First, I have to announce that the winner of last Mondays give-a-way is Paul! Congrats, Paul and welcome to CrazyQuilts. I hope to be seeing more of you here!
This year, I participated in the HolidayBook Swap organized by Ari and was lucky enough to be gifted by Amy at MyFriendAmy. I’m going to share the books she graciously sent me!
Losing my cool: how a father’s love and 15,000 books beat hip-hop culture by Thomas Chatterton Williams is the story of how the author was drawn into hip-hop culture and how his father got him out. This book was on a list of several others I sent as suggestions for my book gift. I’m interested in reading how this father used the power of books and of reading and I’m interested in finding the negative effects of hip hop in this young man’s life. I think hip-hop, like most things can be good or bad depending upon how it’s used.
“But you’re a nigger, too,” a voice said from behind me, and I half made out what I’d just heard, but not fully. I went on singing my song, which I couldn’t claim to understand on any level, but which somehow made me feel cool as hell and that was all that mattered. The voice repeated itself, louder this time: “But you’re a nigger, too, Thomas, aren’t you?”
“Huh?” I said, pivoting to see Craig standing there, his dirty blond hair cut by his mother’s Flowbee into the shape of an upside down serving bowl, like a medieval friar without the bald spot. “What did you just say?”
“You’re a nigger too, right, so how can you say that?”
“How can I say what?”
“Yo, nigga, yo nigga, how can you say that when you’re a nigger too, right?”
My mother is white, my father is black. They met in Sand Diego in the late 1960s. Both were entrenched on the West Coast front of what at the time was called the War on Pverty. After San Diego, they went up to Los Angeles. From L.A. they made their way north.
One day in the school playground they’d said, Eeny meeny, miney, Mo’. Catch a nigger by his toe, and they’d all looked at Ginney and laughed. They called her Eeny Meeny after that.
In the bath she told Dad to wash her harder.
“Why?” he said. “You’re as clean as a whistle.”
“I’m dirty,” she said.
“You’re not dirty, silly.”
“But I’m not the same as them, I want to be the same color. They call me Eeny Meeny.”
“You’re the right color for you, and they’re the right color for them,” said Dad.
She wanted to say, Well, why is it right fro me to be different from everyone else? Even Dad was white like them. But he kissed her and wrapped her in that towel and dried her hard, and she couldn’t talk till she’d forgotten what she was going to say. They stopped calling her Eeny Meeny, though.
The power of words and music. The power of dads. I hope these two books are more about the power of dads, as I suspect they will be.
Thanks, Amy and Merry Christmas!