In other words, black is whatever we say it is

[…] Consider this: Just 40 years ago, one could make certain
assumptions about the average Negro, or black American. She
was probably no more than one generation removed from the
South; whether a Northerner or Southerner, he had first-hand
knowledge of Jim Crow, or segregation; when it came to
religion, he or she was most likely Protestant.
But scholars like Vernellia Randal, a law professor at the
University of Dayton, point out that those assumptions have
fallen in the face of urbanization, migration and
integration. […]

Afi-Odelia Scruggs' Cleveland Plain Dealer op-ed "Obama's identity crisis"

[…] "I think it could very well be generational—that people like myself,
who are older and more established and have these relationships, will
stay with the people that we know. Whereas younger people, who don’t
have these relationships, will say that this fellow seems to be an
outsider too—and so, therefore, they are attracted to him." […]

Ex-New York State Comptroller Carl McCall, quoted in Jason Horowitz's New York Observer article "Clinton, Obama Vying for Black Power-Brokers"


[…] According to Census Bureau figures, in 2004, African-Americans cast
14 million votes nationwide. Now comes this stunner: Because
African-American men not only are fewer in number but also register and
vote at much lower rates, black women cast almost three of every five
of these votes – 59 percent, to be precise. White women also outnumber,
out-register and outvote white men, but the disparity is smaller (53
percent to 47 percent). […]

[…] Senator Obama's allure may be perceived as more
generationally prospective, whereas the appeal of Senator Clinton – the
former first lady married to the man novelist Toni Morrison once called
the "first black president" – is deemed more historically
retrospective. "He brings a lot to our heritage and culture, especially
to our youth," said Victoria Haynes, a 47-year-old Denver native who
worked on the campaign of newly elected Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter Jr.
"She brings a lot of strength as a woman who came from behind her
husband to lead as a woman." […]

Thomas F. Schaller's Baltimore Sun op-ed "Black women face dilemma in Democratic primary"

Dubbing E.B. the boy

"I'm impressed that he was clearly African
yet he stood at the helm at something as mainstream and
significant as '60 Minutes' for all these years.

DuBois talked about the twoness of African Americans — to be American
and to be black
; well Ed Bradley experienced a threeness, if you will.
He was an American, he was black, and he was a journalist, and everyone
knows that's a whole different experience, too."

Alicia Nails, an
Emmy-winning television producer and director of the Journalism
Institute for Minorities at Wayne State University
, in Mekeisha Madden Toby's "Legendary newsman made '60 Minutes' tick"

QotD: Baby Love

How cute were you as a baby/child? Let's see those baby pics!

A. holds a picture of my brothers and I
My brothers and I

A. and I visited L. at his place about four years ago. In the picture, I'm on the left, E. is in the center and L. is on the right.

Judging by the patterns in my plaid pants, E.'s turtleneck and L.'s overalls (and my own hazy memory), this was probably taken at a Sears or Montgomery Ward's in Montgomery County, Maryland, in 1977 or 1978.

QotD: Reality TV Star

If you could be on any reality TV show, which one would you pick and why?

MTV's "The Real World: Oakland." Dibs on the one-dimensional angry-black-guy character!

Previously, blacks on many reality shows have been pegged as angry,
uncooperative, lazy or downright mean, according to Mark Anthony Neal,
an associate professor of popular black culture at Duke University.
always tension surrounding black characters on reality shows,” said
Neal. “People have had a hand in framing the characters from the people
that do the casting to the people who do the editing.”
worries that steering the tension towards black reality show
participants “helps play into the racial anxiety in the larger society.”

From BlackAmericaWeb's "'Amazing Race' couple keeps it real" Mo' context, mo' context, mo' context? Too Much Free Time's "The Obligatory Racism Episode" and Reality TV World's "The Angry Black Man"

In Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs, Chuck Klosterman details his "Real World Theory." Among other things, he argues that after a few seasons of MTV's groundbreaking reality program, the housemates looked increasingly alike: "Technically, these people were completely different each year, but they were exactly the same. […] Klosterman makes a second point about The Real World, writing, "Everyone I know is one of the seven defined strangers." […] With the show already at the caricature stage, the personification period cannot be very far behind. However, because comparatively so few people watched, and were subsequently influenced, by The Real World, Klosterman's conclusion came off an interesting observation rather than a genuine problem. […]

From Noah Davis' "American Idol" on PopMatters

Paging, pt. 1

I'm spending time out of the heat and in air-conditioned environs whenever possible. I'm thinking I didn't make full use of a Buns and Noodle coupon I got in the mail yesterday. I'm wondering about two groups of people: community leaders who rail against the rise of hip-hop fiction and  authors who question the need for an African American section. I'm admitting I haven't spent much time in the gay & lesbian section because I feel guilty for not spending much time with the anthology I bought at A Different Light a couple of months ago.