|Toure - Author and Cultural Critic|
In a recent NPR interview, Toure discussed post-blackness. As I listened, I was struck by Toure's description of the post-black struggle and how he could just as easily have been describing the post-gay, post-women's, post-Jewish, or post-any-stereotyped-group movement.
Post-blackness, Toure said, is the recognition by members of the black community that "blackness is not necessarily the entirety of who they are." He described our current post-black era as a time when "identity-freedom is infinity and you can be black however you choose."
Assigning the term post-black to these ideas makes them sound academic and culturally significant to African Americans, and they are, but at its heart, the concept is also personal and universal. Certainly every category or group into which you can pigeon-hole people has its specific challenges and crosses to bear, but those different groups of people are made up of individuals, like you and me, who I believe share a common dynamic about our relationship to our respective groups. Celebrate how I am like you, and respect how I am not.
Toure is right - black culture is moving beyond the "soul patrol," but African Americans aren't the first and they won't be the last to rebel against a confining definition of their identity. Ultimately, we all need the comfort and reassurance that comes from belonging to a group, but we also want to be valued as individuals, each unique and worthwhile in our own right.
"Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes."
So true Walt. So does Toure and so do I.