But the Burden: What White People are Taking from Black Culture
by Greg Tate
Much of what America has sold to the world in music, fashion, sports, literature, and politics as uniquely American in character - from modern art to hip-hop - was uniquely African-American in origin. In this provocative collection, the contributors dissect the ways in which dominant white culture seems to be taking on, as editor Greg Tate's mother used to tell him, "everything but the burden" from African Americans and appropriating it as its own - from fetish zing black bodies to spinning the thug life into a glamorous commodity. Is this a way of shaking off the fear of the unknown? A flattering indicator of appreciation? Or is it more complicated cultural exchange?
Largely devoted to scrutinizing white Americans' need to acquire Blackness by any means necessary, Everything but the Burden also addresses the fascination that desire provokes in a contemporary generation of African-Americans artists and intellectuals who hold complicated ideas about whose, exactly Black culture it is.
Broadway Books, 0-7679-0808-2, $23.95