From the acclaimed author of Shackling Water comes the first great race novel of the twenty-first century, an incendiary and ruthlessly funny satire about violence, pop culture, and American identity.
Macon Detornay is a suburban white boy possessed and politicized by black culture, and filled with rage toward white America. After moving to New York City for college, Macon begins robbing white passengers in his taxicab, setting off a manhunt for the black man presumed to be committing the crimes. When his true identity is revealed, Macon finds himself to be a celebrity and makes use of the spotlight to hold forth on the evils and invisibility of whiteness. Soon he launches the Race Traitor Project, a stress-addled collective that attracts guilty liberals, wannabe gangstas, and bandwagon riders from all over the country to participate in a Day of Apology--a day set aside for white people to make amends for four hundred years of oppression. The Day of Apology pushes New York City over the edge into an epic riot, forcing Macon to confront the depth of his own commitment to the struggle.
Peopled with all manner of race pimps and players, Angry Black White Boy is a stunning breakout book from a critically acclaimed young writer and should be required reading for anyone who wants to get under the skin of the complexities of identity in America.
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March 07, 2005
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Excerpt from Angry Black White Boy by Adam Mansbach
Macon Everett Detornay fisted the wheel and swung his new yellow cab downtown. Hip hop didn't raise no moon-eyed loverboys, and Macon would be dead before the thought of whittling down passion from a blunt lump to a harpoon, something you could aim at a person, would take shape inside him. All the things he loved were too big, comical to throw your arms around like carnival prize teddy bears: truth, revolution, huge nonexistent shit like that.
It was a little past rush hour now, and Macon flipped on his radio and relaxed as the venerable voice of Kool DJ Red Alert introduced an old-school set on Hot 97 FM, the station whose tagline, "Where hip hop lives," had inspired more than one underground MC to declare himself dead. As the omnipotent what's-hot-what's-not market arbiter of the late nineties, Hot 97 had played matchmaker for hip hop and psychotic materialism, advising hip hop to stop returning phone calls from former lovers like Black Power and Social Responsibility, encouraging the couple to move in together, and finally, in an exclusive Aspen ceremony attended by three hundred CEOs and only a handful of artists and project-housing thugs, to exchange diamond-flooded Rolexes and sign the merger deal in blood. When the honeymoon waned, the station placated hip hop's ornery elders, pissed and financially slighted, by paying periodic tribute to "the pioneers of the old school" with five-second announcements encouraging their audience of fourteen-year-old wannabe gangster macks to "know their history."
None of which had jack to do with Red; his drive-time show remained untainted by payola, his very employment a paean to purer days. The crossfader glided clean across the mixer and into a classic, dancing New York City's newest cabdriver straight down memory lane. "I useta roll up / this is a hold up, ain't nothin' funny / stop smilin', be still / don't nothin' move but the money," Rakim Allah intoned, smooth with the roughness, reflecting on the tax-free paper he had clocked before he "learned to earn / cause I'm Righteous": before he joined the Five Percent Nation and gained Knowledge of Self and realized that the Original Asiatic Black Man was the Maker, the Owner, the Cream of the Planet Earth, Father of Civilization and God of the Universe. Before he became part of the Five Percent of the population who overstood the Supreme Mathematics and threw off the shackles of mental slavery to become Poor Righteous Teachers.
Macon knew the Five Percenters' rules as well as any whiteboy could, first from listening to the lyrics of the Righteous and then from living at Lajuan's crib in Jamaica Plain for the last fifteen months, where black men who called themselves Gods sat around all day with eyelids quartermasted from smoking blunts and drinking ninety-nine-cent twenty-two-ounce Ballantines, talking about women who were not called Earths, as doctrine dictated, but bitches. The apartment was a degenerate sitcom: jokes and laugh tracks, heated interlocking minutes of family therapy, "Son, son, listen" interruptions, sex convo and chess games and rhymes and rhymes and beats to the rhymes and the every-occasion, rain-sleet-or-pestilence query "Who's going to the weedspot?"; long- ass conversations that flipped general to specific and then back again in an endless, fascinating, and pointless battle of verbs and philosophy, volume and religion, rhetoric and flowskills.