The last time I wrote, Michael Jackson, Walter Cronkite and Vibe Magazine had died within weeks of each other. It's gonna be a stretch, but I'd like to try and catch up to what's happened in the politics of race, pop culture, identity, and media since then. I know: it's going to take me a while.
I've bookmarked an awful lot of headlines since then. But as a practical matter, with one looming exception, not much has changed at all. I've just scanned my 66 delicious bookmarks tagged "race" and "identity," and recalled a number of recent, census related public radio pieces and talk show segments. I may deviate in places from the true mean, but I think I can draw a few quick and dirty lines through the whole coverage that end up at the following points:
- White people still don't see the identity they've inherited, or the history that willed it to them.
- Black people are clinging more desperately than ever to our own denial of who we are now—and are not— with almost as much historical amnesia and/or ignorance as whites.
- Other so called "minorities," Hispanics, Asians --and now even Arabs and Persians--are clueless at best or (more likely) shamefully disingenuous about what is really in the cards for them when the reality of the 2010 census sinks in.
- The media (of which I remain an emeritus member) clearly no longer checks it's clips anymore, at least on these subjects. As I commented in part on a particularly clueless NPR commentary: In 2010 we are still going in circles that were made straight by scholars decades ago.
I apologize to however many readers for being inconsistent over the years. Perhaps it's the story of my life catching up to me in late middle age, as failing relationships are now joined by failing health.I think the trick may be to write shorter posts that trickle down what I see as true, rather than deluge folks with too much information. And to leave in each post a little thought question bomb like "what did he mean by "with one looming exception" ?
You can see all my delicious bookmarks on race and identity since the summer here.