Sunday, October 21, 2007

Sunday morning surf

I'm not much of a romantic and I don't cry at weddings. But this story in the NYTimes today nearly made me cry.

Nooses - to ignore or not?
Two pieces this week question whether or not we should pay any attention to things like nooses that are used to spark a rise in us.

In today's Washington Post Robin Givhan, in writing about Kara Walker's retrospective at the Whitney, writes about how much power we give these symbols. And how we should no longer give that power to the symbol and to the people who use it against us.

And earlier this week I listened to John McWhorter's commentary on NPR and he said very similar things about not giving over power to the symbol.

I generally argue against that kind of thinking which essentially urges us to let racist symbols be. I don't want to ignore those symbols - and certainly if I ever see a noose anywhere near me or my family, I certainly will raise a stink. But is that the right thing? It, as McWhorter and Givhan argue, doesn't work and doesn't matter. We hold vigils and "raise saying" and still the symbols are waved in our faces. So what does it matter? Does a noose, raised by an ignorant white person (or any other race), erase or diminish any of our opportunities? Or accomplishments?

It's a part of the discussion we haven't had yet, I think, among all the Jena 6 protests.

And it's interesting that we can come up with this much support and energy around this one case, when so much else that we can impact is going on.

Friday, October 19, 2007

It's really not all-Terry all the time, is it?

Well, I've been watching the Terry McMillan / Jonathan Plummer spectacle - like so many. I'm amazed at how much press this is getting and how this twisted personal drama is now the thing making us talk about ghetto/urban literature. I suppose as long as we have the discussion it matters, but it seems so weird to hear stories about it that start with the divorce drama. I feel like I'm gossiping every time I read something about this.

I have to admit to being in the dark about who Karen Hunter is, though. But now I certainly know who she is and I'm surprised at the number of books she's had and has coming out. The Black men love white women book is one that I'll be curious to see if it has any legs once she stops getting the attention drawn to her by Terry. What a bizarre book to even write in 2007. And the Ray J book - there are just so many "ew" factors with that that I am amazed she can talk about that book in meetings. 1,000 women and he's in his mid-twenties? Who would even believe that? And even if it were true, I think it's crazy and I wouldn't even what that in my head.

Oh well. Here are some of the links in case you don't have enough Terry, Jonathan and ghetto lit in your life:

NPR: Publishing Company Called Out Over Ghetto Lit
The Advocate: Bookstore Refuses to Carry Plummers Tell-All Novel

A few things to read and hear:

About Edwidge Danticat and her new book, Brother I Am Dying -

Review in the Washington Post by Bliss Broyard
Interview on Fresh Air

Amy Alexander reviews Margaret Cezair-Thompson's The Pirate's Daughter - WashPost

And I didn't know that Target sponsored Children's Book Festivals. If you're a children's author, this sounds like a good thing.