Part of the series After 1989: Race After Multiculturalism, organized by Asian American Writers’ Workshop. Panelists: Jay Smooth, Jeff Chang, Elizabeth Mendez Berry & more! Made possible by the New York Council for the Humanities. Two decades ago, Rodney King famously asked, “Why can’t we all just get along?” The question might as well have served as the defining question of the multicultural moment, in which the US attempted to dream about what a pluralistic society would look like—from GOP Family Values to the black middle-class aplomb of Family Matters, whether in elite college admissions or Star Trek: The Next Generation. Hua Hsu (Grantland, The Atlantic Monthly) revisits the notion of “selling out,” that street cred-sapping compromising of authenticity that would be completely unintelligible to a contemporary artist. Kazembe Balagun (Brecht Forum) discusses Family Matters and black kitsch. Hiram Perez (Vassar College) interprets the universal “Cablinasian” identity of Tiger Woods. Salamishah Tillet (UPenn, co-founder of A Long Walk Home) talks feminism and the legacy of Anita Hill.
We conclude with a roundtable with cultural critic Jeff Chang (Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip Hop Generation), journalist Elizabeth Mendez Berry (cited as an inspiration by Jay-Z) and DJJay Smooth (Ill Doctrine) to answer the decades-old question, “Why can’t we all just get along?
- KAZEMBE BALAGUN (Brecht Forum),
- ELIZABETH MENDEZ BERRY (The Nation),
- JEFF CHANG (Can’t Stop Won’t Stop),
- HUA HSU (Grantland),
- HIRAM PEREZ (Vassar College),
- JAY SMOOTH (Ill Doctrine),
- SALAMISHAH TILLET (A Long Walk Home)