Well, this isn't the book I thought I was getting. I thought I was going to read a semi-autobiographical story of a young, African-American man's growing up in Kansas. My mother grew up in Kansas about the same time, so I was interested in one of those compare and contrast kinds of thingies.
But, I goofed up. This particular book is a collection of short stories that deals with the interactions of black and white people back in the days of Jim Crow and long before any significant civil rights movement. I generally try to avoid short stories, but this collection was well worth reading. Basically, it describes the strange ways in which "white folks" interact with non-white folks, non-white by dint of having some African-American ancestry.
The ways of white folks in the 30s weren't all that different from their ways in the 1950s and 60s, when I was growing up. Actually, they're still not all that different in the 21st century in some ways, although some of the more overt oppression has been muted. But we still have plenty of white folks who actively try to suppress non-white folks (race-targeted voter suppression, maintenance of segregated communities with concomitant lack of access to decent education and health care, etc.). Then, we still have the "better class" of white folks who patronize the non-white folks, and/or find their alleged primitivism amusing, but don't give them credit for being able to have "proper" opinions and preferences. A sad commentary on us all.
“the ways of white folks, I mean some white folks, is too much for me. I reckon they must be a few good ones, but most of ’em ain’t good—leastwise they don’t treat me good. And Lawd knows, I ain’t never done nothin’ to ’em, nothin’ a-tall.”