Oneita Jackson's "Nappy-Headed Negro Syndrome"

Oneita Jackson is a national treasure. You should read Nappy-Headed Negro Syndrome, her amazing collection of short stories!

A few years ago I took a trip to Michigan, selling ads for Boing Boing. While there a friend arranged a tour of revival Detroit; this was the first I'd met Oneita Jackson.

Oneita is a magical tour-guide, a fantastic journalist, and the best damn cab driver you'll ever meet. She knows absolutely everyone in Detroit worth knowing, and was so incredibly enthusiastic that I will never forget the experience.

When Oneita sent me a copy of Nappy-Headed Negro Syndrome I knew I had to read it that very day. This collection chronicles the experiences of a highly educated black woman as she moves about the many circles in American culture. Her stories will make you laugh, and you will facepalm, and most of all you will THINK.

The following story is a wonderful introduction to Oneita's work. I think these are as much poetry as short story.

BLACK PEOPLE KNIT

by Oneita Jackson

I said I was a knitter, but that’s not what she heard.

We were at a loud party at my friend’s house in West Village and I was the only One.

It didn’t matter that we were having a polite and interesting conversation, one of those getting-to- know-you, how-do-you-know-so-and-so (read: Why are YOU here?) conversations, where my announcement would have been inappropriate, moreover, inappropriate, moreover, awkward, o -topic, out of context, strange.

Arresting.

“I’m a nigger.”

What dumb-ass nigger says that at a white- people’s party?

Read the rest