Nigger (Gregory with Lipsyte)

That was a hard word to type; it’s a word I will not say. But Gregory wanted that title. so I figure I shouldn’t shy away from typing it. And I stand completely with Gregory here –

Gregory responds to students protesting the Dean who recommended his book

Gregory is a terrific writer. He moves between detail and big picture smoothly and effectively. There were more than a few passages that just blew me away.

And there was so much here I just did not know about him and his involvement in the Civil Rights Revolution – revolution is the word he thinks is more apt than ‘movement.’ If at times, he attributes a bit too much to his intuition, well, that’s okay. But the treatment of his wife after a personal tragedy? Not okay.

I appreciated how Gregory was able to explain his own entry into the Revolution, whether it was forcing a prison audience to be integrated before he performed or marching with Medgar Evers. I also appreciated that he was willing to turn down an opportunity to speak at the March on Washington – at least initially. And his comments are very powerful when he connects the events in the United States with those around the world. I’m not sure the word Vietnam is ever mentioned; but it’s always there.

I remain puzzled as to why he called his need or instinct to become involved in Civil Rights his “monster.” It’s likely limiting to say that the monster was just that – he needed to speak and be heard like most of us need to breathe.

But from beginning to end, the title makes sense. Gregory makes it clear what’s at stake. And by his measure, indeed by almost every measure, we aren’t there yet.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s