In this NPR Best Book of the Year, a mixed-race punk rock musician must face the real dangers of being Black in America in this “wise meditation on race, authenticity, and belonging” (Nylon).
Chris L. Terry’s Black Card is an uncompromising examination of American identity. In an effort to be “Black enough,” a mixed-race punk rock musician indulges his own stereotypical views of African American life by doing what his white bandmates call “Black stuff.” After remaining silent during a racist incident, the unnamed narrator has his Black Card revoked by Lucius, his guide through Richmond, Virginia, where Confederate flags and memorials are a part of everyday life.
Determined to win back his Black Card, the narrator sings rap songs at an all-white country music karaoke night, absorbs black pop culture, and attempts to date his Black coworker Mona, who is attacked one night. The narrator becomes the prime suspect, earning the attention of John Donahue, a local police officer with a grudge dating back to high school. Forced to face his past, his relationships with his black father and white mother, and the real consequences and dangers of being Black in America, the narrator must choose who he is before the world decides for him.