SL 661

It’s been a strange couple of weeks. One minute overwhelmed and beaten by an article topic that took a strange left turn. The next minute, I’m doing the mindless work of summer kid carpool duties. When my teenager is temporarily captive in the car, I’ve been amusing myself by starting fun conversations.

“Jonah, did I ever tell you about how your head got stuck inside me, when I was giving birth?”

“Mom, I’m not enjoying this conversation.”

So, now I’m catching up on internet gossip.

Major wars on twitter and elsewhere about TNC’s new book, Between the World and Me. He and David Brooks got into it. The Atlantic is hosting a book club to discuss it. I haven’t read the book, because I’m curious if you could do a search of the word “black” and replace it with “women”, and it would still work. That was flippant. Yes, I will probably read the book for lots of other good reasons.

I think I’m going to order myself a pair of Warby Parkers.

And you can buy one of George Clooney’s vacation homes.

7 thoughts on “SL 661

  1. Temporarily car-captive teens are a thing to be treasured and used carefully. For good, not for evil!


  2. Hmf, the price for my driving is to use those drives for my amusement. I’ve been known to threaten to turn the car around if I am not sufficiently amused. But, there are times that I know I am terrible.

    Not sure what the point of the flippant comment is, but I think the key is to understand the different challenges of discrimination, and not being the “right” type. I haven’t read the book, but read enough of brook’s column to realize that he should have stopped and thought some more, first. Folks have to recognize that one can do wrong without being evil,


  3. I’ve read bits of the book here and there in the reviews. It does look interesting. He writes very well. Some of the criticism of the book is that it doesn’t deal with the black female point of view. I wonder if his experiences are applicable to the entire black American population. And I wonder if his story works, given the increase of inter-racial families. My own extended family includes an African American, Indians, Puerto Ricans, and now a Brazilian. My godson, my cousin’s son, is a quarter Italian, a quarter Indian, and half Puerto Rican. At last Sunday’s dinner, I learned some new words in Portugese.

    Brooks is Brooks, so I”m not going to defend him. But there was a big twitter war over the weekend. A white writer said he loved that book, but didn’t feel that TNC was Baldwin-level great. People piled on the dude and called him a racist. Eventually, TNC also joined in and said that this guy was a jerk. I feel very uncomfortable when people shut down a seemingly moderate conversation so forcefully.


  4. I do think interracial families changes the political dynamics because I do think a big part of the barrier to progress is the in/out group division between the races. When “other” people are in your own families, it does change the dynamics of thinking about groups of people.

    In the case of women, people with disabilities, and gay & lesbian people (to name three categories of people who have faced systemic discrimination), people with power (and all the benefits associated with power, including social, skills, and economic capital) can have discriminated classes as members of their families without making the conscious choice to associate/interact with the powerless group (i.e. families obviously have female children/siblings/cousins, and can have children/etc. with disabilities or gay children/etc. without having chosen to do so). Interracial families requires a choice to interact with the other group (though, as you say, extended families changes the dynamic, too).

    The numbers on interracial families are still quite small, though they are definitely increasing rapidly.


    1. “When “other” people are in your own families, it does change the dynamics of thinking about groups of people.”

      Yes and no.

      There are whole new levels of xenophobia available to people with “foreign” spouses and in-laws.

      (I’ve been on a trip before with a relative by marriage where days in, it suddenly occurred to me–relative by marriage hasn’t bathed or washed clothes this entire trip. Eeeeeeeek! Stereotypes exist for a reason.)


      1. For examples of how the in-law relationship plays out at close quarters, see the marvelous “Two Days in New York,” where Chris Rock suffers through a visit from European in-laws.


  5. Ah, but it’s the children who are really “part of your family”, not the in laws. One is not biologically related to in-laws, only to the children of the in-laws.

    Familiarity with people who you continue to think of as “others” can breed contempt as well as care. The key is what makes you stop thinking of them as others (kinship, friendship, respect, . . . .).


Comments are closed.