What is your race? In September 1994, The Hungry Mind Review's readers responded to this and nineteen other race-related questions in the periodical's now-renowned Race questionnaire. It was during the compilation of that particular issue that editor Bart Schneider recognized that Americans were ready for, and needed to have, a frank discussion about race.
Inspired by the momentum that September 1994 issue generated, Schneider compiled Race: An Anthology in the First Person. In a range of twenty first-person idioms, some of the finest American contemporary writers and social leaders explore the issue of race. The power of the first person voice that drives this collection is in its directness and simplicity, says Schneider: it's you talking to me, me to you. It's Reverend Cecil Williams preaching to hundreds on a Sunday morning in San Francisco's Glide Church. It's Audre Lorde speaking to a women's conference in Connecticut. It's John Edgar Wideman talking in letter, and in spirit, to his son in prison. Listening closely to the human voice can keep us human.
Race continues what the questionnaire started by delivering direct and honest accounts of how race can impact an individual's life and alter the course of his of her future. To approach with passionate personal testimony a territory as fraught with suffering and shame, guilt and indifference, rhetoric and amnesia, is to stake a claim, explains Schneider. It is to demand a place in which we can talk to each other about who we are and what we hope America might one day become. Race will open your eyes, expand your mind, and may finally be a way for us to get the conversation going.
About Bart Schneider
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Published January 21, 1997
by Three Rivers Press.
Political & Social Sciences.