Who We Be: Jeff Chang + Kiese Laymon, April 18

New York! On Thursday, April 18, Jeff Chang (of Can't Stop Won't Stop fame) will be speaking with writer Kiese Laymon at NYU. The talk is entitled "Who We Be: on the Resurrection of Multiculturalism, the New Demographics, and the Post-Racial." It's all related to Chang's forthcoming book, Who We Be: The Colorization of America, in which the author analyzes the development of a multicultural society -- and questions why we still cannot hold frank conversations about race.

Who We Be: Jeff Chang + Kiese Laymon
with DJ Rekha
on the Resurrection of Multiculturalism, the New Demographics, and the Post-Racial

Thursday, April 18, 2013

NYU Global Center Grand Hall
238 Thompson Street, 5th Floor

One of the most surreal images of post-Obama America has to be Jay-Z, a former drug dealer turned record executive from Bed-Stuy’s Marcy Projects, and BeyoncĂ©, Who runs the world?, sauntering across the U.S. Capitol balcony to witness the second swearing-in ceremony of the current president. Among a sea of white-haired men, they took their seats. But also in attendance that cold January morning was Myrlie Evers-Williams (Medger Evers’s widow who offered the Invocation), Richard Blanco (the first Latino, the first self-identified LGBTQ person, and the first immigrant to read an Inaugural poem), and Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor (who administered the Oath of Office). Had we finally arrived? And what did this all mean for understanding of race and power in the US, which we’ve all been told, will soon be a majority-minority nation?

In Who We Be: The Colorization of America (Fall 2013), Jeff Chang (Can’t Stop Won’t Stop, Stanford) carefully analyzes the gaps between what we see and what we think. He asks us to consider, how did multiculturalists, in fact, win the culture wars? And despite the change in our visual culture and the proliferation of representations of people of color (a process Chang so aptly describes as “colorization”), why do we still not have frank conversations about race?

Chang will be joined in conversation by Kiese Laymon (Long Division [forthcoming June 2013] and How To Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America [forthcoming August 2013]) about the post-civil rights movement, the paradox of the post-racial, and the implications of the rapidly changing national demographics on culture and politics. With an introduction by DJ Rekha.
The talk is free, but you should RSVP by April 16.

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