“Is it bad to be brown?” “Are white people afraid of brown people?” “Are we racist?”
Mira Jacob’s graphic memoir, “Good Talk”, strives to answer these questions and more with humor, honesty and grace. The result is a powerful novel that tackles the tough questions about what is to be non-white in America. And explains how not much has changed since her parents immigrated here in the 1960s.
When Jacob’s six-year-old son, Z, started asking questions about race, she didn’t always know how to respond. Jacob is a first-generation Indian woman, and her husband Jay, is Jewish. This placed their son, Z, squarely in the middle of heated debates and rising tensions about race in the United States, during a time when Donald Trump was rising in the polls.
Jacob’s responses to her son’s inquiries force her to examine her past and how colorism is ingrained in her culture, not just in the United States.
This deeply personal journey plays out as flashbacks on the page as Jacob explores her parent’s (successful) arranged marriage, her own bisexuality and what it is to be an Indian woman in America post 9/11.
With simple illustrations drawn by Jacob, at first glance these tough conversations take on a monolithic appearance. At times the unyielding expressions of the characters on the page don’t match the tone of the writing, which make the words that much more powerful.
“Good Talk” is a breezy read that can be humorous in one sentence and soul-crushing in the next. Jacob is able to convey what it feels like to be Black and brown in America while still alluding to hope for the future.
The Clark College Columbia Writers Series is proud to host Mira Jacob this Thursday at 5 p.m. This event is open and free to the public. For a link and password to this Q&A please write to email@example.com.