Literary Unicorn Toni Morrison Schools Stephen Colbert On Racism & The One “Fairly Substantial Mistake” She Made
Nov 21, 2014 By Shardae Jobson
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Through her strong but affable manner, she exclaimed that for years she didn’t read her novels after completion, but felt her “books are worthy” of accolades like the Nobel Prize and Pulitzer Prize “because they are separate from me”. When she recently picked up a copy of Beloved however, she found it to be “really, really good!” We could’ve told her that!
Regarding what passage or novels she would like to do over, Morrison felt she made a “fairly substantial mistake” when scribing her heartbreaking debut The Bluest Eye. She would’ve liked to provide “justice for one of the characters. A character I didn’t like”. Hmmmm….The Bluest Eye definitely had its share of flawed folk. If you’ve read the book (and please get to it if you haven’t!) who do you think she was referring to?
On the subject of race, without mentioning Ferguson or any 2014 headlines, Colbert asked: “Can I as a White man, understand the African-American experience?” Cue the pen and pad for this one. Morrison stated: “There’s no such thing as race. None. It’s just the human race. Scientifically, anthropologically. Racism is a construct. A social construct. And it has benefits. Money can be made off of it. People who don’t like themselves can feel better because of it…It has a social function. Racism…”
It’s confirmed. Toni Morrison is a unicorn.
This was definitely one of Stephen Colbert’s best interviews yet. Wouldn’t they make a great duo if she was on the show regularly? #yesplease
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My notes: Ms. Morrison speaks with atticism–concise and elegant expression.
As to the title, why is Toni Morrison likened to a unicorn? To better understand their use of the word, I looked up unicorn and found the following:
unicorn in Culture Expand
A mythical animal resembling a small horse but with a long, straight horn growing out of its forehead. Often it was described as having the legs of a deer and the tail of a lion. Some sources claim it was visible only to virgins.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
Minnie E. Miller