Walter Mosley keeps me writing

Walter Mosley

I’m a huge fan of  the writer Walter Mosley, and I do mean huge. To beat an overused expression near to death, he is what I want to be when I grow up, namely a hugely successful African American writer of fiction. But the thing about  Mosley that I admire the most is that he hasn’t allowed his writing to be boxed into any one category. He’s known best for his detective mysteries, especially the ones featuring the character Easy Rawlins ( that’s how I was introduced to him as well), but it was awhile before I realized he also cranks out the science fiction and erotica.

This is my kinda guy.

Rawlins also occasionally comes up with some head-scratching comments, which I kinda wonder whether he says just to see what the reaction is gonna be. After all, he’s a writer who knows what to say to catch peoples’ attention and to keep their interest, so when he said recently in the Atlanta Black Star that white people don’t exist...?

“I’ve been giving this talk a lot lately that the big issue about race in America is that there really is no such thing as white people,” Mosley said. “And, you know, in order to end race in America, all we have to do is recognize that the notion a white person doesn’t really exist on any term and in any way.”

“My mother’s Jewish, of course, which makes me Jewish. And people say, well, how does it feel to be half white and half Black? And I said my mother’s Jewish. That’s not white. And then slowly, I mean, over time, I said, well, nobody’s white. Gypsies aren’t white and Vikings aren’t white and the Greeks aren’t white and the Spaniards aren’t white. You know, they are who they are. You know, and they understand themselves in a certain kind of way that got redefined in America because they had to kill the Native Americans and enslave the Africans. So they had to become white people.”

So maybe Mosley’s going for the argument which my mother has always fought for, namely that we’re all just people and leave it at that. No blacks, no whites, no browns, no yellows, no reds. Just folk. I never quite bought it, not even from my mother, but I do understand how such a philosophy could make life a lot easier for all of us who live it. If only it were remotely possible. Me personally, I cast myself with the cynics who believe that human beings will always find a way to categorize themselves, then use those categories to place one above the other. That’s just the way we’re wired.

Something else to write about…


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Writer and musician.

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