Says Author Walter Mosley
Walter Mosley, American crime fiction novelist of more than 40 books including, Devil in a Blue Dress, says racism will end when we realize “white people don’t exist.”
In an interview Wednesday with NPR, the writer responded to
typical discussion topics; projects in queue, industry demographics and
upcoming honors — namely his recent recognition given by the National
Black Writers Conference (NBWC), which he first attended as a
soon-to-be-published writer in 1988.
Mosley also invoked a “things that make you go hmmm” moment,
when he responded to an article he wrote about the Trayvon Martin case
where he questioned the varying ways George Zimmerman was racially
categorized in the media as white, half white, Hispanic or half
He challenged our collective societal construction of race,
specifically our acceptance and use of “white” to identify a culturally
diverse group of people.
“I’ve been giving this talk a lot lately that the big issue about
race in America is that there really is no such thing as white people,”
Mosley said. “And, you know, in order to end race in America, all we
have to do is recognize that the notion a white person doesn’t really
exist on any term and in any way.”
Mosley, of a mixed background, responds that he is half Jewish and
half Black when confronted with suggestions that he is half white and
“Well, you know, that people think about who they are from culture,
not from supposed DNA or color or what continent, you know, somebody
came from a long time ago ’cause then you could start talking about
European people, you know,” he said.
“My mother’s Jewish, of course, which makes me Jewish. And people
say, well, how does it feel to be half white and half Black? And I said
my mother’s Jewish. That’s not white. And then slowly, I mean, over
time, I said, well, nobody’s white. Gypsies aren’t white and Vikings
aren’t white and the Greeks aren’t white and the Spaniards aren’t white.
You know, they are who they are. You know, and they understand
themselves in a certain kind of way that got redefined in America
because they had to kill the Native Americans and enslave the Africans.
So they had to become white people.”
Mosley brings up a very interesting view point on our race
classifications. However, one major hole exists in his argument, that
undoubtedly those responding to his assertion will ask him to fill. That
is, what then does the term “Black” mean and what is its role in
demystifying racial identity?