Book Review - Passin'

3:48 PM

If I'm reviewing a book, you know I love the book. I take the stance that if you don't have nothing nice to say, don't say anything. I like this book so much that I actually made notes while reading it, LOL! Here is the description of the book:
Shanika Ann Jenkins is the pride of her African-American family; smart, beautiful, and born with blue eyes and blonde hair. Though her grandmother and father are happy because she represents years of passing down light skin and marrying well, Shanika's mother insists on her name reflecting her African-American heritage so that she will always be proud of who she is. When Shanika gets the opportunity to work for a PR firm in New York, she finds that everyone assumes she is white; she also notices that being white has it advantages, from getting respect at work to getting picked up by a cab when other African-Americans are passed by. When she starts dating a successful white colleague, she continues with the lie, despite the guilt she feels at disappointing her mother and her heritage. When she falls for a handsome African-American business man, she must finally face who she is and what she's done, even if it means losing everything and everyone she loves.

I came across this book during my last visit to the library and I read it off in four days, it would have been less if I wasn't reading another book at the same time. At first the book made me feel uncomfortable because I wasn't sure if I liked the main character but I grew to........ I wouldn't say like but I can understand where she is coming from. I was also interested in seeing what happened next, which was quite refreshing.

The main reason I liked the book was that it made me think about race relations. Coming from an island where majority of the population is black, I have a different way of looking at life than African Americans. It was interesting reading the perspective of a black person viewing the world as a white person and seeing the differences and similarities.

Now to consult my notes:

How women of different races view their bodies

Now when I first saw this video many, many years ago, I didn't see the extended intro and I thought it was just a joke. I didn't realize that a big, round bum was a bad thing. I thought all races appreciated butts in general, so you can imagine my surprise when I read a section where a white character was giving the impression that a big butt was not cute or desirable. Then it made me think of all the times you would hear or read comments when a woman would ask if something made her but look big.

I know that different races have different physical attributes, but I didn't know that one race would have looked down on another because they had their attributes. Then again I would not say it's a bad thing because it comes down to what people know. If one grew up in a predominately black community they would find certain physical attributes attractive and those that are foreign to them as not as attractive. I think the question should be is is politically correct to dislike another race's physical attributes? But really who wants to be PC?

Leisure activities differ based on race
It appears that there are some activities that are considered "white". The one mentioned in the book was spelunking, but I can imagine sky diving, bungee jumping, skiing, snowboarding, etc would be considered "white" as well. Personally, I think that whole concept is just retarded. Just because you can't imagine yourself doing these things, fine, but you are only cutting yourself out of so much thing that could broaden your horizons.

This video always makes me laugh out loud because it shows that it is harder for people to accept a person who is doing something that their race doesn't normally do. I like to hike, I've snowboarded, I've skydived, if I my upper body was stronger, I would rock climb. It's just sad that there are certain activities that are relegated to particular races. But here is proof of otherwise:

What do they say when you are not in the room
I don't know what I would say if I was surrounded by people of another race and they were talking negatively about my race. I know there are certain things you would think and that comes from one's ignorance on the matter but instead of coming to a person of a different race and dialoguing, people would just say things that are just stupid among themselves. I'm not even saying that this is relegated to black and white but covers all races. Plus we are not all born knowing everything so it's best to ask questions. Perhaps, it's because I grew up in Antigua, I don't have these beliefs or stereotypes of other races. Yes, I see a white person or an East Indian or an Asian person but I don't automatically think certain things. In fact, it was only when I went to the States that I learned of the stereotypes, how sad is that? So you can only imagine what it's like to grow up with that. *smh*

There are people who are open minded 
It was nice to see that there are people who are open minded in this book. They see people as people, but how many people are there out there? I mean in the States, where they are so racially aware, how many people really can see beyond race and see people and do it all the time. I won't kid you and say that we all don't judge people based on their first impression which includes one's race. The thing is as you get to know someone they cease to be that black person or that white person, they become that person. Perhaps that is what people should aim for to see beyond race and see the person.

Dating a person of another race because they are of a particular race
I was out with friends and one of them was Asian and she said something that never crossed my mind. A man dating an Asian woman because she is Asian. That still leaves me confused because that would mean that you are not really drawn to a person because you like the person, you are with them based on what you think about their race. Ain't that a damn shame. Then again, there are some people who are attracted to people of another race. I told you that I was confused.

Bowing out because of race
So here is the situation where you see someone who you find attractive, but they are of a different race. You are with a friend who is as attractive as you but they are the same race as the cutie, why is there an unwritten rule that you bow out and let the friend get the cutie? Perhaps, it's because you think the cutie would automatically be drawn to someone from their race, but it looks like another way for races to cut themselves from so many great opportunities. There is also that constant question of if the cutie would always like you or if they would drop you if someone of their race comes along. I guess it is a matter of having faith and believing that you are worthy.

There were a few questions at the back of the book, but I have only one question,

If you could pass as another race, would you?

This is a hard question because it speaks to identity, but if I was in that situation I would not be going around saying I'm black to everybody who crossed my path. I know who I am and I would continue to do the things that would be considered black. I would tick the box where they ask for race. I would live my life and if people asked I would say I am black. If someone is being racist or talking shit I will pull them up and let them know why I am saying what I'm saying. 

I love me and part of me is my being black. I love the colour of my skin, I love my features, I even love my hair in it's natural state, but it doesn't mean I have to fight a battle for my race on a daily basis. I know who I am and it's for society to accept me for that.

As you can see, this book had me going on and on, but I did like it and it's a shame I got it from the library because it is a book I would keep in my personal book collection.

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