Not A Monolith

Over 100 voices challenging monolithic narratives of Blackness

“So much of the national dialogue about race deals with either terrible trauma or black excellence. I was more interested in the space in between, because that’s where I exist. So the challenge was finding a space between sensationalizing and also documenting and contextualizing.

In writing a memoir you are forced to reinterrogate beliefs and feelings that may have settled over decades, and you start to realize that maybe in this story where I was the victim I was actually the villain. Maybe this person who I considered to be so confident was actually performing just like I was. Maybe I didn’t treat that girlfriend as well as I thought I treated her.”


“The Afro-pessimist sees the world as structured by a non-black solidarity in preventing the ontological possibility of black life. Were ‘black’ meant as a metaphor for the condition of total alienation from self, this might make sense. However, because the Afro-pessimist imaginary ties itself to a morphological account of blackness, this leads us to a theoretical dead end. In this world-view, it therefore becomes necessary to begin by treating ‘race’ as a problem fundamentally rooted in the formation of sociality – in which the Black precedes the historical order and the processes, both violent and mundane, which create her. By contrast, to think through the implications of contingency is to confront the reality that these racial categories – categories that Wilderson and Sexton treat as absolute – are actually unstable as evidence that something else is afoot. It is to see ‘race’ not as an anchor, but as a mystification conjured to weather crises of legitimacy.”