New Orleans, LA – Khefa Nosakhere spoke out on racism before George Floyd’s death dominated national and world news. He just released “Institutional racism and the search for African American masculinity and identity in selected works of Richard Wright,” a non-fiction work he says is especially timely.
“The reason all of this – the protests, the NFL response, the Corporate America response, the local governments’ responses to defund police departments – all of it is happening because everyone was at home under COVID-19 restrictions watching this man’s life be taken from him in real, slow time.”
George Floyd, 46, died after being handcuffed on the street in the custody of the Minneapolis police on Memorial Day. A 10-minute cell phone video of the encounter showed former Officer Derek Chauvin holding his knee on the back of Mr. Floyd’s neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds while Mr. Floyd repeatedly gasped, “I can’t breathe.” He and the three other officers on the scene all face criminal charges.
In preparing for interviews and lectures, he says, “George Floyd accomplished something in death he never could have accomplished in life. He is a transformative figure in that regard.”
“Institutional Racism” focuses on how white male supremacy has shaped the lives of Bigger Thomas (Native Son), Richard Wright (Black Boy), and Fred Daniels (The Man Who Lived Underground). The book also answers how social maladies negatively impact Black men to this day.
“As a Black male, you have white male supremacy all around you, and you have to understand that you are treated differently because of factors that started back in the 1700s, and are clearly still in place today,” he says.
Nosakhere, a native of New Orleans, LA, is also the author of, “America, the ‘Beautiful’,” a book of dystopian fiction. He holds a B.A. in Literature and Language from the University of Southern California. His Master’s Degree in Literature focused on literary criticism, and his literary specialties are 20th century American literature, major authors, African-American literature, scholarly essays, literary criticism, African diaspora literature, short stories, creative writing, and poetry.
Nosakhere proposes a solution: reparations, and outlines what that could look like. “A year-long festival similar to the celebrations that African Nations got as they achieved their independence,” he says, “elimination of student loan debt for all African descendants living in this country, and universal health care for life.”
Nosakhere envisions ultimately being able to impact such change in the future, by taking on an advisory role to Black lawmakers.
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