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Born a Crime

Cover: 'Born a Crime'

Staff Review: "Born a Crime" by Trevor Noah


Before Trevor Noah was an internationally known comedian and host of The Daily Show he lived a modest life in South Africa with his mother. The two made a remarkable “team,” as he calls them, constantly trying to get ahead at the center of a world attempting to keep them behind.

Trevor Noah’s father is white, Swiss, and German. His mother is black and Xhosa, a South African ethnic group. This fact of Trevor being “mixed” or “colored” was always at the forefront of his childhood. Trevor was born in South Africa when the country was still segregated by Apartheid, meaning his white father, and black mother, according to the law, should have never had relations. Trevor Noah was born a crime. He was kept inside as a child to hide from law enforcement that frequented the all black townships. He had to walk a few steps ahead of his father in the park, and dared not to call him “Dad” in case someone overheard and turned them in. Every time Trevor entered a playground, cafeteria, and even jail cell (just once,) he had to scan the segregated crowd and decide where he best fit. Always an outsider, during his childhood Trevor learned the power of persuasion and debate trying to convince his dedicated mother to skip church, street smarts by hustling pirated CDs, and that the first step to romance is to make sure you can speak her language, literally. “Born a Crime” is an intimate, hilarious, and eye-opening firsthand account of the lifetime individual and cultural consequences of systematic racism.

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction, memoir, humor, celebrities, television

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