Book thoughts

Well-Meaning White Folks

I love well-meaning white folks. Like the ones who tell me I’m articulate or who remind me quite often at how not racist they are. The ones who use that infamous quote from The Help.

“You is kind. You is smart. And you is important.”

I love a good story where black people’s main role is to make white people feel good about themselves (that was sarcasm if you didn’t catch that).

I just finished reading Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid. I’ll be honest. I saw this book a lot before I decided to pick it up because I heard it was about a 25-year-old black nanny/babysitter for a white family set in contemporary times. I was intrigued. This could go well, or it could go horribly wrong.

I breathed a sigh of relief as it didn’t go horribly wrong.

I connected to Emira on so many levels. I too am on the brink of 26 and being kicked off my dad’s insurance (luckily, I have a job with benefits and hope to still have it as our economy recovers from this pandemic. If not, I may be more like Emira than I originally thought), sometimes I feel as if my friends have it more together than I do, and I often find myself caught in the crossfire of well-meaning white folks.

I enjoyed reading a story about the complicated nuances of race, but not with high stakes such as someone’s life being on the line. We got to talk about police brutality without bringing in the destruction of a black body. I liked how it was just a 20-something black woman just trying to find herself like all these other books about 20-something women.

I think this is the best book I’ve read to tackle interracial dating. I would rather not date a Kelley, a white dude who loves himself some black queens. He reminds me of this video my sister showed me the other day about the white girl going on and on about how fine black men are. Eh, actually she was cringier, but the idea of fetishizing black people is the same. You gotta watch out for the “woke” ones because they will fool you.

The only part I didn’t like was how so much weight and consideration was placed on the boss/mother, Alix (pronounced uh-leeks, but only black names are ghetto…). I understand her point of view gave clarity and context to a lot of the conflict and tried to use white guilt to justify her behavior, but at the end of the day, her story really didn’t matter to me.

Maybe her story was to garner the reaction I had, one of annoyance that she made the biggest deal of her life’s most embarrassing moment, and it was all in her head fueled by an obsession of her first love. Or maybe we are actually supposed to empathize with her (the beauty of art is that it is always up for interpretation). Privilege is being able to rewrite history to falsely portray yourself as the victim and/or hero and believe it to be fact.

Briar, the baby (and by baby, I mean she’s like 3) who is being sat, was my favorite character. Hands down. If I my kid doesn’t ask questions like her, I’m gonna save my receipt and do a return.

And although the ending didn’t leave me satisfied, I appreciate it for what it was. Happy endings are overrated, and, as much as I love them, so are tragic ones. This one was just regular and realistic, the stuff that wouldn’t be shown on reality TV.

I would definitely add this to the “List of books white people should read”. If you feel like you are white and identify as an Alix and/or a Kelley, let’s have a conversation. 😊

2 thoughts on “Well-Meaning White Folks”

  1. I just watched a video on the “Strong Black Woman” trope, where they also broke down other tropes used in media over the years.
    This book sounds like something people have been longing for! A book about a 20-something year old still figuring out her life! Yes, there is race addressed in it, as you said but it isn’t the entire focus.
    I actually loved your humour and sarcasm in this review. You made me laugh so much, and reading this made my day!
    I’m adding this to my “To Read” list!

    Liked by 1 person

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