‘Race-Coloured Glasses’

The primitive habit of viewing and classifying oneself and others according to skin colour is becoming more and more mainstream in Canada.

A recent manifestation of this racist worldview’s acceptance was the listing of “Brown: What Being Brown in the World Today Means (To Everyone)” as one of Ottawa’s ‘Hill Times’ “Best Books in 2016”:


It also was a Finalist for the 2016 Governor General’s Award for Non-Fiction, and
a ‘Globe and Mail’, ‘National Post’, ‘The Walrus’, ‘CBC Books’, ‘Chatelaine’, ‘49th Shelf’, and ‘Writers’ Trust’ Best Book of the Year winner.

And Maclean’s favourably reviewed it:

The book’s ‘insights’ are predictable:

“The darker the skin, the greater the chances of exploitation, Yemini-born Canadian journalist and author Kamal Al-Solaylee finds”, says Maclean’s.


“To have white skin in the first part of the 21st century is to reap the social, economic and political benefits of Europe’s racial pasts…”

This poisonous analysis must be resisted as toxic by Western civilization. We need to constantly differentiate between cultural and racial critiques; otherwise, the only alternative is for so-called ‘whites’ to give in to a racial worldview and begin embracing and focussing on their own skin colour – a reactionary move that would guarantee a giant step backwards for all humanity…


“Do people from countries as disparate as Mexico, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, and Trinidad and Tobago share a common state of mind? Is it appropriate to lump their experiences under one theme linked to their skin colour?

“As bizarre as this might sound, it’s the premise of Ryerson University journalism professor Kamal Al-Solaylee’s “Brown: What Being Brown in the World Today Means (To Everyone)”…

“His definition of brown does not include ‘indigenous’ {‘Siberian settler’} people. {!?!} Nor do any exceedingly wealthy brown people—like industrialist Lakshmi Mittal or ‘PepsiCo’ CEO Indra Nooyi—show up within the pages of ‘Brown’…”


Author Kamal Al-Solaylee (Photo: CBC--Gary Gould)
Author Kamal Al-Solaylee (Photo: CBC–Gary Gould)

“Author Kamal Al-Solaylee says brown people around the world share identity as a source of cheap labour.”

“I propose that we think of brown as a continuum, a grouping — a metaphor, even — for millions of darker-skinned people who, in broad historical terms have missed out on the economic and political gains of the post-industrial world and are now clamouring for their fair share of the social mobility, equality, and freedom.”

“If you’re brown it’s hard to deprogram yourself from thinking such seemingly superficial but nonetheless existential questions as: Am I too dark?”



From the Publisher’s page:

‘Critical Praise’

—The Walrus

“Impressive and expansive . . . essential reading, not only for brown people seeking connection or explanation, but for anyone with any stake in understanding the non-white world.”
—The Globe and Mail

“Needless to say, this book becomes increasingly important.”
—National Post

“Kamal Al-Solaylee perfectly captures the beauty and heartbreak of being brown. This ambitious and powerful book is mandatory reading for anyone who wants to understand the complexities of race relations in our globalized world. You’ll never see a brown person in the same way again.”
—Zarqa Nawaz, author of ‘Laughing All the Way to the Mosque’ and Creator of ‘Little Mosque on the Prairie’


The Publisher also adds:

“…he also reflects on his own identity and experiences as a brown-skinned person (in his case from Yemen) who has grown up with images of whiteness as the only indicators of beauty and desire.”

“To be brown is to be on the cusp of whiteness and on the edge of blackness.”




Also at: https://www.facebook.com/345805362190090/photos/a.350308008406492.1073741828.345805362190090/1014446761992610/?type=3


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