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Monday, July 21, 2008

A Wall Street Journal piece regarding African-American residential retention in big cities infuriates me for the same reasons it did Ta-Nehisi Coates:
Heh, back in the day white flight was the worst thing that ever happened to black people. Now it's allegedly reversing (I'm really not convinced that there are more white people who want to live in cities, than those who want to live in exurbs, for instance) and it's still a problem for black people. The Wall Street Journal looks at more whites moving into cities and blacks moving out and concludes there must be a crisis afoot.

A black church actually trying to attract white members, a white guy actually running for office in Atlanta, and a big city mayor who has to fight to keep black people. Race war, indeed. Sometimes, there really is no way to win with media. Part of the reason cities like Atlanta are becoming white is because black folks (like myself) who grew up caged in cities want their taste of the stereotypical American dream and thus are leaving. But there never is any black agency--to be African-American is to be an automaton responding to either white racism or cultural pathology. No way you could actually have free will.

Race war, always Race war. And the whites win. Again.

Folks need to wake up. There are people out here who are seeking to profit from stoking the fires that burn deep inside us, in places we don't like to discuss in polite company. They want to see it burn, no matter if that raging flame only serves to spark the kind of false debate that may arise from a Rush Limbaugh slur. That's not debate. That's outrage. And I'm getting weary of having to be outraged every day when I see the trade of journalism practiced by people who only see the world through their own lens, and shape reality in their writing with the narrowest and simplest of pen strokes.

(Props to Sullivan's army.)


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