In Colson Whitehead’s award winning novel The Underground Railroad, Cora, daughter and granddaughter of slaves, flees her plantation after a horrific punishment. She heads out with a fellow slave Caesar, who takes her to the underground railroad – in this novel, a real RR. She is passionately pursued by Ridgeway, a slave catcher while she experiences the horrors of American racism and the courage of the RR personnel. The book compares a mythological Southern narrative of slavery with Cora’s truths and Ridgeway’s version of the “American imperative.” Beautifully written, full of horrific incidents, the book reminds us of the power of racism, the government’s complicity in its implementation and persistence, and reminds us freed African Americans carried with them the legacy of violence, oppression, suppression, and more violence whether from the police, physicians, or any other institution.
To listen to the Bedrosian Book Club discussion of The Underground Railroad click the orange arrow in the Soundcloud player here – or you can download it and subscribe through iTunes, Soundcloud, or Google Play
Get Out follows a young African-American photographer on a visit to his white girlfriend’s parents’ home. The tag line sums up the deep horror of the film, “Just because you’re invited, doesn’t mean you’re welcome.” The film is funny, scary, and has sparked conversations (and even a viral challenge) throughout the country.
To listen to the Price Projection Room discussion of Get Out click the orange arrow in the Soundcloud player on this post. Or you can download it and subscribe through iTunes, Soundcloud, or Google Play.
The novel is a fascinating exploration of the meaning of ethnicity, modernism, memory, and community in which we are reminded of the many ethnicities that make up America, but also their amalgamation into a secular American society with few gods. As multiple characters remind us, America is a hard place to be a god. This is a quintessential American novel from a quintessential British storyteller – it’s a sprawling road trip into the vast highways and byways of the American landscape, it’s a horror novel, a mystery, a romance, a western, a fantasy, and ultimately a look into the heart of America.
This podcast features Caroline Bhalla, Raphael Bostic, Lisa Schweitzer, and David Sloane
Jody Armour of the USC Gould School participated in a panel discussion following the performance of the one-man play, “The Bitter Game,” which explores the black experience in America, at the Skirball Cultural Center, held January 27-28, 2017. More information about the play and the writer (Keith A. Wallace) here.