Toni Morrison On The Conversation We Need To Be Having About Race
The Huffington Post Posted: 04/23/15 04:18 PM ET Updated: 04/23/15 04:59 PM ET
When Toni Morrison writes, we read. And when she speaks, we make damn sure to listen.
In a wide-ranging interview with The Telegraph, Morrison — who latest novel God Help The Child was published this month — shared her thoughts on the racial disparities that exist in the American justice system. Morrison explained how she will know when these disparities no longer exist, and why talking about race is a very different thing from talking about racism.
“People keep saying, ‘We need to have a conversation about race,’” Morrison told The Telegraph.
“This is the conversation. I want to see a cop shoot a white unarmed teenager in the back,” she said. “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.”
Racial identity and culture are topics that serve as the foundation for many of Morrison’s novels. The reality of being a black woman in the United States is something the Pulitzer and Nobel prize-winning author knows all too well.
“Race is the classification of a species. And we are the human race, period,” she said. “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 echoed the idea that there is the idea that there is no such thing as race on a November episode of the “The Colbert Report.”
“None. There is just a human race — scientifically, anthropologically,” Morrison told Colbert. “Racism is a construct, a social construct… it has a social function, racism.”