Black for a Day
White Fantasies of Race and Empathy
University of North Carolina Press 2017
New Books in African American StudiesNew Books in American StudiesNew Books in Arts & LettersNew Books in HistoryNew Books in Literary StudiesNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books Network November 14, 2018 Adam McNeil
How does one show empathy towards someone across racial lines? In her new book Black for a Day: White Fantasies of Race and Empathy (University of North Carolina Press, 2017) Dr. Alisha Gaines analyzes the history of sympathetic whites “becoming” temporarily black (often going beyond simple “blackface”) to understand (and explain to their peers) what it was “like” to be black in America. Dr. Gaines details the limits of racial empathy and vouches, rather, for an anti-racist sensibility for those seeking to work on behalf of oppressed people everywhere.
Adam McNeil is a PhD student in History, African American Public Humanities Initiative and Colored Conventions Project Fellow at the University of Delaware. He can be reached on Twitter @CulturedModesty.