The Gray Edges of Blackness

Emily Bernard’s essays explore her own experience of race in America

Alison Segar
Alison Segar

Emily Bernard has offered her essays to The American Scholar since 2005, when we published “Teaching the N-Word.” She’s written a lot of essays since then, essays that prove their etymology: the French word essayer—to try. She tries on different ways of thinking about what it means to be black, or the mother of daughters adopted from Ethiopia, or married to a white man, or the American daughter of a Trinidadian father. She joins us on the podcast to sort through the questions—and some of the answers—that form the heart of her new collection, Black Is the Body.

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Stephanie Bastek is the senior editor of the Scholar and the producer/host of the Smarty Pants podcast.


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