“Drifting Toward Love: Black, Brown, Gay, and Coming of Age on the Streets of New York”–exploring reality

Wright, Kai. “Drifting Toward Love: Black, Brown, Gay, and Coming of Age on the Streets of New York”. Beacon Press, 2008.

Exploring Reality

Amos Lassen

Being homeless is a problem and among the homeless are gay kids of which 25% have dropped out of school because of harassment The rate of HIV among these kids is high and getting higher. Kai Wright writes about this in “Drifting Toward Love” and he reports that these problems are intensified among young men of color. In their search for the basic emotional necessities of life, they have to deal with the pitfalls of the street. Wright looks at three young men—Manny, Julius and Carlos—all of them men of color living in Brooklyn. By using these three, Wright is able to bring forth the issues of how sexual politics affect the lives of many. The topics of prostitutiom, drugs and violence as well as homelessness are all looked at and examined in great and intimate detail which are accompamied by memories of love and the realization of sexual difference.

We get a voice dealing with the struggles of gay youth of color and even though the book is about New York, what Wright writes about could be true anywhere. The stories he relates are real and they show a ray of hope for the future. The stories of Manny, Julius and Carlos not only tell of their dilemmas but of their confusion and they bring the issues to the written page. It is one thing to hear stories like these, it is another to see them in writing.

These teens are brave, creative and resilliant. What they have to go through may rile us to anger but they likewise inspire us. Wright is a journalist who writes like a novelist. What he writes about is truth and he makes us think about the way “at-risk” kids are regarded by the society at large. Wright has the talent of being able to bring together true stories with emotion and thereby give us a picture that makes us examine ourselves.

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