When was the last time you read a book written by a black author?

Such a stupid question, right? Well, it was used as an example of why Luxembourg has a problem with racism. Not all that long ago, the question I asked above was asked at a conference where many clever minds sat together. They stated that everyone who never read a book by a black author is a racist because they willingly discriminate authors who aren’t white.

I cannot say how stupid this all sounds to me, and yet, the question keeps bothering me. My reply is: I don’t know if I ever read a book from a dark-skinned author.

I don’t care about that. I care about the text at the back of the book, and I care about the story and the writing, but I never worried about gender, sexuality, race, or religion when I bought a book. And believe me, I buy and read a lot.

A couple of weeks after reading about the debate and that question, I noticed, by coincidence, that the author of the book that I am reading is indeed a black woman. Now I had this book with me for a while and looked at it, but I was never concerned by the author’s picture, apart from the fact that I spoke with my daughter about how beautiful that woman is.

Sometimes, I test my kids when we see black people on the television or at their school. I ask them what is special about this person, and they never mention the colour of the skin. They notice glasses or weird shoes or accessories, but never the colour of the skin, and I like that a lot.

My father is Italian, and he immigrated with his father in the early 60s. There was more work here in the iron industry, and the school level was different – higher too. And so, my father lived with his older sister and one older brother and his father in a small house, far away from home. (His mother and three other brothers had stayed in Italy, and my grandpa sent monthly checks to his family.) My dad went to a Luxembourgish school and had no idea about the language or the traditions here. It was a cultural shock. But he was determined to integrate himself and have friends. He picked up the guitar when he was very young, and that was how he made his first friends. He never regretted it. At least that’s what he said last week.

Luxembourg’s population on January 1st 2019, was 615 729 habitants. Yes… We are a very small country. (The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is the only remaining Grand Duchy of the world…)

47,5% of the citizens of Luxembourg are foreigners. 43% of the people working here are commuters from Belgium, France (52%), and Germany.

Maybe that leaves more potential for racism, or maybe it leaves more room for tolerance, I am not sure.

What I am sure of is that I don’t want to be told that I am a racist because I haven’t read a book by a black author.

Currently reading: Adèle – Leila Slimani

music: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/7hw852D0GKEYLyxSwFzzdg?si=K596rGU_Rj6I636GTiIZog

Don’t be afraid to discuss or answer the above question; I would like to hear your thoughts.

Have a great evening.


PS: this post was inspired by Paul, who asked to read more about Luxembourg. Thank you 💜

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