Monday, August 03, 2009

I've written extensively about Henry Louis Gates on Facebook...

...but I'd like to add a few things here:

  • About three years ago, Vanity Fair referred to the esteeemed Margaret Atwood as a "female novelist" and it took every ounce of self-control I had not to upend the magazine stands at the downtown Barnes and Noble, where I happened to encounter the absurd and offending phrase. She's a novelist. Period. In their lengthy and distinguished careers, I'll guarantee you no one described Kurt Vonnegut or Norman Mailer as "male novelists". Along these same lines, I find it infuriating each time Gates is referred to as some variation of a "preeminent African-American intellectual." Gates is one of America's finest and most prominent public intellectuals and, like Atwood, requires no qualifier.

  • In a nutshell, if Henry Louis Gates had been Bill Gates, the arrest never would have taken place.

  • I thought Obama's beer summit was a fine idea and history would be soaked in far less blood if leaders at least attempted something analogous to this first.

  • It's worth mentioning that I can't know for a second what it's like to be a person of color, but I can empathize and extrapolate. However, in no way am I trying to appropriate anyone's cultural identities or maelstroms.

  • This last point is wholly unrelated to Gates or any of the above topics, but more so than anything today, I miss my grandparents so deeply I can feel it in my bones. While it changes and, in some cases, lessens over time, all adults come to know that loss will always remain loss.

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