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Nappy-Headed Negro Syndrome


Product Description

It's here:  the book that shows you how to talk about race without talking about race.  Satirical observations on identity, judgment, and assumptions and unconscious bias. Nappy-Headed Negro Syndrome is a humorous view of contemporary American urban reality from the unique perspective of a Detroit newspaper columnist and copy editor-turned-cab driver--and after the laughter comes the weeping.  For example, Oneita is at a party having a polite conversation with a stranger who thinks Oneita said, "I'm a nigger" instead of "l'm a knitter."  Oneita is a master at handling awkward situations and Nappy-Headed Negro Syndrome is a handbook to etiquette in the racially charged 21st Century.

Praise for Nappy-Headed Negro Syndrome

"Damned funny, scalpel-sharp, and moves like a rocket. Like everything Oneita Jackson writes, I read this through in one sitting. She never wastes a word, lands every punch, and her prose has the cleansing power of a storm no one saw coming." - Dave Eggers, international bestseller 

"Jack Kerouac called it the ‘naked lunch, a frozen moment when everyone sees what is on the end of every fork.’  These moments of revelation are afforded by the greatest works of literature—Zen teaching stories, Sufi tales about Nasruddin, Aesop’s Fables.  Everyday life is delusional because human beings are heavily defended from reality:  When there is a murder next door, they say, ‘This never happens in our neighborhood,’ and then there is the notion ‘I can do no wrong’ that results in the delirious cases of road rage that are so puzzling and pervasive.  In Oneita Jackson’s Nappy-Headed Negro Syndrome, we come face-to-face with the deepest taboos in the American psyche.  Jackson, with humor and compassion, shows us the quality of the paradoxes that make us who we are—that make us so stubborn, dangerous, and unrepentant.” - Jon Woodson, author of Summer Games and Endowed, a Comic Novel


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Oneita Jackson

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Product Reviews

  1. Raw, real, authentic satiristic narratives found me crying or laughing hardily! ...many dogged eared pages 5 Star Review

    Posted by on 9th Mar 2019

    Oneita Jackson's, Nappy-Headed Negro Syndrome, an expanded 2019 version, is inclusive of raw, real, authentic, and comedic narratives indigenous to her life in Detroit, Michigan, brought me to tears and hardy laughing! Dogged eared pages, mark-ups, were numerous during my read; stories mimic and mirrored so many of my personal experiences being dismissed as a Black mother, woman, Detroiter, world-traveler, holding degrees from Michigan and Chicago including recipient of the prestigious Fulbright fellowship! Jackson tells me that I/we matter!

    A phrase from my personal talks with Oneita that resonate is to “Pay attention!” Repeatedly and proudly Jackson often says Dave Eggers endorsed my book, Letters for Mrs. Grundy, …. “Do you know who he is?” An international bestseller and movie producer, Eggers has honored her work, writing, “this is trade mark Oneita Jackson, wherein she destroys all worldly pretense with wit and never wastes a word.”

    Recently, I discovered on my bookshelf a dogged eared book, Americanah, written by acclaimed author and winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, was also endorsed by Eggers as “a very funny, very warm and moving intergenerational epic that confirms Adichie’s virtuosity.” You can connect the dots!

    If you want to know about authentic Detroit and it’s often race informed cultural nuances, this book is a must read! Pay attention to good customer service – Jackson’s contemporary real-life experiences, often funny, are authentic, timeless, and poignant, offering a critical satirical analysis of race and ethics in today's America. In Nappy-Headed Negro Syndrome Oneita Jackson, uses in-your-face metaphors to tell you about yourself; it’s deep folk! For me as African- American woman of age, and retired Professor, each of Oneita’s stories capture my ongoing experiences informed by resilience!

  2. Great read 5 Star Review

    Posted by on 3rd Mar 2019

    A simultaneously funny and often shocking collection of accounts with the dumb things people say on a regular basis to people of color. A super quick read that is both entertaining and thought provoking.

