I’ve Been Meaning To Tell You — David Chariandy

“Being named, he found his own voice. Being sighted, he learned, nevertheless, to see.”

Prompted by familial brushes with racial bigotry and tumultuous political circumstances, David Chariandy ponders how to discuss race and racial discrimination with his growing daughter in a heart-breaking, yet lovely and loving letter.

I’ve Been Meaning To Tell You is a simple, yet intimate expression of love from a father to a daughter. It is also a celebration of resiliency, bravery, and hope in the face of hatred or ignorance. Chariandy weaves together stories from his past and present, sharing his lived experiences as a son of Black and South Asian migrants. By memorializing these stories, Chariandy offers not so much in the way of guidance or advice as much as he cultivates a truthful narrative he hopes his also mixed-race daughter can relate to and understand.

Despite admitting he “grew up the embodiment of what some feared and refused to understand,” Chariandy’s letter is neither resentful nor angry. He does not condemn the nameless people who hurt him because of his race. Rather, he expresses hope for the future and his fearless daughter whom he loves so dearly. Both deeply personal and universal in nature, Chariandy’s beautiful letter is one for us all.

“The future I yearn for is not one in which we will all be clothed in sameness, but one in which we will finally learn to both read and respectfully discuss our differences”

For more book recommendations, check out our January 2021 Book of the Month.