|Al Jolson in The Jazz Singer|
We here at The Urban Politico get solicited a lot. Most of it's spam. Sometimes it's an opportunity to expand our blogging horizons. Sometimes it's just a good post. What we are going to discuss today falls of course into the latter category.
Last week we were contacted about a piece written in New York Magazine by Frank Rich. The piece was a review of the play Clybourne Park through the lens of current racial and political events happening in the country. As I flipped through the digital pages on my iPad I wasn't quite sure what the person who contacted us wanted us to discuss. Quite honestly we could have re-posted the entire article and let you all have at it. But alas we're smarter than that. But so, too, was this article. Rich tackled in five digital pages what we cover every day. We were eye to eye and I, The Storyteller, for once was at a loss for words. That is until I came to the last page of the piece.
"By the second act of Clybourne Park, everything is on the table, including slavery, the American stain that neither time nor civil-rights advances can ever erase. “We get it, okay?” says the exasperated white homebuyer when that past rears up. “And we apologize. But what good does it do, if we perpetually fall into the same, predictable little euphemistic tap dance around the topic?” To which a black man of the neighborhood association sneers, “You know how to tap dance?”
And so the tap dancing continues—verbally, that is—as both the white and black characters work hard not just to offend each other but to take offense even when none is intended. Both Norris’s andHansberry’s white men put great store in resolving conflicts by talking things out—to “say what it is we’re really saying …,” as one Clybourne line has it. "A light bulb went off at this last line. "Say what it is we're really saying...," When have we as Americans ever done that; especially where race is concerned? The answer would be never. So I wonder is that brutally honest, no holds barred conversation on race even possible.