Washington Post article mentions book!

June 23rd, 2007

Nearly a year ago Washington Post Staff Writer Teresa Wiltz interviewed me for an article she was doing on known mixed-race actors who are cast in racially ambiguous roles. (The newspaper never ran that article for some reason.) It seemed that Teresa may have been implying that doing so is a new age version of “passing for white.” She harkened back to those days sixty to seventy years ago when mixed actors had to either pass or “darken up” and play a black role.

At any rate, Teresa contacted me just two days ago to solicit my comments on a somewhat similar article focusing on what has come to be known as color-blind casting. Specifically, she wanted to know what I thought about Angelina Jolie being cast to play Mariane Pearl, widow of Daniel Pearl — the journalist beheaded by Islamic fascists in Karachi, Pakistan.

Teresa’s article is entitled “A Part Colored By History — Choice of White Actress For Mixed-Race Role Stirs Debate on Insensitivity.”

I’m particularly pleased as punch that she saw fit to mention my new book — “The Bhagavad-gita in Black and White: From Mulatto Pride to Krishna Consciousness” — in the Washington Post article.

The book is now available!

June 11th, 2007

Hare Krishna! I am pleased to announce that my new book “The Bhagavad-gita in Black and White: From Mulatto Pride to Krishna Consciousness” (Backintyme Publishing) is now available for purchase on Amazon.com!

The primary lesson of the Bhagavad-gita (the essence of India’s Vedic wisdom, and one of the great spiritual and philosophical classics of the world) is that we are not our bodies; rather we are the eternal sparks of consciousness, the spirit-souls, animating our fleshy forms. The practical application, particularly as it relates to the race notion is simple. You are not your body; therefore, you are not a representative of a racial or ethnic group. Studying the ancient Vedic spiritual philosophy residing in the Gita allows you to transcend race-consciousness and to realize your true nature as an eternal servant of God or Krishna.

As we look around us, though, not everyone appears ready to receive this transcendental message. Are you? Are you sufficiently awake and aware of yourself as something other than a pawn in the game of racial and multiracial identity politics?

Nineteenth century transcendentalist philosopher Henry David Thoreau once remarked:

The millions are awake enough for physical labor; but only one in a million is awake enough for effective intellectual exertion, only one in a hundred million to a poetic or divine life. To be awake is to be alive. I have never yet met a man who was quite awake. How could I have looked him in the face?

The perennial philosophy of the Gita has intrigued the philosophical mind of man, both Eastern and Western, for millennia. Accordingly, Thoreau also wrote that in relation to the Bhagavad-gita, “our modern world and its literature seem puny and trivial.”

Are you ready for a book that deliberately mixes tough political commentary with spiritual meditations, a book that articulates what has transpired over the past decade and more in this country vis-à-vis the politics of racial identity? Specifically, I’m referring to the battles to freely and publicly name self (whether on the upcoming 2010 Census or otherwise) and for freedom of association — e.g., the fight over the legalization of interracial marriage. Once the insanity of it all becomes crystal clear, perhaps you too, regardless of how you currently self-identify racially (hapa, mestizo, metis, creole, latino, melungeon, cablinasian, mulatto, white, black or whatever), will opt to spend the rest of your life cultivating spiritual enlightenment — the ability not merely to name self but to know self.

If you feel you are able to “have” this message, please order the book now. All links to Amazon.com are active, so please have your credit card handy. :-) If you feel you are more comfortable, however, continuing to identify with the body, that you are not yet prepared to “have” the mystic revelations offered in “The Bhagavad-gita in Black and White: From Mulatto Pride to Krishna Consciousness,” that’s okay as well. God speed on your life’s journey!

Charles M. Byrd

(Charukrishna)