  3. An Essential Read! 5 Star Review

    Posted by on 1st Mar 2019

    A great and easy to read book of experiences that every American has or will experience in a lifetime. Very entertaining and essential read.

  4. Insight. Truth. Humor. 5 Star Review

    Posted by on 28th Feb 2019

    A tell it like it is tell all. Oneita brilliantly captures seemingly unrelated day to day encounters into one tidy little pocket size book of Life. A must read for Bergdorf card holders.

  5. A good reminder about the assumptions we all make... 5 Star Review

    Posted by on 27th Feb 2019

    Making assumptions is a shortcut to embarrassment- and this book illustrates this over and over. Oneita is a truth teller and will catch you off guard. Her sophisticated writing takes mundane everyday experiences and elevates them with humor to make a larger point. The title sounds like it would mention hair but the book never discusses hair. I also assumed this was fiction but it’s NOT! Nothing is made up here - everything actually happened. I have witnessed some of these events and been a passenger in her cab on tours of Detroit. Regardless of your race, age or social status, This book will take you places you haven’t been and surprise you. Read it in less than 1 hour. It’s even more entertaining when she reads aloud from her book. Don’t miss that!

  6. A good, short read.....long on truth 5 Star Review

    Posted by on 8th Feb 2019

    Nappy-Headed Negro Syndrome presents the unfortunately familiar with piercing wit and razor-sharp truth. It evokes countless “umph, umph, umph’s", and yet, one finds comfort and inspiration in Oneita’s skillfully executed commitment to share our experiences in a way that substantially contribute to the much–needed race conversation.
    A great read!
    Patricia Ann Rencher
    Urban Aging News, Publisher

  7. Loved the book 5 Star Review

    Posted by on 1st Feb 2019

    Oneita is an incredible writer. It’s amazing how with her satirical approach she makes some very uncomfortable moments so easy to understand, relate to and learn from.

    I’ve been laughing and learning throughout the book. Stereotypes and assumptions take place around us all the time. Always be courteous and kind is the takeaway for me from her books. Thanks for inspiring me to read more, can’t wait for your next one.

  8. Prickly 5 Star Review

    Posted by on 20th Jan 2019

    This book is prickly. It pokes you in places you might not have known were vulnerable - places that hold attitudes and assumptions you might have thought long abandoned and replaced by your better self. Some of it is laugh-out-loud funny. I laughed out loud. I cried a bit too. I cringed a lot as it poked me with the prickly reality of The Nappy-Headed Negro Syndrome. Do I contribute to that? Have I in the past? Do my friends? Do I stand up and take notice - or action? Should I? Are white people really that stupid sometimes? Oh… well.. that part - yes…

    Oneita has written an important book. This is her truth as she knows it every day. It is our truth as well, whether we know it or not. Much of the book made me uncomfortable - prickly - at times. I am better for it. The book is small, but it is weighty. It’s slightness in size urges you to pick it up again and re-read the prickly part that made you set it aside for a moment until her truth becomes your knowledge. It’s not a mirror, but there will be reflections that you will recognize. Pay attention

  9. A Must Read 5 Star Review

    Posted by on 17th Jan 2019

    Oneita takes the reader through all kinds of emotions in her truth. One minute she has you laughing out loud and then an unadulterated truth will hit you like a punch in the gut. Again and again. This book dives deep into the complicated mess of assuming and unconscious bias, beautifully done with sophisticated wit and humor. Also, it's a page turner!

  10. A Must-Read for 5 Star Review

    Posted by on 9th Dec 2018

    Author Oneita Jackson's approach to critical conversations about race shows an amazing compassion for the witless.

    I read her latest book - "Nappy-Headed Negro Syndrome" - as soon as it showed up - and I tore through it. It's a quick read, hilarious in places, thought-provoking throughout. I will read it again and a few more times, because there are so many layers of nuance behind the humor.

    If you're interested in reading about and learning from the life experiences of people who are different than you, this book should be on your must-read list.


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