Friday, January 25, 2008

A Story About The Racial Divide

I heard the following story on the Sunday before the MLK Holiday. The irony was hard to miss.

The story, told by performer Elna Baker, was from the program This American Life, and was the last act (Act 3) of a series with the general theme of "Matchmaking".

One part of me wants to see a more colorblind society, but another part of me (my realism) knows that it's probably not possible. Just look at the situation with Barack Obama for instance, and the issue of the "Bradley Effect" and being successfully characterized by the Clintons as the "Black Candidate", as opposed to the Candidate who happens to be Black. It shows that even when someone is focused on keeping race out of the discussion as an issue or a problem (as Obama had "hoped" to do), it still ends up being an issue.

Listen to the whole 16 minute segment

Summary from the website:

Act Three. Babies Buying Babies.

Elna Baker reads her story about the time she worked at the giant toy store, FAO Schwartz. Her job was to sell these lifelike “newborns” which were displayed in a “nursery” inside the store. When the toys become the hot new present, they begin to fly off the shelves. When the white babies sell out, white parents are faced with a choice: will they go for an Asian, Latino, or African-American baby instead? What happens is so disturbing that Elna has a hard time even telling it. (16 minutes)

Listen To Program (To get to Act 3, allow the audio stream to load and fast forward to the 41 minute mark)

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