Brown: What Being Brown in the World Today Means (to Everyone)

Brown What Being Brown in the World Today Means to Everyone Finalist for the Governor General s Literary Award for Non fiction and the Trillium Book AwardA Globe and Mail National Post Toronto Life Walrus CBC Books Chatelaine Hill Times th Shelf and W

  • Title: Brown: What Being Brown in the World Today Means (to Everyone)
  • Author: Kamal Al-Solaylee
  • ISBN: 9781443441438
  • Page: 466
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Finalist for the Governor General s Literary Award for Non fiction and the Trillium Book AwardA Globe and Mail, National Post, Toronto Life, Walrus, CBC Books, Chatelaine, Hill Times, 49th Shelf and Writers Trust Best Book of the YearWith the urgency and passion of Ta Nehisi Coates Between the World and Me , the seductive storytelling of J.D Vance Hillbilly Elegy andFinalist for the Governor General s Literary Award for Non fiction and the Trillium Book AwardA Globe and Mail, National Post, Toronto Life, Walrus, CBC Books, Chatelaine, Hill Times, 49th Shelf and Writers Trust Best Book of the YearWith the urgency and passion of Ta Nehisi Coates Between the World and Me , the seductive storytelling of J.D Vance Hillbilly Elegy and the historical rigour of Carol Anderson White Rage , Kamal Al Solaylee explores the in between space that brown people occupy in today s world on the cusp of whiteness and the edge of blackness Brown proposes a cohesive racial identity and politics for the millions of people from the Global South and provides a timely context for the frictions and anxieties around immigration and multiculturalism that have led to the rise of populist movements in Europe and the election of Donald Trump.At once personal and global, Brown is packed with storytelling and on the street reporting conducted over two years in ten countries on four continents that reveals a multitude of lives and stories from destinations as far apart as the United Arab Emirates, the Philippines, the United States, Britain, Trinidad, France, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka, Qatar and Canada It features striking research about the emergence of brown as the colour of cheap labor and the pursuit of a lighter skin tone as a global status symbol As he studies the significance of brown skin for people from North Africa and the Middle East, Mexico and Central America, and South and East Asia, Al Solaylee also reflects on his own identity and experiences as a brown skinned person in his case from Yemen who grew up with images of whiteness as the only indicators of beauty and success.This is a daring and politically resonant work that challenges our assumptions about race, immigration and globalism and recounts the heartbreaking stories of the people caught in the middle.

    One thought on “Brown: What Being Brown in the World Today Means (to Everyone)”

    1. What does it mean to have brown skin in the world?It's a question I've grappled with every single day of my life since I can remember. I grew up undeniably aware of my skin color, extremely aware that, as a child, I was different not just because I was born in another country and my family moved to America with nothing, but because I looked different, too. Many of my close friends growing up—Elizabeth, Leah, Sean, Steven, Rachel—looked nothing like me, and while they never said anything abou [...]

    2. In deciding who to write about and who to leave out, I created a simple formula: Has the cultural, national, regional or religious community you come from reached a crisis point in the host country? Is that country, be it in North America, the Caribbean, Asia or Europe, experiencing some kind of moral panic about your presence in their midst? If you answered yes to both questions and you're not European white, African American, aboriginal or East Asian, then congratulations (or is it commiserati [...]

    3. I found this to be a fascinating read, not least because it is about a topic not often explored. The book overall is very well done and accomplishes what it sets out to do. What stood out to me in this area was that Al-Solaylee used scholarship by "brown" authors along with the personal interviews he conducted, and so is able to provide many viewpoints and interpretations of the issues he discusses. Because the point he is trying to make is so broad, I feel that this book serves as a wonderful i [...]

    4. The prose was nothing special; it did its job. The author's personality was likeable without imposing on the material of the book (I can imagine this would be an interesting read after reading his memoir, Intolerable). There were some issues with editing, as I spotted multiple grammatical errors and repeated words throughout the book. Yet despite these things, this book still shines. It shines in its subject matter. In delving into the lives of subjected peoples, it gives the reader a glimpse in [...]

    5. An excellent and thought provoking book about "brown" people all over the world. Al-Solaylee explores the world of Filipina domestic workers, Sri Lankan migrants, and anti Islamic movements in France and Britain. This is a well researched and eye opening book. However, it's a bit dense and there's just so much information in it that it can be little overwhelming at times.

    6. The author's personal journey interviewing people of brown skin in ten countries. He explores their social, political, economic, and personal implications of being a brown- skinned person in these countries. A thought provoking book.

    7. A noble undertaking and a likeable persona. Writing is fluid and appealing, but sometimes in need of an editor (for syntax, and that's NOT the correct way to spell predominantly!). Also, while the research is compelling, the argument is not fully coherent.

