For today’s Friday Reads, I would like to share about an author whom has shaped American’s lives, and probably lives of others, Toni Morrison. There are a lot of popular books by Toni Morrison: Beloved, The Bluest Eye, A Mercy, and many others. She received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993.
Although today’s post is about Toni Morrison, it is also about immersion. By immersing yourself into something, whatever that might be, you bring things to life. One of, if not the most, popular novel by Morrison was inspired by a true story and later made into a movie: Beloved. I don’t know if you have seen Beloved, it but it is absolutely beautiful. You don’t get beauty like that from actors, actresses, or novelists, without fulling engaging in something to make it so.
While doing further research on Morrison, I discovered something interesting that I totally identify with.
“When I was in first grade, nobody thought I was inferior. I was the only black kid in the class and the only child who could read.”
This resonated with me so deeply because this was my childhood too. I was not the only black kid, although there were few of us, but I was the child who did not need any help reading in school. I didn’t stutter, I didn’t struggle to sound out words, I was reading with proficiency at a young age. I didn’t see myself as any different, nor did anybody else who looked at me as far as I know. I was just another kid in a room learning, and that was that. However, the reality is that I am black, I am different, and I am treated differently. This is why I admire Morrison for finding her passion for sharing stories at such a young age, and following that passion along to a Nobel Prize and a Pulitzer Prize. At the end of the day, that is entirely a learned behavior.
I would like to end with a link to a beautifully written article by Toni Morrison in The New Yorker. This is timely piece (published November 2016) and it is all too capturing of how so many people feel on a day to day basis. It is important that we think about the plight of others and do not let our privileges alienate us from deeper issues. We also need to remember that if you are reading this, then you have privilege. You either have the privilege of being literate, or having a literate person willing to share with you. You likely also have access to the internet, clean water, shelter, etc. You have knowledge and a voice and you can use those to help others. You can find your way, but you must stay aware.