Growing Up With Toni Morrison

The Cut on Tuesdays about Toni Morrison.

The Cut on Tuesdays is a great podcast. They cover a wide range of topics. Their episode on toxic masculinity and gender violence is epic, for example.

But this ode to Toni Morrison is a beautiful bit of story telling about Black writers who were inspired, and invited into writing, by Toni Morrison’s books, presence and intellect. There are powerful insights in these interviews about truth-telling, audience, whiteness, racism, and deep questions about who gets centred.

Gloria Edim, founder of Well-Read Black Girl, joins to relate how her “identity is built around Morrison’s fortitude,” how she has learned boldness, “outspokenness,” uninhibitedness, and freedom.

Kaitlyn Greenidge, author of “We Love You Charlie Freeman,” tells us about her realization that ghosts in Morrison’s writing, represent a paradigmatic difference in the concept of death, in other words the “the not living,” in particular that death is not final, that the dead are with us, that the past effects us, and “haunting is not something that is frightening or a curse or a bad thing.”

There are so many compelling moments in this episode – I recommend a listen.

I was growing up in this mostly-white suburb. I felt like I was sort of out of step with most of the other people around me, but I didn’t have the language for it. When I first read The Bluest Eye, I was reading it sort of for the plot, and I was like: This is sad. I had an understanding situationally, in the book, that she thought whiteness could save her from her life. But I didn’t have a sophisticated understanding of how that same sort of system of oppression was making me feel a certain way—probably because it was a combination of too obvious and too painful for me to be able to connect that back to my own experience. That really would’ve made me feel totally like, Aw, man, I’m fucked.

Brittany Luse

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