Over at Alternet.org, Courtney E. Martin has posted a fantastic piece, “Generation Y Refuses Race-Gender Dichotomy.” Ms. Martin embraces in this piece a lot of things we’ve talked about lately here at AshPolitics, including the viability of the feminist choice for Obama and racism and a piece I did for Zennie’s Zeitgeist on interracial relationships. What I like is that Ms. Martin comes at these things from the perspective of the youth movement. You remember those folks who aren’t supposed to actually show up at the polls? Well, they did, in record numbers, and will do in November. And they’re not only voting, they’re engaging and they’re talking and we are, too.
This one way conversation I’ve been having on race isn’t going anywhere. And I’m just before opening one on gender, as well. I love this quote from Ms. Martin’s piece:
The million-dollar question: How, with a generation bent on individuality and multiplicity, do we confront racism, sexism and all the other insipid -isms that have been brought to light by this unprecedented campaign?
That’s the question, isn’t it? I think it’s clear that this will be a case of the younger generations leading the older ones. The voting demographics in the Democratic primary alone teach that lesson. But how do we open the conversations and extend them to their logical and compassionate ends, not just in the individualistic Gen Y, but across generational divides?
These conversations are hard, but they are always just below the surface. While I was having a beer in a hotel bar recently, it took approximately five minutes before a young black business owner sitting next to me began talking about the underlying racism in America. There was no irony in his voice, no anger, even, while he detailed to this white woman his views on how the expectations for black youth are dealt with so differently than those for whites.
The conversations are always there, ready to happen. We just have to have the guts to have them. And then we have to figure out where to take them in our own communities. Using our votes wisely in November will make an enormous difference to the race conversation in this country. But only local community action can make a difference in the communities, themselves.
I don’t know where this conversation is going here at AshPolitics. I can only promise that it isn’t going away.