    8. Very strong beginning, becomes a bit travelogue-ish.But I am now thinking about brown in a different and differentiated way. So Al-Solaylee does achieve something important here. Opening a new front in the discussion about race and identity - and how to make things better.

    9. The book is well-researched, and I appreciated the author's obvious attempts to avoid bias. Although the title is Brown, many of the situations are transferable to the First Nations people here in Canada. As a white immigrant my experience has been very different to that of a visible minority. It also made be realize, even as a liberal thinking Canadian who believes in the idea of multiculturalism, I remain somewhat partisan—there are aspects of some cultures I would prefer not to see practice [...]

    10. Kamal Al-Solaylee is a gifted writer. He's taken on a big topic in this book -- the meaning of brown skin, which has so many different contexts and connotations around the world -- but he skillfully ties many moving stories together into a coherent and thoughtful book. One aspect of the book that did not sit as well with me was the author's own place in the narrative. It felt like Al-Solaylee couldn't decide how much of himself to bring into the book. He is certainly there, remarking on his expe [...]

    11. A sensitive and concise look at the realities of "Brown" life in several places around the world. Al-Solaylee is an incredibly engaging story teller. Definitely worth a read.

    12. Hard to put down read that makes one more acutely aware of how global politics and attitudes are towards people that encompase being "brown". Touching stories that challenge the working migrant stereotype that bring the commonalities all people share to light. While it does not touch upon many issues into as much detail as one would like, one cannot fault the book for not doing so. Deeper details in the form of a book would be encyclopedic in size

    13. I think this should be required reading for every high-school student in North America. This is an eye-opening account of the lives of millions of "Brown" people living in countries all around the globe. Stories of modern-day slavery; stories of discrimination; stories of survival and stories of hope. This is an important book that will stay with me for a very long time. I highly recommend it to everyone.

    14. Rather enjoyed this book, especially since I wanted to be challenged to read something new. Recent events highlight that we have become complacent.As a side bar, the chapter on Trinidad helped one of students with researching the social & cultural aspects of chutney music. Who would've thought?

    15. This book should make you angry. How can so many of our modern societies devalue and demonize people for their skin colour & heritage? Grrr. So much work still to be done, in Canada and abroad.

    16. Very educational. Eye opening. A must read for everyone. I only wish he focused a little more on the South Asian community.

    17. Okay but could have been shorter I had read Kamal Al-Solaylee's autobiography a few years ago and wasn't impressed. But I was intrigued by the premise of this book and how "brown" people fit in society. They're not white but they're not black either. Al-Solaylee takes a look at how brown people live, work, survive, etc. in society. He takes a mostly country by country look, giving the reader a bit of history mixed with societal/political context with some research and anecdotes from various p [...]

    18. A very interesting investigation into the perception of colour around the world and within communities of colour. To think that colour differentiation exists within people of similar ethnic communities is hard to conceive for me since it's something I've never experienced and am unlikely to ever experience, yet from my observation of my students over the years I can understand. That so many times and places treat the 'other' as slave labour is frightening, and the worst part is that it's still h [...]

    19. After briefly discussing the concepts race and colourism and their history in the first two chapters, Al-Solaylee begins the series of case studies that examine the idea of brownness from various angles, creating more breadth than depth. Al-Solaylee is exposing the surface of many complicated issues and situations, succeeding in providing a sense of the scope, but not a deep understanding. Nevertheless, he provides an entry point to a variety of situations that shine a light on our thinking abou [...]

    20. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It's about being brown in the world today. How even the shade of brown makes a difference. It's well written, interesting and covers different countries - Trinidad, Qatar, France, Canada to name a few. Enlightening and sad at the same time.

    21. I'm on page 60 and am finding this book fasinating. However I have a comment to make. I have yet to come across a so called "white" person that is actually the colour white! More like shades of pink, peach, cream, etc. Same goes for "black". - more like shades of brown. I know Kamal Al-Solaylee is describing colourism as it exists in the world today, but it just irks me that the word "white" has being misused, but then describing yourself as pink or peach wouldn't hold the same connotations with [...]

    22. Honestly so insightful to hear the background context of issues I have and continue to come across in my daily life. Did the Filipino chapter make my cry in public? The answer is an unashamed yes.

    23. Definitely a book that has opened my eyes and educated me on issues I never really thought deeply about. A must read for everyone.

    24. A powerful and informative book about race and racism. I hope this book is read widely because the subject matter is something that Canadians can't simply shrug away, especially with the political climate the way it is.

    25. Brown tackles some difficult questions as it goes back in history to explain how being a certain skin tone has influenced popular opinion against a collective diaspora of people for centuries. The legacy of colonialism left among its wake racial and colour discrimination which follows people around to this day. In Western societies brown people are either nameless, subjected to doing the work that the locals don't want, or they are at the other end of the spectrum, educated professionals with wh [...]

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