Everything But the Burden

Everything But the Burden : What White People Are Taking from Black Culture

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Description

White kids from the 'burbs are throwing up gang signs. The 2001 Grammy winner for best rap artist was as white as rice. And blond-haired sorority sisters are sporting FUBU gear. What is going on in American culture that's giving our nation a racial-identity crisis?

Following the trail blazed by Norman Mailer's controversial essay "The White Negro," Everything but the Burden brings together voices from music, popular culture, the literary world, and the media speaking about how from Brooklyn to the Badlands white people are co-opting black styles of music, dance, dress, and slang. In this collection, the essayists examine how whites seem to be taking on, as editor Greg Tate's mother used to tell him, "everything but the burden"-from fetishizing black athletes to spinning the ghetto lifestyle into a glamorous commodity. Is this a way of shaking off the fear of the unknown? A flattering indicator of appreciation? Or is it a more complicated cultural exchange? The pieces in Everything but the Burden explore the line between hero-worship and paternalism. Among the book's twelve essays are Vernon Reid's "Steely Dan Understood as the Apotheosis of 'The White Negro, '" Carl Hancock Rux's "The Beats: America's First 'Wiggas, '" and Greg Tate's own introductory essay "Nigs 'R Us." Other contributors include: Hilton Als, Beth Coleman, Tony Green, Robin Kelley, Arthur Jafa, Gary Dauphin, Michaela Angela Davis, dream hampton, and Manthia diAwara.
From the Hardcover edition.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 272 pages
  • 137.16 x 210.82 x 20.32mm | 385.55g
  • Random House Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • Illustrations, black and white
  • 076791497X
  • 9780767914970
  • 1,442,989

Flap copy

White kids from the 'burbs are throwing up gang signs. The 2001 Grammy winner for best rap artist was as white as rice. And blond-haired sorority sisters are sporting FUBU gear. What is going on in American culture that's giving our nation a racial-identity crisis?
Following the trail blazed by Norman Mailer's controversial essay "The White Negro," "Everything but the Burden brings together voices from music, popular culture, the literary world, and the media speaking about how from Brooklyn to the Badlands white people are co-opting black styles of music, dance, dress, and slang. In this collection, the essayists examine how whites seem to be taking on, as editor Greg Tate's mother used to tell him, "everything but the burden"-from fetishizing black athletes to spinning the ghetto lifestyle into a glamorous commodity. Is this a way of shaking off the fear of the unknown? A flattering indicator of appreciation? Or is it a more complicated cultural exchange? The pieces in "Everything but the Burden explore the line between hero-worship and paternalism.
Among the book's twelve essays are Vernon Reid's "Steely Dan Understood as the Apotheosis of 'The White Negro, '" Carl Hancock Rux's "The Beats: America's First 'Wiggas, '" and Greg Tate's own introductory essay "Nigs 'R Us."
Other contributors include: Hilton Als, Beth Coleman, Tony Green, Robin Kelley, Arthur Jafa, Gary Dauphin, Michaela Angela Davis, dream hampton, and Manthia diAwara.


"From the Hardcover edition.
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Review quote

"For some reason or maybe for none I put Marvin Gaye's What's Going On in my car CD and took myself back to the Sixties and projected myself with that same music on up to Mars. Whatever else Black Americans may be we have defined the past. It is our experience with capture, enslavement, emancipation, segregation, and redemption that will celebrate this living and save our souls. We will define the future. It is our willingness to forgive that both perplexes and confounds those who think they can braid their hair or drop their pants and know something about the splendor of being who we are. EVERYTHING BUT THE BURDEN looks through both a telescope and a mirror. The images reflect and rebound. Sure they will take Gaye's anguish and make a commercial out of it for Radio Shack just like they took So You Want a Revolution to tell you to buy Nikes. But we're still here, still laughing, still loving, still deciding what looks good and what sounds right. We're still hugging ourselves, still making joyful noise. Still finding a way to be human and humane. It is not, after all, the blackness that has caused our loss of vision making us turn and turn in this tunnel of despair; it is the blackness that is showing us a way out."
-Nikki Giovanni, Poet "While whites have long been ripping off black culture, there is something new under the sun. Greg Tate has put together an impressive collection of essays, an interview and even poetry that puts its collective finger on the new white piracy. A must read for anyone interested in the intersection of race and contemporary American culture."
-Dalton Conley, author of HONKY From the Hardcover edition.
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About Greg Tate

A cultural critic for The Village Voice, GREG TATE is also the author of Flyboy in the Buttermilk and contributes regularly to national publications such as Rolling Stone, VIBE, and the New York Times. In addition, he helped found the Black Rock Coalition, produced two albums on his own label, and composed a libretto that was performed at the Apollo Theater. He lives in New York City.

From the Hardcover edition.
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Rating details

119 ratings
3.79 out of 5 stars
5 22% (26)
4 47% (56)
3 24% (28)
2 4% (5)
1 3% (4)
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