Keenan Norris: How Black Writers Capture the Comedy and Dark Absurdity of Life in America

From a story on lithub.com by Keenan Norris headlined “How Black Writers Capture the Comedy and Dark Absurdity of Life in America”:

I’ve been keeping track of Paul Beatty’s books since 1996, Kobe Bryant’s rookie year in the NBA. The two men are linked for me because Beatty’s rookie novel The White Boy Shuffle (1996) became the centerpiece of a Los Angeles Lakers controversy when Lakers basketball coach Phil Jackson gave Beatty’s book to Bryant as part of his ritual book-gifting at the start of each season. Bryant, at the time a 17-year-old straight outta Italy and Philadelphia’s suburbs, was unsurprisingly insulted by the implications of Jackson’s gift—the title alone!— and promptly fed it to the garbage, a minor act of teenage self-determination which the sports media gleefully reported.