Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Passing for Black/ LINDA VILLAROSA

"Everything Angela has come to believe about sex, love, identity and race is called into question as this explosive new passion blows her world wide open..."

From Back Cover.

When Angela Wright meets Dr. Caitlin Getty, she's immediately attracted to her. Angela struggles with her feelings. After all, her life is close to perfect. She's an associate editor at a magazine, and she's got one of the few good Black men left. (Her best friend, May, likes to point out there's a SHORTAGE.) Keith, her fiance is an African American Studies Professor. Her mother is a Christian and black (hair) power activist. They both believe that lesbianism is just not something Black people do.

I found Passing for Black an interesting read. I had never thought of how being Black affects being a Lesbian, a concept which Ms. Villarosa examines thoroughly. We go through Angela's struggles as she goes back and forth in her mind, and it brings us to understand the agony that coming out can cause. For the person coming out and those around him or her.

The book also examined the concept of passing. First, passing for black. Within black society, there are differnt kinds of black. Your skin colour, hair type, language, favourite music, style, all define you as too black or not black enough. Secondly, passing for straight. Ms. Villarosa speaks about the vast number of lesbians who pretend to make those around them comfortable.

There were times that the journalistic background of the author (a former editor of both the New York Times and Essence) shone through and the book read a bit more like creative non-fiction. But all in all, PASSING FOR BLACK was educational and entertaining.

Click here for an interview with author, Linda Villarosa.

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