “playing the race card” you can be meant with empathy and understanding if you choose the right people. She doesn’t promote separatism, she simply accentuates the important of having a diversely represented community around you for when you need it.
I was never black enough for the black kids, and never white enough for the white kids.More Than Enough – Elaine Welteroth
3 – Bi-racial kids get double the racism.
This fact stings because I’m the mother of two biracial boys. Already, I hear so many jokes and comments from both sides of the family. Already, asked me what the word “mundele” means and why some of my family members always call him that. It means “white” in Lingala, which accentuates his lighter complexion compared to the rest of his African relatives. From distasteful jokes like “checkerboard baby” to “your baby looks white” the race comments are already pouring in early. In More Than Enough, Welteroth shares her (and her brothers) experience growing up biracial and how she felt a little bit ostracized from both sides due to constant comments and racial slurs making her feel like she doesn’t quite belong in either group. I learned a lot and corrected some of my own mistakes as well, and am thankful for the heightened awareness to issues I was completely ignorant to before.
For generations we have been inundated with messages demanding that we view beauty and femininity through eurocentric lens.More Than Enough – Elaine Welteroth
4 – Black beauty, the horse in the room.
Are lighter skinned women more beautiful than darker skinned women to you? It’s ok if you believe that they are, in fact you’re a part of the majority. We are being brainwashed, as we speak! We’ve been conditioned to associate darker skin with negative attributes and lighter skin with more positive ones. The weirdest part is? It’s nearly universal. Black women have been classified as the least attractive women in the world according to very racist studies that were actually conducted! The hate isn’t made up. The world has a black hating problem and black people are often the targeted for all of the ridicule and careless discrimination that comes with racism. In More Than Enough Welteroth Challenges these internalized beliefs often and encourages readers to do the same.
Choosing to own my blackness as a biracial woman felt like a powerful response to a deeply racist world. I began igniting deeper conversations with people in my life around the topics of race and identity. Even if it made some of them uncomfortable.More Than Enough – Elaine Welteroth
5 – Speak up!
I wonder how many people are going to unsubscribe if I start talking about race-related issues? why did my brain go there? What makes me believe that the topic of race is so terrible that I will lose subscribers over it on the book blog that aims to share lessons learned from a large diverse array of non-fiction books. what part of my conditioning let me to believe that I would somehow be less likable if I spoke about issues that were very real to me? All of these are questions I would never have thought of asking myself if I hadn’t read this book
I felt myself blossoming, not just as a student, but as a woman of color finding my voice.More Than Enough – Elaine Welteroth
More Than Enough Has armored me with the courage to speak about race and to speak my truth no matter how difficult the words are to hear. My story matters and so does yours by remaining silent you are protecting a racist and oppressive system.
Thank you Elaine Welteroth.