Black Deutschland: A Novel by Darryl Pinckney:
Her German was as intimidating as everything else about her. I’d once heard a boy from Poland converse in English with a boy with Yugoslavia. It was weird to hear English used as a device, with no cultural inflections. Cello would have said that she was making me practice my German, but she was also canceling out our equality. I didn’t know where she got her accent in German, but I was sure it must have been an upper-class one.
Maybe because she never felt that she could depend on her parents, Cello was not the kind of person to waste an opportunity. She always knew where she was. Her will, her application, never failed to impress adults, and her renown as an achiever made her peers a tad uncomfortable in her presence. I mean us, me. There she was always far ahead, ahead even of my brother. The Negro Achiever was a species of secular saint. To be young, gifted and black, Nina Simone sings.