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“A ‘Presidential
Racial Beer Summit’
– why that’s genius,
just think of all the
walking around Eisenhower,
could have saved
Montgomery Blacks,
had he only invited
Rosa Parks and that
Bus Driver to
the White House
for beers.”

The Stranger - Theater
Becoming Blacks
By Brendan Kiley

Though both men might bridle at the comparison, solo performers Chad Goller-Sojourner and Mike Daisey have some striking similarities. Both are rotund guys with Seattle roots whose physical size and mannered style of delivery give them a peculiarly strong stage presence. (As opposed to, say, solo performers David Schmader and Mike Birbiglia, who have a more naturalistic, conversational style.)

More importantly, Daisey and Goller-Sojourner play a similar game of emotional chicken—they strategically reveal deeply intimate and sometimes embarrassing facts about themselves, then use that vulnerability as a launching pad to talk about broader social issues. (I'm going to pass over the controversy about Daisey inventing key details for his show about working conditions in Chinese factories—the incident was career-staining, but not so relevant to this argument.)

Of course, the two men have some major differences: Daisey is straight and white; Goller-Sojourner is gay and black. But while Daisey has always been white, Goller- Sojourner had to, in a sense, become black—and he wasn't always happy about it. His new show, titled Riding in Cars with Black People and Other Newly Dangerous Acts: A Memoir in Vanishing Whiteness, is a dispatch from that period in his life between high school in Tacoma and grad school in Harlem when he became, to his surprise, a young black man.

Drama in the Hood
Riding in Cars with Black People and Other Newly Dangerous Acts by Chad Goller-Sojourner
By Marie Bonfils

Like Taproot’s The Whipping Man, Riding in Cars with Black People and Other Newly Dangerous Acts, is a must see for all white folks. Riding in Cars deals with the contrast between white privilege vs. African American discrimination on a concrete nitty-gritty everyday level, as told through the eyes of an African American young man, who had the fortune and misfortune of having been adopted and raised by a white family in a white suburb of Tacoma.

Setting aside the serious message, it is also one of the funniest solo acts I have ever seen. In a series of “chapters”, Chad Goller-Sojourner recounts various experiences he had after he left the safety of his white world. Beginning with how the police deal with young black males on I-5 between Tacoma and Bellingham to how New Yorkers dealt with him as a gay, hand-bag carrying, full-length mink-coat-wearing-black man, in elevators. It is also a journey from “white” identify to re-identifying himself as a hybrid who embraces both his African American racial heritage alongside his white cultural heritage.

Rage Against The Mini Van
Riding in Cars with Black People: an interview with author Chad Goller-Sojourner
Interview By Kristen Howerton

Earlier this month Chad Goller-Sojourner reached out to me about a new play he has written called "Riding in Cars With Black People and Other Newly Dangerous Acts." It's an autobiographical play that recounts "the story of a black boy, raised by white parents who 'ages out' of honorary white and suburban privilege." As soon as I heard the premise, I knew I wanted to hear more. Chad agreed to do an interview and we had such an interesting conversation. Chad grew up as the adopted child of a white couple in the 1970's.

In our interview, we talk about race, white privilege, and transracial adoption. Chad is thoughtful and hilarious, and has such a great perspective on things. I think it will be really insightful for adoptive parents, or anyone interested in racial identity. (More)

Land of a Gazillion Adoptees
Chad Goller-Sojourner
Interview By Kevin Ostvollmers


Video Log
Riding in Cars VLOG


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