Greyboy- Finding Yourself in a World that Loves Labels.
-But the lifeline I grabbed onto, the one that dragged me from the swirling cyclone, was authored by mystics who'd plumbed deeper depths than I'd ever come to know. They told of how black Blackness could get and how bright as well. They insisted upon my worth, and their generations became the pedestal I learned to balance upon-.
In #Greyboy, Brown chronicles his experience as a token through a collection of think and reflectory pieces. It is a canvas on which he paints his occupation of a certain space that was dictated both by his privilege and race.
He recounts not being embraced by locals while vacationing in the Bahamas and being ignored by a beautiful Black woman: believing that she owed him her attention because they were the only spots of melanin among a sea of white vacationers- "She'd strayed too far away, and these white folk had captured her. It wasn't comfort that I saw, it was duplicity. She'd forgotten our common language".
He delves into having to deal with microaggressions and racist jokes from white cohorts and friends at his private school, having to code-switch to prove to one group or the other that he could relate, even if his status within a space reserved for whites called the extent of his Blackness into question- "Oh, Cole's not really Black". "Privilege delivered me from the brink that pigment pushed me toward".
He also explores how the way Black boys talk, walk, and dress, where they go, and the music they listen to is immediately viewed as them being dangerous or up to no good and are then treated as a threat, more often than violently and fatally.
What I loved about this book is that Brown included the experiences of his other Black friends(male and female), the difference in how discipline is taught and administered in Black households, his sister's role and influence, how protective he is of her, how his views and thoughts evolved and matured, and of course, the strength and teachings of his mother.