Tonight with Lester Podcast

TONI MORRISON TRIBUTE


Guest : Asanda Ngoasheng | Political Analyst and Research Assistant at Centre for
Rights and Justice at University of Sussex |

The death of Toni Morrison, 88, American editor, novelist and professor, is a huge loss to
many around the world. Morrison, who won both the Nobel Prize in Literature and the
Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, was especially influential on black authors, academics and
activists working on race issues today.
Morrison wrote her debut novel at almost 40-years-old after working for years as a
book editor. She started writing because she was tired of the lack of representation of
black people as full complex human beings who love, laugh and cry in most of the
novels she was editing.
I was in my teens when I read her first novel, The Bluest Eye. The book told the story of
a young black girl who was teased about her dark skin, hair and eyes. She then decides
that what will solve her problems is if she was to get light skin and blue eyes. It is a
desire she starts praying for consistently.
The novel made me think deeply about internalised racism and how the black
community copes with the trauma that racism visits upon us daily. Through reading The
Bluest Eye and her other work, and listening to her interviews, I was able to craft my
voice on race issues better and be unafraid and unapologetic about my stance because
Morrison constantly emphasised the importance of being unapologetic when dealing
with racism.

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