The “symbolic annihilation” of black children in literature can have devastating consequences. 

Media Diversified

by Zetta Elliot

“When You’re Strange”

Zetta ElliotZetta Elliot

In 2005 I wrote my first memoir following the death of my father and the unexpected termination of what was supposed to be a year-long teaching assignment in East Africa. From the discomfort of my childhood home I created a mixed-media memoir that examines the shifting terrain upon which we negotiate race, kinship, and identity. A couple of years before his death, in the heat of an argument my father said, “You’re a stranger in this family.” I decided to use his accusation as the title of my memoir since it accurately reflected the feeling of alienation I experienced in Djibouti and within my country of origin. Jamaica Kincaid once wrote,

“For some people, a fixed state of irritation is like oxygen. I understand this all too well.”[i]

This seemed an apt epigraph for the book since my frustration with Canada…

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