Read More Nonfiction by Authors of Color! 

The October topic for my #ReadPOC October Challenge is: Read More Nonfiction by Authors of Color!

I picked a book by a German journalist, writing about institutionalized racism in Germany. The book is based on experiences from her own life, aka mostly set up as a memoir.

Was weiße Menschen nicht über Rassismus hören wollen (Aber wissen sollten)
by Alice Hasters

I don‘t think this book has been translated into English. The title would be: What white people don’t want to hear about racism (but should know)

Translation of the German book blurb:

“May I touch your hair?”, “Can you get sunburn?”, “Where are you from?” Those who ask such questions usually don’t mean it badly. But still: they are racist. White people often don’t want to hear why. Alice Hasters explains it anyway. She vividly and patiently describes how racism shapes her everyday life as a black woman in Germany. It becomes clear that racism is not just a problem on the far-right of society. And confronting your own racism is painful at first, but the only way to overcome it.

I am about a third into the audiobook, narrated by the author. I was pretty hesitant about picking it up, not wanting to be told what a horrible, privileged and racist person I am. Plus, the reviews that I looked up were allover the place and, expectedly, very controversial and critical. About three hours into the audio I like it a lot. Hasters writes well, narrates well, gives great examples and presents her arguments objectively. Full review to come…

14 thoughts on “Read More Nonfiction by Authors of Color! 

  1. I don’t know. „Where are you coming from“ is a smalltalk starter. If anyone wants to see a racist notion in that, we’ve come way too far. I might be interested, but that notion alone scares me away.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. She is talking about being asked, because people don‘t perceive her as German. They ask her, because they want to know where her origins are, „but where are you really from?“, meaning what African country. This is not about a chat about being from the North or South of Germany.

      I was hesitant about the book as well, but it is very well written.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I understood that. It probably depends on the definition of racism and who defines it. That’s why I’m not interested in that book at all. Sounds like a „preaching to the choir“ book to me.


      2. Racisms should be defined by the people being discriminated against. They are the ones getting hurt.

        It‘s a shame that you feel that way about the book. It‘s not preaching to the choir, whatever that means in this context. I don‘t feel preached at, but informed.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Yes, they need to participate in the definition. But such terms should be defined be all stakeholders, not by one party alone. Especially not in the case of sociological terms.
        I don’t feel at all about that book, I’m just not motivated reading it at all.


      4. I politely disagree. „They“ should not just participate, but define the term. All stakeholders includes those that behave racist. Racism is not just a term, it‘s alive and well.


  2. This sounds like a good book. I have been asked “where are you from” way too many times before—and the people asking never wanted to know where *I* was from, but where my generations-removed Chinese ancestors were from. It was both eye-opening and greatly disturbing to me to see how upset the always white (and almost always male) people asking that question got with me for not understanding that they wanted to paint me as someone “not from here” even though I’ve never known any other home country.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Finished! The post will be up tomorrow. I didn‘t add much to this initial post though. Not bad, maybe a bit shallow. A good starter to the topic, without freaking out the readers too much, I guess.

      It must be so annoying and tiring to be asked where are you from all the time and not seeing you as an individual with your own history. Hasters writes about that as well, with similar experiences.


      1. I look forward to reading your review!

        Luckily I don’t get asked that nearly as much anymore. Though, I would be a lot more willing to give people a piece of my mind now than I was when I was asked as a kid.


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