Is that alright? I’m trying to avoid the hyphens, though I know “brown” has been previously claimed, “mocha” is a little exotic sounding…so scratch. “Masala day,” a little exotic, too, but it sounds a bit like “holiday” so I’m going with that. It’s a little more inclusive anyway.
So the NYTimes did an article last week on mixed race and it guided me to all these other places where the dialogue is happening. And you can’t seem to get away from talk of ‘race’ and all the miscommunication, stereotyping, hopes and fears tied to it all. So thanks to Jeremiah Wright and YouTube for letting things fly. It’s like the whole nation is having a collective mulatto moment, asking, “You really believe that?!” I loved that Nicholas Kristof piece. I am a little tired of the consistent agreement that Wright is a disturbing kook while folks like Pat Buchanan, get a pass.
Anyhow, I started writing this last week and Kristof did another great piece today in the Times re: bias, whites and blacks were more likely to draw a gun on a black “suspect” in simulated tests, while gender was more of a constant distinction in other tests, where race fell off. I’ve been trying to keep up and, frankly, I’m a little exhausted by it all. There’s so much being written and televised that I’m pulling in more than I have time to digest, let alone add my comment. But I can say that the video accompanying the NYTimes Multiracial piece felt a lot more in depth than what the reporter was able to put out. And I liked the video that Michelle Obama sent out on Friday of New York kids with their own “Yes We Can” speeches. I found it a little odd that a note commemorating the 40th anniversary of King’s assassination was sent from her and not Barack, but this is politics. And maybe there is a different take on the day from direct descendants of American slaves that makes us want to mark this man’s life in an urgent way. I don’t begrudge a family dividing spokesperson roles when one may have a more passionate connection. Also today, my mother sent me this Eugene Robinson article on two Black Americas published on the 4th in the Washington Post. And here I am, drifting black…. One drop and you’re more likely to identify with the part of you that’s historically oppressed than stay with the multi thing when there are issues to be discussed. (Is that true?)
But as this anniversary of MLK’s death passes, I’ve got to say that I’m more hopeful than I was ten years ago when I wrote the song “Daydream” where the news covered it less passionately, or maybe there was a lull with the first “Black President” in the White House and Shelby Steele (who’s biracial) and Ward Connerly (a quadroon in the old classifications) telling us that race didn’t matter anymore. Ten years later racism is baldfaced in the country so it’s being addressed head on by many. I’m into the dialogue as painful as it is. And with this dialogue I’m hopeful. Last night I met the great Sonny Rollins, and he told me that the world’s always going to be “effed” up, but we can be responsible for ourselves, not forgetting to contribute, but making our purification, clearing our own karma, a priority. I feel like the dialogue out there now is contributing to all of our inner explorations and that may not erase the “effed” up aspects of the world, but it may sure lead to a better karmic place for us collectively. (And yes, Sonny never used the f-word. He just spoke clearly and gently. I’m so inspired by that man!)
So more mulatto moments to come. And I put up a Miscegenation Blues player up for you all to hear some of the music I’ve done in the past dealing with some of the things I talk about here. Again, I call for submissions if people want to share their audio works. Right now it’s just me. (And some of it reminds me of the kid I was!)
Here are a few links to things I was reading that I didn’t have time to reference or digest this week.