Review: The Black Experience
As the rift among Americans widens over politics and race, at no time in my conscious life I can remember so much bitterness existing. We now exist in a world where people’s need to understand each other is no longer warranted. Division thrives over hate, mistrust, and ignorance. This has been building over years where the wealth gap became less of a concern for most, and tribal loyalty became paramount to everything. People have come to follow leaders with blind loyalty, with no opinion for themselves.
One of the biggest issues is the construct of race. It has made most human beings not look at each other as human but as their racial makeup first. This has been more apparent to people of color as every day is a blessing and every choice can be your last. Friends having been lost to their making a bad choice, or any choice at all, for merely existing, is a stark reality many children of color have to swallow. Jordan Clark and Ahmara Smith deliver a voyeuristic and startling tour of how it is to be a person of color in The Black Experience. It puts those who will never know this reality a step closer to it.
Our protagonist gets an alert on their phone, another young black boy, 10 years old, is wrongly arrested in a case of mistaken identity. This gives them, pause, even changing their course a bit. As they choose their clothes for the day, they realize what they wear can make a difference. It can determine whether they come home or not. So, they decide not to wear their favorite sweater. As they leave their home, they become keenly aware of their surroundings. They don’t know the true intention of a neighbor or a police officer on patrol. Their public life is more a minefield than one can infer. As they reach a coffee shop to meet friends, they get tense looks from the people who are there, until their friends who are white show up. When one of their friends asks them a divisive question, they must choose to illuminate or avoid confrontation. Every decision and choice is examined in this series.
Overall, the comic is a scary depiction of how it is to be black on a daily basis. It’s one no one really wants to experience. The story by Clark, feels like a cross between Black Mirror and the movie Tyrel. It evokes thought while remembering to entertain the reader. The art by Smith is beautiful, especially the way they draw people of color. Altogether, a story that despite its brevity packs more of a story and message than books with five times its size.
Story: Jordan Clark Art: Ahmara Smith
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall:10 Recommendation: Buy