Thursday, November 06, 2008

Letters from the Darker Populace (#1: Diversify)

Dear Mr. President –

Technically, you’re president elect at this point, but because I’d like to pretend the last eight years didn’t happen, I’m going to call you Mr. President. In past entries, I’ve referred to you as The Rock, but now that you’re actually making your way into the office, I’ll refer to you as Mr. President or President Obama. Who am I kidding? I’ll probably still call you The Rock, but only behind your back!

You’ve got a lot on your mind right now, but I wanted to bring you further greetings from my world, as a member of the Darker Populace (DP). I work at a place where the staffing of Blacks makes up less than 1 percent and Asians is even lower than that. Latinos? Middle Easterners? Non existent. Those of us in the DP stick out like tiny dots on a big white page.

The situation has made for several interesting situations. Just the other day, I was at the Xerox machine, making copies of some materials I needed on Richard Wright. A coworker – of the Paler Populace (PP) – saw my documents (complete with a photo of Wright on the cover) and said, “who’s Richard Wright?” I looked at her like she was Boo Boo the Fool and clutched my heart, so I wouldn’t keel over. I quickly rattled off Wright’s accomplishments, ‘Black Boy’, ‘Native Son’ and his influence on the Harlem Renaissance.

She seemed impressed, then mentioned that although she wasn’t familiar with Wright, she did know Ralph Ellison. Interesting. So I asked her about Ellison’s most famous work, ‘Invisible Man’ and she was unfamiliar with it. She’d only read part of ‘Juneteenth’ (a book that was condensed and completed after his death), but thought he was a great writer.

I returned to my desk, still giddy from the announcement of your presidency just the night before. It made me think about all the times the Paler Populace wants to discuss Shakespeare, Joyce and Austen, but then are limited on their knowledge of writers from the Darker Populace. Now that we have you – a man of African descent, with connections to many other nationalities – in the White House, shouldn’t things change?

All I’m asking for is for folks in the PP to diversify a bit. It’s 2008, time to stop pretending that there’s only one crayon in the Crayola box. Do you think you could spread that message around a bit, Mr. Prez?

Peace and love,


1 comment:

Tha L said...

Girl, you are too much. As much faith as I have in Mr. Prez, I don't even think GOD could get the PP to diversify, at least not their intellect. I do believe that more PP will now see it as the "thing to do" to find themselves a "clean, articulate, bright African-American" to befriend...but as far as actually learning about people of other races & cultures...i think you may be asking for a freakin' miracle sis. LOL!