3 out of 4 stars
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White and Proud is a book of anecdotes written by Keri Brye. As an African American girl growing up, Keri wasn’t aware of the rules involved with being black. There are certain things that need to be abided by in order to pass as an African American, and Keri failed at most of these edicts throughout her life. Thus, rendering her essentially white.
The ‘Black Laws’, as Keri refers to them in her book, consist of things like eating a lot of meat, dressing hip hop, and listening to rap music. You are also, under no circumstances, allowed to read novels or go to karaoke bars. These were things that Keri loved to do. And, unfortunately, she didn’t dress the part, enjoyed rock ‘n roll and country music, and (horror of all horrors) was a vegan! These individual traits caused Keri’s family and friends to insultingly label her as ‘the white girl’.
As much as this is a book about finding your own individuality, I also feel like it was cathartic for the author to write about her experiences. For lack of a better word, she was bullied as a youngster. Her decisions in life, although out of the black cultural norm, were what defined her as an individual. Being persecuted for this by her friends and family was unreasonable. It was great to watch her develop into a strong woman who eliminated many of these negative people from her life. She grew into someone who did things because she enjoyed them, not because it was part of some unspoken set of rules.
I think there are truly great lessons to be learned from the stories told in this book. In order for Keri to fit in, she needed to change her actions. She needed to dress sloppier. She needed to speak using more slang than she was used to. She needed to become untidier. She eventually realised that she didn’t want to do these things. She wanted to be happy on her own terms. Stereotyping people becomes easier when they allow themselves to be given labels, and I applaud the author for wanting to step out of that box.
The downside of this book was the editing. The book started out so well, and I noticed very few errors. But as I progressed through the stories, it got increasingly worse. It’s almost like an editor read the first part of the book, and then just stopped halfway. By the end of the book, there were missing words, repeated sentences, missing inverted commas, and commas in the incorrect places. An editor would have picked up on things like stereo type instead of stereotype, complimenting instead of complementing, and whose instead of who’s.
All in all, this was a very enjoyable book. I loved the stories that the author shared. If not for the poor editing, this book would have received a better result. As it is, it gets 3 out of 4 stars from me. I would recommend this book to people who are looking for positive ways to reinforce their own identities. Also, it helps to highlight the idea that people who behave differently from the norm are not necessarily weird.
They simply are who they are.
White and Proud
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