The Diaspora (Book) Wars - Race Switch: Blackass by A. Igoni Barrett & Black No More by George S. Schuyler
Each week, two books from the Diaspora, on the same theme, battle it out to become the victor, in the ultimate war of words.
By Books Africana Posted in Issue #1, The Diaspora Book Wars on January 20, 2018 0 Comments
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First Line of Attack

The first lines of the novel

“Furo Wariboko awoke this morning to find that dreams can lose their way and turn up on the wrong side of sleep. “

Arena of War

The setting and the situation of the story

Setting: Modern day Lagos, Nigeria.

Premise: The novel explores what it is like to be a black man in a white man’s body as it follows the story of Furo Wariboko who wakes one morning to discover he has turned into a white man.

Personnel on the Battlefield

The main characters

  • Furo Wariboko/Frank Whyte: The story centers around Furo when he wakes up one morning to find that he has become a white man overnight. He starts to take advantage of all the privileges of being white. He goes from an unemployed black man with no prospects to a white man with a senior position in a company that he is completely underqualified for.
  • Igoni/Morpheus: Furo meets a writer who has also undergone a physical transformation, from a man to a woman and who becomes fascinated by the white Nigerian and tracks down Furo’s family.
  • Sareeta: Furo meets Sareeta who make him her kept man, feeds him and buys him clothes in order to be able to show her white friend Furo off to all of her friends

Battle Strategy

The plot and key sub-plots

Unemployed Furo/Frank wakes up on the morning of his job interview to find that his is white. He heads to the interview as scheduled despite his new condition and  is offered a senior level position rather  than the one he applied for despite not being qualified. The novel follows him as his life improves as a white man and he is suddenly overwhelmed with respect and adoration.

First Line of Attack

The first lines of the novel

“Max Dasher stood outside the Honky Tonk Club puffing a panatela and watching the crowds of white and black folk entering the cabaret.”

Arena of War

The setting and the situation of the story

Setting: Harlem during the Harlem Renaissance  1920-1930

Premise: Dr. Junius Crookman has invented a way that black people are able to turn themselves permanently white, Max Disher takes advantage of this opportunity.

Personnel on the Battlefield

The main characters

  • Dr. Junius Crookman: a respected black physician who creates clinics where black people can turn themselves white
  • Max Disher/Matthew Fisher: undergoes the black more procedure to become a white man in New York and then moves back to his hometown of Atlanta
  • Rev Henry Givens: The Imperial Grand Wizard of a white supremacy group
  • Helen Givens: the daughter of Rev. Henry Givens’ who later becomes the wife of Matthew Fisher

Battle Strategy

The plot and key sub-plots

Max Disher a black man, undergoes a permanent procedure to turn himself into Matthew Fisher, a white man. Matthew returns to his hometown of Atlanta and manages to scam his way into becoming the leader of a white supremacist group. He also marries the daughter of the  as well as to marry the white woman who rejected him when he was black.  Rev Henry Givens introduces Matthew to his daughter Helen, who had rejected him when he was black and they get married and have a baby. The novel follows Matthew through his deceit and lies as he tries to make as much money as he can as a white man.

Victory Goes To…

Black No More!

George S Schuyler triumphs in this battle for creating this biting satire and offering a deconstruction of race both through its language as well as its narrative. Major themes in both Blackass and Black No More both are identity and physical transformation as well as discussions around the white privilege as they highlight the way that you are treated when you are perceived as white. Both main characters abandon their families and their past lives and try and reinvent themselves as white men. The plots unpack race relations and the implications of white privilege and both Faru and Max use their newfound whiteness to deceive and to further their greed. As they are set almost 100 years apart and draw on similar themes it highlights that race and identity are still prevalent topics.

This week’s winner, Black No More, is available on Amazon

 

Our worthy competitor, Blackass, is also available on Amazon.


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