PBS Online NewsHour, “Assessing the significance of the Lott controversy”

[…] SUAREZ: You might say they have nowhere to go but up. A poll taken Sunday by the Gallup organization says six percent of blacks in the United States say the Republican Party best reflects their views. But a lot of Republicans, Professor Berlin, are trying — say they’re trying to get American politics to a post-race, issue-based footing. Is that possible now?

IRA BERLIN: That’s interesting. Issue-based — what exactly is that going to mean? My feeling is that voters, both white and black, generally read their understanding of politics is fairly shrewd and fairly correct. That is there’s a reason only six percent of black people consider themselves Republican. What exactly are the issues that are involved here? We know in some ways we are a more segregated society than we were in 1956. We know that changes in terms of the distribution of wealth have not changed greatly; that a disproportionate number of people of African descent are at the bottom, that affirmative action is a policy, in its various forms, that is something that black people are very interested in.

There are a whole variety of other issues that also draw black people to the Democratic Party, even with all of the baggage that the Democratic Party itself, you know, itself carries. Now it seems to me, if you want to move black people out of the Democratic Party, you’ve got to address those issues. Is the Republican Party prepared to do that? […]

Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Mae Gentry, “Mall at Stonecrest offers black and white Santas”

Santa at Stonecrest has an identity crisis.

Sometimes he’s white; sometimes he’s black. And mall managers aren’t sure what to call him.

Last year, when the newly opened Mall at Stonecrest celebrated its first Christmas, a white- bearded, rosy-cheeked Santa greeted shoppers and their children.

But metro Atlanta’s newest mall, on the border between DeKalb County and Rockdale County, draws customers from both areas — heavily black south DeKalb and predominantly white Rockdale.

“We had a lot of requests from the community to fulfill both markets that we have here at Stonecrest,” said marketing coordinator Kimberly Handberry.

So mall managers hired a local African-American actor, Charles Black, to work weekends and dubbed him “Cultural Santa,” leaving the daily duty to what they called “Traditional Santa.” When word of the two Santas broke out, irate people contacted Stonecrest’s marketing director, Donald Bieler. […]

Guardian 2002 bumper news quiz

You scored 33 out of a possible 50

More alert than most. Check the answers page to see which areas you need to work on for next year but otherwise give yourself a pat on the back.

Sacramento Bee, Peter Schrag, “California secedes — A midwinter night’s dream”

It began as no more than a gesture of protest, when a group of California Democrats, led by U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, put on the November 2004 ballot the California Dignity Initiative, a measure calling on the state’s congressional delegation to renegotiate California’s relationship to the Union. […]

Washington Post, Daryl Fears, “People of Color Who Never Felt They Were Black”

[…] Although most do not identify themselves as black, they are seen that way as soon as they set foot in North America.

Their reluctance to embrace this definition has left them feeling particularly isolated — shunned by African Americans who believe they are denying their blackness; by white Americans who profile them in stores or on highways; and by lighter-skinned Latinos whose images dominate Spanish-language television all over the world, even though a majority of Latin people have some African or Indian ancestry. […]

Me, too. From my mother’s sleep I fell into the State, and so on.

For later perusal: The Atlantic, Maggie Scarf, “Intimate Partners” (after vague curiosity with Barbara Dafoe Whitehead’s latest work on single women) and Esquire, Jonathan Nolan, “Memento Mori” (after curling up with A. to watch rented copies of “Afterlife” and “Memento,” which sandwiched a sojourn to the Piedmont for Almod�var’s “Talk To Her”).

John and Kate Snyder (née Maletz), witnesses and photographers when A. and I wed in September 1999, have had a busy year. Good on ’em!