Invisible Man, Got the Whole World Watching: A Young Black Man's Education by Mychal Denzel Smith
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I can't remember the last time I devoured a book like this one. Probably because despite the difference in gender, Mychal Denzel Smith spoke so perfectly to me and my own struggles. In his candid, raw, and honest accounting of his short life as a young black man thus far, I saw my brother, my uncle, my absent father, my husband, and countless other men I know. But I also saw myself.
Lots of empty references to the millennial generation tend to overlook race, thereby ignoring the specific struggles that being Black and millennial in the age of Obama have brought about. Smith, though not claiming to speak as the racialized voice of a generation, still manages to do so by addressing the political problem that has characterized our lives: the cognitive dissonance of accepting the overarching notion of racial progress in the face of endless Black death.
This painful reality has given birth to a radical movement that is a purposeful detour from those that came before, and Smith champions this. All the while, still contending with the same dark issues of mental health, self-hatred, rampant misogyny, homophobia, and countless other issues that come with being Black in America. Smith leaves no stone unturned, speaking truth to power by taking everyone, including himself, to task for the ways we venture away from the very thing that has the power to save us, the very thing that should be at the heart of any radical movement for a just future: love.
This is a book about a young Black man grappling with what he's been taught is the meaning of being a young Black man in America, and with so much truth, clarity and honesty, turns it all on its head.
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Niv Mullings is a writer, poet, and plant-based health coach hailing from The Boogie Down Bronx.