“My father’s relatives sometimes said, The blacker the berry, the sweeter the juice. But my father bombed the pious saying to smithereens with his own sarcastic version: The blacker the berry, the sweeter the juice—but if you get too black, it ain’t no use. He turned self-affirmation on its head with this bittersweet reminder of the hopelessness of being black in a society that doesn’t love—or even like—black people.”
Lawrence Hill begins Black Berry, Sweet Juice with personal stories about how his parents met and married, what it was like growing up in an otherwise entirely white Toronto suburb, and how his own children are beginning to see themselves in a country where issues of racial identity are ignored. But Hill also looks beyond the personal, sharing his coast-to-coast interviews with Canadians of black and white parentage, and examines subjects such as romance between blacks and whites, racial terminology and Ku Klux Klan activity in Canada.