Sunday, July 10, 2011

Walter Mosley on Making America Great

I stumbled across this Booknotes TV interview with novelist Walter Mosley. It's fascinating. He's fascinating far beyond his novels. He talks about everything from the birth of Easy Rollins, to his growing up in Watts with an African-American father and Jewish mother, to his vision for making America better. The man is a deep thinker who considers how we can improve the world, which is how he ended up collaborating on the book Black Genius and writing Workin' on the Chain Gang: Shaking Off the Dead Hand of History.

He also talks about how he has been stopped in restaurants and bookstores by people who question his right to be there because he is a black man.
I was in Beverly Hills two days ago and I had three experiences. I went to a jewelers with my mother because my mother needed to do something with a ring. I walked in and they looked at me and I said, `Who do I talk to?' And they said, `What do you want?' It's a jewelry store. What else would I want? You know, but I--I got over that and we did this thing. And then I went into a bookstore, and a woman came up to me and says, `What do you want?' So I said, `It's a bookstore.
What do I want?' And she followed me until I asked her could I sign my book? And then she stopped following me and she let me sign my book. And finally, I went to a restaurant at night, and I was stopped going into the restaurant. And they said, `What are you doing here?' I--I'm coming to meet somebody. You know? And, I mean, you know, it happened to be somebody that they knew. And so then they were nice to me.

My experience in America is that I'm a black man in America and that I get stopped, you know? It's not as bad as it used to be. But it's
still--you know, people--at first, they wonder--they say, `Well, we don't recognize you here,' you know? And so there--therefore, I'm a black man in America, but they define me, not me. You know, my definition is I'm Walter Mosley.
While he talks about race, he believes that race is not the biggest challenge that we will face in this millennium.

He used to be a computer programmer, and he didn't start writing fiction until he was 33 years old. He advocates people going 90 days without TV, radio, and electronic media, including the Internet. While he believes something is terribly wrong with capitalism, he is not a Marxist. He hopes we can come together and figure out something better for the common good. A perceptive and introspective man who says fiction is true while non fiction pretends to be true.

The interview was conducted in 2000. Watch here.

1 comment:

le0pard13 said...

Great heads up interview, Nordette. Walter Mosley is one of my favorite writers. He's always insightful in print and with speaking his mind. I saw him last Spring on his book tour for his latest Leonid McGill novel. Thanks for this.