- Paperback: 176 pages
- Publisher: Permanent Pr Pub Co (September 1, 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1579620892
- ISBN-13: 978-1579620899
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 12 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,597,728 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Africa Speaks Paperback – September 1, 2002
About the Author
Mark Goldblatt is a nationally recognized columnist and book reviewer whose work has appeared in the New York Post, The New York Times, USA Today, American Spectator Online, the Daily News, Newsday, Commentary, Reason,and the webzine Ducts. He teaches developmental English and the Old and New Testament in the History of Ideas at Fashion Institute of Technology of the State University of New York. Africa Speaks is his first novel.
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The book also moves at an incredible pace. Part of that is derived from the gripping storyline as it is advanced by the protagonist in his monologues. It is also due to Goldblatt's adept handling of black speech. The editorial blurb on the book jacket asserting that Goldblatt "has an ear for idiom" is an understatement, indeed. I highly recommend this novel.
Africa speaks to "get the truth out", but in doing so, he denies it. Yet despite his words and his threats, we are able to see his doubts and his suffering. And though he never transcends his own "nigga" world, Africa, for us, becomes tragically human.
Several points of view are revealed that exist within the Black culture. The radicals believe that the ancient Nubians invented everything worthwhile and the Greeks stole it all, and that some day Blacks will be on top again and everything will be cool because "brothers know how to work things out." Others don't buy any of this and don't see the world as black or white. They just want to get along and prosper as best they can.
There are some shockers here for readers not familiar with radical Black politics. Africa Ali, the main character, tells us that the Jews invented AIDS for the CIA to kill Castro. When that didn't work the CIA used it in Africa to kill Africans. Whites are the root of all evil but "there's nothing lower than Jews," Africa tells us. We can see inside the Black world through the personal narratives of the characters. Young Blacks have to face the need to succeed in a white-majority world while at the same time submit to peer pressure not to act white.
The book gives us an idea of how young Blacks feel about each other and about other ethnic groups. Only Blacks themselves can say whether or not the author got it right. It is not a put-down, but rather an attempt to help us understand the cultural differences. Whites should stop trying to act Black and should stop expecting Blacks to act white. Blacks should realize that the vast majority of whites have no wish to return to the days of racial prejudice nor do they want to repeal any of the advancements in racial equality enacted over the past forty years. If the divisive and sensitive racial issues of today are ever to be worked out, the solutions will only come after we reach this kind of mutual understanding.