Wednesday, February 2, 2011

color me confused

I was always under the impression that when the New York Times reported on something in a trend piece, that meat the thing had pretty much already become passe. So imagine my shock that the old Grey Lady seems to be on the vanguard of a new portrait of society that will emerge with the release of the latest census data in the coming year, and has been already apparent -- especially on college campuses -- in the intervening decade since the last head count. Apparently there are some mixed-race people in this country.

Actually, a hell of a lot:
No one knows quite how the growth of the multiracial population will change the country. Optimists say the blending of the races is a step toward transcending race, to a place where America is free of bigotry, prejudice and programs like affirmative action.

Pessimists say that a more powerful multiracial movement will lead to more stratification and come at the expense of the number and influence of other minority groups, particularly African-Americans.

And some sociologists say that grouping all multiracial people together glosses over differences in circumstances between someone who is, say, black and Latino, and someone who is Asian and white.
Because sociologists need to eat, just like the rest of us.

I begin to wonder how my life would have changed had this existed as an option for me in college. Would I have engendered such instant antipathy on the part of the Black Student Union in my refusal to join their tribe? Would I have found a place in the other academic fields of study, like history, sociology, English? Would I...
When the multiracial group was founded in 2002,
Dr. Kelley said, “There was an instant audience.”


Such a club would not have existed a generation ago — when the question at the center of the “What Are You?” game would have been a provocation rather than an icebreaker.
And who would be the source of this provocation, more other than not? "Pure" brown people!
Checking both races was not an easy choice, Dr. Kelley said, “as a black man, with all that means in terms of pride in that heritage as well as reasons to give back and be part of progress forward.
And that in a nutshell (although it takes the Times four pages) is the problem: the existing racial hierarchy has a lot invested in the categories as they exist now.

Look for a prolonged argument over what brown means coming to a society near you, in perpetuity.

[NY Times]

No comments:

Post a Comment