Your Black Friend by Ben Passmore

Your Black Friend and Other Strangers Published in 2018 by Siver Sprocket.

These are short pieces about race and more. In the introduction Passmore writes: “I know you picked this book up thinking you were gonna read a whole lot of wokeness…I am not really that type of SJW…I’m conscious of a pronounced self-satisfied mentality that people (myself included) approach these types of ‘political works’ with.”

Passmore works to undermine our expectations saying that it’s about “how to be dangerous, how to be a failure, and how to laugh in the face of a world that wants to crush us.” He contemplates the issues that Black Lives Matter has been raising all along, and really is doing what many of us white people want which is telling us about Black experience and suggesting what we can do. Some other pieces just go off into places in Passmore’s imagination where it is not always easy for me to follow him. But give him a chance. Take the ride. His drawing is sometimes clear and sharp, other times unfinished and suggestive, but he moves you along with him.

In a one page chapter, “No Justice, Just Us!”, he writes: “I’ve seen a lot of preference of performance over substance, lately…Maybe a lot of revisionist thinking around the Civil Rights movement has people thinking that nice speeches will shake the dust of the brokers of power and make them fix everything? The reality is that the history of change in the US is a story of communities acting autonomously and the state playing catch up.” and in “Take ‘Em Down!”: which is about taking down confederate statues, “in the future it would be nice to see our country celebrate the people who were really responsible for our freedoms. in the meantime, it’s up to us to be our own symbols of liberation.”

He celebrates individuals and their actions when they are good and not so good, but all the time human.

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