January 22, 2011

Shane Stevens Saturday: Across 110th Street



Go Down Dead, Way Uptown In Another World, and The Rat Pack all center on the lives of young, African-American characters pushed to the edges of society by poverty, the illusions of the American Dream, and the lure of crime-fueled exchanges of power. In addition to his novels, Stevens reviewed a number of books by African-American authors and frequently wrote about race relations as the Civil Rights movement flared and flamed to life.

A number of people assumed that Stevens was an African-American writer.

He's not.

He's white.

A number of African-American writers and critics didn't appreciate Stevens, as a white man, offering his opinions on either "their" literature in particular or race relations in general. Ishmael Reed expressed his distate of Stevens' opinion in a poem called "White Hope".

Read it here.

For more on Stevens, the African-American cultural identity, and Chester Himes defense of Shane's writing, you'll have to wait for my piece.

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