So yeah, it's been great reading about post-racial this and that, I don't have to wear Karl Kani anymore etc. etc. But while it's cool that some brothers and sisters are using the premise to get themselves a byline and all, the proliferation of the term within a mostly white media establishment feels a little weird.
I suspect it's because we treat "post-racial" like it's "postmodern". So instead of "modernity/modernism" we're past/post "race". Both of them being these social/intellectual constructs we created.
But here's the problem: "We" didn't create nothing. This is all some white ish.
Look: "race as a social construct" is a brain-nugget that came from a white person. Period. Ain't no old slave-timey Wendy Williams start that little rumor. A black person is black, and if you get him to say he's a construct it's because you also got him to pay some $200K to "learn theyself sumthin'."
When I got one of my first Assimilated Badges by getting pubbed on McSweeneys, I was so excited to get my Eggers Stripes that I threw on my Timz and white t-shirt and found a gypsy cab to take me straight to Harlem (turns out I lived there, but I still took the cab). Then I got out and told all my ghetto hood crack-slingin' black friends about my achievement:
The Assimilated Negro (TAN): Look! McSweeney's ran my 'Objective Perspective on Black History" bit. Dude, isn't that awesome.
Just Another Negro (JAN): Mc-who? And don't be callin' me dude, n.
TAN: McSweeeeneys. Dave Eggers? Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. Duh.
JAN: *slings some crack*
TAN: whatever. you don't know because you're too busy listening to the rap music and stealing iphones, but this means a lot to the people who run this country.
JAN: Con Edison and Child Support run my family, fam.
TAN: hmph. look, i posted this on my blog so i'm gonna go check my email in the Starbucks real quick. I'll brb.
JAN: *slings some crack*
TAN: ok. back. I can't believe you guys aren't giving me any love on the McSweeneys move.
JAN: look TAN, we up on McSweeneys. Alright? But honestly we just don't give a f about some website doing ish like, "Interview With A White Pot Who Calls Kettles 'Whatever The Hell He Feels Like Calling Them'". Or whatever other nonsense they do.
JAN2: Ha. Yeah, McSweeneys be like "early bird gets the worm" and I be like "early bird gets the white worm cause them the only mofos who show up early" hahahaha. Send that to McSweeneys, n.
TAN: McSweeneys don't be like anything... although they might actually go for something like that.
JAN: Yeah we know, but it's not our bag. Congrats though, TAN. Keep doing your thing, god. We'll do ours.
TAN: ok. so can I take off these timz and put back on my flip-flops?
JAN: yeah, son.
TAN: can i also put on some Feist
JAN2: yeah, i actually like Feist also.
JAN3: yo, I would f the ish out of Feist. She could get it.
TAN: true. ok. I'm gonna go now.
annnd ... scene
Look, I like the cauc postmodern humor. I love it even. I think its very funny. Stuff like Demetri Martin. Soooo cuuute. And it's real nice to have in the DVR list when you bring your hipster chick back to the crib and want things to get a little, um, postracial.
But I also know that if I didn't go to a private prep school and a New England liberal arts college I would have no appreciation for it. It's a sensibility I grew into. Black people (and other minos) have to go to school and learn (earn?) a ticket aboard the train of indulgent-thoughts. We have to cultivate that air of entitlement. We are not born with the same sense of Seinfeldian smug.
The humor of the idle mind is an acquired taste, and it's acquired through -- wait for it -- being idle. Going to college and not having real concerns about $ and food and getting in trouble for doing drugs. It's nice, every person deserves some time to themselves to think about, say, what their toenail might say to a real nail. Bound to be hilarious if you marinate with it long enough.
But these postracial/postmodern articles are so self-serious. And here's the thing: if you're at a cocktail party and someone starts getting serious about "postmodernism", you know they're full of ish. White people may indulge, Black people may indulge, but everyone knows they're just showing off their edumacation.
A word like 'postmodern" is the equivalent of liberal-arts bling. Deconstructionism, b*tches! You flash it, but you don't really need to. You never need to. You can either philosophize like a human, very simply: love. sex. hate. men. women. race. intelligence. peace. war. education. science. technology. Whatever you want. But there's no sentence in the world that contains the word "postmodern" that couldn't be rephrased more simply.
Take it from someone who will drop the term at first brush of a blonde-girl's hair against the behind of the horse on my polo shirt.
But i went to school and
Anyramble, this is all to say that a lot of these articles are conflating postracial and postmodernism and it cheapens the impact of identifying this moment in time as some sort of new era. There is something amiss, but postracial as defined by postmodernists is the same quaker oatmeal y'all been spooning to us for sometime now. And I'm not eating it, dammit!
If you want to call it something I say call it "Post Abiding-by-alot-of-white-bullish". Cause that's what postmodernism is, white bullish. And that's what most these articles are talking about when they use the term postracial.
And I also have to point out that of course postracial isn't really about Obama, but all about 2050. That's when we'll get to dictate the smartypants jargon up in this piece.
Postmodernists, prepare yourselves.