Everything but the Burden

Greg Tate, editor

This collection, subtitled “What White People Are Taking from Black Culture,” transcends the simplistic “Elvis stole black music” statement to examine the relationship of African-American culture to a mainstream culture dominated by white-owned media and white consumers. Though academic, the essays are readable and insightful. Some, such as “Eminem: The New White Negro” by Carl Hancock Rux, engage Norman Mailer’s “The White Negro.” “Steely Dan: Understood as the Redemption of the White Negro” falls into this category and is an intriguing and enlightening look at the blues-pop group. Also interesting is “The Beautiful Ones,” Michaela Angela Davis’ examination of whites co-opting black concepts of beauty that traces Madonna’s style through Marilyn Monroe and Marlene Dietrich to Josephine Baker.