We Can't Breathe: On Black Lives, White Lies, and the Art of Survival

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We Can't Breathe: On Black Lives, White Lies, and the Art of Survival

By Jabari Asim

Released October 16, 2018

n We Can’t Breathe, Jabari Asim disrupts what Toni Morrison has exposed as the “Master Narrative” and replaces it with a story of black survival and persistence through art and community in the face of centuries of racism. In eight wide-ranging and penetrating essays, he explores such topics as the twisted legacy of jokes and falsehoods in black life; the importance of black fathers and community; the significance of black writers and stories; and the beauty and pain of the black body. What emerges is a rich portrait of a community and culture that has resisted, survived, and flourished despite centuries of racism, violence, and trauma. These thought-provoking essays present a different side of American history, one that doesn’t depend on a narrative steeped in oppression but rather reveals black voices telling their own stories.

Jabari Asim was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri. For eleven years, he was an editor at The Washington Post, where he also wrote a syndicated column on politics, popular culture and social issues, and he served for ten years as the editor in chief of Crisis magazine, the NAACP's flagship journal of politics, culture and ideas. He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in Creative Arts and the author of six books for adults, including The N Word, and nine books for children.