The author of “We are not like them” shared how writing this book helped them talk about race honestly

He had the nightmare of being shot and killed by the police, imagining the school photos his mother would use when he died, and his death would become news.

This work is fictitious, but writing allows you to see the world through different lenses.

In their novels, unpleasant events take place, and this is the beginning of the kind of dialogue that Pride and Piazza hope their book “We are not like them” will solve. The story revolves around a white woman named Jen and a black woman named Riley. After Jen’s police officer husband participated in shooting a black teenager, they were forced to deal with racial issues.

The two started with their own friendship-pride is black, square is white-as a starting point.

“For us, as a black woman and a white woman writing together, and as friends who became friends in old age, we never talked about race until we actually started writing this book because we didn’t have to,” Piazza Say. “And, sometimes, this is the last thing you talk about. Before we really have a decent conversation about race, I know all of Christine’s terrible ex-boyfriends.”

Quick friend

The two first met when Pride was the editor of Piazza’s novel “Charlotte Walsh Likes to Win”.

Over time, when talking about their different backgrounds and the way they grew up, they were inspired to write a novel with alternate voices between black women and white women.

What they didn’t expect was that their own conversations would feel so challenging, testing the limits of their working relationships and friendships throughout the process.

“In general, blacks are very cautious about having this kind of conversation because we often talk about each other’s race because it is a core part of life,” Pride said. “But when you meet a new white man, like I know Joe as a new friend, I think, what is the background of this person? What is their family like? You know, what? They are at the table What did they hear on the Internet? What did they hear about black people growing up? Who are their other friends? What is their social circle?

Pride added that then, people will worry about raising racial issues.

“Will they be restrained? Will they become defensive? Will they be dismissive?” she said. “So, I think the reason a lot of such conversations didn’t happen was because of the boredom of it-at least from the point of view of black people.”

Fiction in action

When Pride and Piazza developed characters and wrote “We are not like them”, they found that their stories had many similarities to their own experiences. They said that in general, the writing process made them better friends.

Piazza said: “We want to talk about race in a way that doesn’t make you hot or preaching to you.” “This is a story about female friendship and how two women help each other grow and live in this world. . But we also incorporate race into it, and we think it makes people feel comfortable.”

Without the help of this book, pride is not even sure whether race will appear organically in their friendship. Plaza agreed.

“I am full of too much arrogance. I think, I have written about politics, finance…I will figure out how to write about race,” Piazza said. “It’s not just a learning curve, whether it’s writing or talking about it. I think it shows how worrying it has become in our entire national dialogue.”

The two said that they ultimately want to practice what they preach: in difficult times—when it is difficult or uncomfortable to have a conversation about race—listen and persevere.

“We must continue to advance and deliver this book so that others can do the same,” Pride said. “This final product and writing the story on the page can help other readers and people do what we are doing. To a certain extent, our characters have really become our agents on the page. It is difficult for them to figure out how to speak. Regarding race. There are a lot of misunderstandings, worries, fears and even blind spots. I mean, these are not exactly the same, because Joe and I are different from our roles in real life, but the overall dynamics are [similar.]”

Piazza stated that it is currently operating. Readers have been sending messages to her and Pride, sending emails and opening up to them, telling them that they have reached out to people they don’t know how to talk to or they fall out due to race issues.

Piazza said: “This is indeed a book of intense conversations about American racial issues.” “Christine and I want to come together as former colleagues and friends to create a very commercial and very accessible book. Way to inspire people to have their own dialogue about race.”

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