Over the years I have read a few books on what it means to be black in America. It occurred to me I hadn’t really read many about what it means to be young and black in America.
That was until I read Black enough: Stories of Being Young & Black in America.
Black Enough is a star-studded anthology edited by National Book Award finalist Ibi Zoboi that will delve into the closeted thoughts, hidden experiences, and daily struggles of black teens across the country. From a spectrum of backgrounds—urban and rural, wealthy and poor, mixed race, immigrants, and more—Black Enough showcases diversity within diversity.
Written by various authors, Black Enough is a book of 17 short stories, all told from one young person’s perspective after another. I wish there had been a book like this when I was growing up, because I could easily identify with so many of the teens throughout.
One story, titled “Oreo” hit home. Calling a black person an Oreo is saying they are black on the outside, but white on the inside. Like Joni, I grew up having my blackness challenged. In school I was called an Oreo, but I was never referred to as an one by my own family. It is one thing to have classmates call you that, but it is much different when it comes from your family. I found it interesting to read how Joni dealt with a situation like that. There’s even a story about twins, which I loved because well, I’m a twin. I won’t go into the details on that one, but it touched a deep part of me.
The best thing about this whole book was the fact that it took away the stereotypes. Each story showed that we too like things like heavy metal music, Star wars, and cosplay. We are tech nerds who love coding and making fancy apps, the list can go on and on.
Although this book is about the young black experience, I think that anyone could identify with these teens. There are stories of first loves, the loss of a sibling, the fear of coming out to your parents, and just trying to figure life out in general. The biggest takeaway I got from this book was, no matter what race you are, we all go through the same things in our own way.
- Black enough by Varian Johnson
- Out of the silence by Kekla Magoon
- The ingredients by Jason Reynolds
- The trouble with drowning by Dhonielle Clayton
Black Enough is available wherever books are sold.