JoeyPinkney.com Exclusive Interview
5 Minutes, 5 Questions With…
Saleem Little, author of Black Girl, White World: Crossing the Line
Black Girl, White World is one woman’s quest for an identity in a world in which she feels like a stranger; a world in which, as Toni Morrison put it, “American meant white and everyone else had to hyphenate.”
Dahlia is exposed to injustices at a very young age; from the false imprisonment of her father, to the slap on the wrist received by a man convicted of molesting twelve boys and girls at the shelter she was forced to reside in after losing her mother and father.
By the time she reaches college, she fully understands racial discrimination and the effects of it and finds herself in the middle of a racial riot on her college campus. In the end, Dahlia’s tale is one of self-awakening as she struggles to turn her tumultuous black and white world into one of color, full of love and understanding.
Joey Pinkney: Where did you get the inspiration to write “Black Girl, White World: Crossing the Line”?
Saleem Little: I was inspired to write Black Girl, White World from an internal disdain for the trivial things that men deem worthy of warring or fighting over. Also the realization that most prejudice, and most misunderstandings, stem from ignorance. More often than not people seem unable to escape the matrix that conditions their ideas and systematically helps to form their habits and coerces their decision-making.
Unable to ascend mentally or spiritually, attached to all that is material and unable to tap into the oneness that creates harmonious balance, some continuously sow discord over anything that fits their egotistical need to feel superior, e.g. race, religion, gender, financial position, social status, etc. Realizing that most of the dichotomies that divide humanity are baseless egotistic innovations, I chose to tackle one of many conflicts – one that seemed to be a little more prevalent than others. I also hope to inspire my daughter to always approach new people, places and things with an open mind, an open heart, and not the least bit of pre-judgment or prejudice.
JP: What sets “Black Girl, White World: Crossing the Line” apart from other books in the same genre?
SL: Who knows? Maybe nothing at all. I just hope it is enjoyed and received well. Everything else is in the hands of the Inspirer.
JP: As an author, what are the keys to your success that led to “Black Girl, White World: Crossing the Line” getting out to the public?
SL: The key is answering the call. We all have specific gifts and talents just as everything from the celestial bodies to the ant colonies. We all have a function and a part to play. Observe the laws of nature, adhere to your specific calling or function and you’ll be just fine.
Michael Jordan was giving some advice and his observation on the generation of basketball players coming behind him. He was a pioneer of sorts where he had become just as successful off the court as he had on the court, thanks in big part to the success of his sneaker line and deal through Nike. He was explaining how, unlike today’s stars, he hadn’t gone out chasing sneaker endorsement deals. He had gone out trying to be the best basketball player in the world.
Him perfecting his craft made him an endorsement magnet. He explained how today’s stars expect a sneaker deal their rookie season or a plethora of endorsement deals early in their careers. In chasing these deals, instead of perfection, they become prima donnas and fail in maximizing their true potential – character fail and skill fail.
He answered the call and was therefore successful. I think that’s what it boils down to. Success is a subjective perception. Every man has his own idea of what success is. In the business world, it is marked by financial ascension. In the spiritual world, spiritual ascension. In the world of music, it may be one thing. In the game of life, it encompasses everything one does. I believe in the world of literature, it is merely to share your inspirations in the hopes of inspiring others. If I do that, I’ve succeeded in this particular field. Everything else is a much appreciated perk.
JP: As an author, what is your writing process? How long did it take you to start and finish “Black Girl, White World: Crossing the Line”?
SL: My writing process is just to never force it. My recipe is very simple: leave myself open to inspiration, allow the inspiration to marinate with my creativity, then deliver once the concoction can no longer stand confinement.
JP: What’s next for Saleem Little?
SL: I’m going to do more writing and helping others in their writing endeavors. I have quite a few more novels and novellas to publish, so more stories, more books and a few surprises…
“Whosoever of you sees an evil, let him change it with his hand; and if he is not able to do so, then [let him change it] with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart — and that is the weakest of faith.” ~ Muhammad Ibn Abdullah