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Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 456

Heads of the Colored People by Nafissa Thompson-Spires is a collection of short stories about Black middle-class identity. Each story tackles the different impacts race has on identity, the self, and relationships. Through the stories of individuals, Thompson-Spires explores how race and class function systemically in America. Below are brief summaries of each story:

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“Four Fancy Sketches, Two Chalk Outlines, and No Apology” tells the story of a police shooting. The story brilliantly starts with the development of a disagreement between two opposing young black men. The story climaxes when the men argue at a comic book convention. Police see the black men fighting and shoot them both.

“The Necessary Changes Have Been Made” is the narrative of Randolph, an English professor who is rather full of himself. He is written as generally unhappy with himself and looks down upon the women around him.

“Belle Lettres” is the story of two highly educated women who use their daughters as an excuse to wage battle against one another. Despite their education, the two become catty with one another.

“The Body’s Defense Against Itself” is about self-care and the importance of mental health.

“Fatima, The Biloquist: A Transformation Story” is the story of Fatima, a young biracial teenager who feels out of place in her all-white prep school. She is struggling to find her sense of self through dating and friendships.

“The Subject of Consumption”: Unlike the other stories, this story is not directly about race. It is instead a critique of body shaming and the media consumption in America. A mother of a young girl forces the family to participate in a diet she chose based on a reality television show.

“Suicide Watch” is a critique of social media and...

(The entire section contains 456 words.)

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