Thank God for ding over at bitchphd, who has pointed me to the following two articles, which are thought-provoking individually, but even more so when read in concert.
Listen, bitches: I know that some of y'all made resolutions about being more engaged in 2009, so why not take a minute and engage the next 20 minutes of your time in the following?
"American Girl," by Ta-Nehisi Coates
There has been much chatter about Barack Obama as the answer to America’s racial gap, as a biracial black man whose roots stretch from Hawaii to Kenya, with an Ivy League pedigree and the seal of the South Side. But he is not the only one entering the White House who has seen both sides, who intuitively grasps the heroic American narrative of work ethic and family, and how that narrative historically failed black people. He is not the only one who walks in both worlds. Indeed, if you’re looking for a bridge, if you’re looking for someone to connect the heart of black America with the heart of all of America, to allow us all to look at the American dream in the same way, if you’re looking for common ground, then it’s true, we should be talking about Obama. But we should make sure we’re talking about the right one.
"Queering Black Politics: Reconsidering the Black Single Mother Argument," by the black scientist
I’d like to dialogue about what I perceive to be the problem of discussing black politics and “black issues” as though black people are one homogenous group with identical desires, family structures, and ideals. Black politics are not white politics in blackface. The old habit of acting as though black life is a poorer colored version of middle class white life has never been appropriate and it certainly is not now. The thing is, the American family is becoming increasingly queer. And this applies not only to the black family — although that’s primarily what I’ll be referring to in this post — but to families across racial groups. We are still having conversations about issues as though the Eurocentric “ideal” of the nuclear family is the norm and the model, and it is not. We have to accept that different family structures exist, are prevalent, and do work, and confront the fact that the discourse and policy propagated by the nation-state make it extremely difficult for queer families to survive.