I consider myself a pretty level person who’s difficult to kerfluffle, or even shock. But when I ran across this book I couldn’t help but do a cartoon double take.
Of course this led to more research, because an eyecatching title like How To Rent a Negro simply begs anyone to find out as much as possible. Read: I wikipedia’d her and then went to her website. Wikipedia writes :
In 2005 ayo released How to Rent a Negro. A satirical guidebook about race relations in the United States was published in 2005. How to Rent a Negro was granted a 2005 Honorable Mention in the Outstanding Book Awards from the Gustavus Meyers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights. In 2006 How to Rent a Negro was purchased by Coalition Films to be made into a movie.
Needing to know more, I went to her website :
damali ayo uses art, wit and satire to generate dialogue to draw us together as a global community. Her best-selling book How to Rent a Negro is a satirical guidebook that explores the commodification of race relations in our culture. damali’s newest book (2010) Obamistan! Land without Racism has been described as “laying bare the fact that we are not in a postracial world just yet with great warmth, sincerity, sophistication about the experiences of different groups and a sense of hope and optimism — something that sometimes feels completely missing among progressives these days.”
Do you ever get that sinking feeling like you may have been living under a rock and letting life pass you by because you run across interesting things that were big (relatively) a long time ago. That’s the feeling I encountered. In the span of two minutes I went from shock and intrigued to dejected and 2000-late.
I already sent my order of books to the bookstore, and it doesn’t include the grueling reading schedule like last semester did, so perhaps I’ll have time to read this and her new book when it comes out. How to rent a negro. That’s rich. And hilarious. Le sigh, when did I get so out of touch?