Toni Morrison explains the moment racism will end
In 1988, Toni Morrison became the first African-American woman to win the Nobel Prize in literature and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012 by President Obama.
This week, the celebrated author will release her latest novel, God Help The Child. Morrison’s given several interviews, including one to The Telegraph’s Gaby Wood where she opened up about America’s relationship with race:
Race is the classification of a species. And we are the human race, period. But the other thing – the hostility, the racism – is the money-maker. And it also has some emotional satisfaction for people who need it.
Morrison didn’t stop there, telling Wood police should be implementing ‘Stop and Frisk’ on Wall Street, instead of the inner city:
People keep saying, ‘We need to have a conversation about race. This is the conversation. I want to see a cop shoot a white unarmed teenager in the back. And I want to see a white man convicted for raping a black woman. Then when you ask me, ‘Is it over?’, I will say yes.
God Help the Child focuses on an African-American woman whose child is darker-skinned. The mother is embarrassed by her daughter’s skin color, while the daughter must deal with the loss of love and affection because of her color.
“I’m not at all a person who has been reared or raised in a community in which these racial lines were that pronounced,” Morrison told NPR. “Occasionally, as children, we might figure out how to call somebody a name and they would figure out how to call us [a name], but it was so light; it was so fluffy. I didn’t really have a strong awareness of segregation and the separation of races until I left Lorain [Ohio].”
Morrison, 84, says writing remains a “safe” and integral part of her life.
Nothing matters more in the world or in my body or anywhere when I’m writing. It is dangerous because I’m thinking up dangerous, difficult things, but it is also extremely safe for me to be in that place.
Watch Toni Morrison speak about honing her craft into her 80’s: