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Kinky GazpachoI have a long list of books to read this summer and I’ll try at least to read half of them now that the pressure of school days are over.
I’ve started with the book by Lori Tharps, Kinky Gazpacho: Life, Love & Spain.
Lori Tharps has co-authored another book titled Hair Story: Untangling the Roots of Black Hair in America that I hope I can get my hands on soon.
Kinky Gazpacho are her memoirs growing up as a middle class African American in predominantly white neighborhoods and schools much as the book The black Girl Next Door that I reviewed a while ago. And of course as you can guess from the title, her love of Spain and its culture and her experiences in that country. 
Racism, identity and finding her place in a black and white world that easily stereotypes people according to their skin color is part of her story.
The book is easy to read, funny at times and has the ability to provoke us to think without being solemn.
She surely had to learn to navigate the intricate web of race here in America and in Spain. Since I’m familiar with Spanish culture through heritage and having lived in Spain, the situations depicted in the book resulted very familiar. I’m not a person of color, so there are many things I haven’t experienced in Europe, but there are many others I did as a South American living there.
It’s interesting to read the thoughts of Lori Tharps, her experiences with Spaniards and see how they view race and gender. She felt connected to Spain since childhood and she had her first taste of Spanish culture when she finally is able to travel to the country as a college student. That is when her love/hate relationship starts; she wants to love Spain but never quite fits and feels rejected due to her race. Over time she meets a young handsome Spaniard, she falls in love and after several years of a long distance relationship she marries him. 
Now she needs to find a connection with the country to feel at peace with her and her new family. This is the part of the book that I consider more interesting, since Lori travels to Spain to uncover the hidden black history in the country’s south, the slave trade, the black past. Spain had at some point in time a big African slave population that over time was “whitened” as has also happened in my country Argentina, and it was so well done than today they believe that there were never black slaves in Spain. But Lori discovers the hidden truth and is that what finally connects her and her multicultural, multiracial family to the country.
If you are a Spaniard, this book will probably be a good read for you. How black Americans view Spain? How black people in general experience the Spanish culture that is not always welcoming of persons of dark skin? What’s the hidden black past of Spain?
Kinky Gazpacho will keep you entertained, and give you something to think about at the same time.

Lori Tharps website
My American Melting Pot Lori Tharps blog
Afro Europe blog
Hermandad de Los Negritos (Sevilla)
Jesus de Medinaceli

alicia
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