Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 13
- Grade: 8
A longtime resident of Surrey, Truman Green wrote 'A Credit to Your Race' (1973), in which a fifteen-year-old black porter's son falls in love with, and impregnates, the white girl next door. Set in Surrey, circa 1960, 'A Credit to Your Race' is a disturbing and convincing portrayal of how the full weight of Canadian racism could come to bear on a youthful, interracial couple. "If Isolation is a key theme of black B.C. writing," says social historian Wayde Compton, "Green's protagonist Billy Robinson is the most fully-drawn expression." Compton says Green was diplomatic in the way he described racism, but his novel was passed over nonetheless. After rejection from several literary presses in Canada, Truman self-published his novel in a limited edition of three hundred copies.
"If isolation is a key theme of black B.C. writing, Green's protagonist Billy Robinson is the most fully-drawn expression." author and social historian Wayde Compton
About the author
Truman Green graduated from UBC in 1968 with a BA in English literature and American history. Recent publicaton credits include a creative non-fiction story, “Jason Loves Glory,” published in Kiss Machine, and science-related articles in Australia's New Dawn Magazine. Truman lives in Surrey BC.
A Credit to Your RaceThis story of teenage love also tells a larger story of racism and prejudice in Surrey, BC, in 1960 when black people were a small minority. Billy Robinson is seen as a polite and a good student. The vice principal thinks he would make a good teacher and his coach points out there are lots of good black athletes. Billy wants people to see him for himself, not his colour first. He grapples with being called “nigger” and reading about the de-segregation of schools in the US, and the ensuing backlash. In his own neighbourhood, he is occasionally the butt of jokes, but no overt hatred. His white girlfriend’s parents do not want them dating, but when she becomes pregnant, attitudes intensify.
First self-published in 1973, Anvil Press re-released this book last year to coincide with Vancouver’s 125th anniversary.
Caution: Includes references to sex.
Source: The Association of Book Publishers of BC. BC Books for BC Schools. 2012-2013.