I did not fully realize it until I excitedly checked my DVR for this past Sunday’s episode, but The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency is finished for the season! I plan to search around the web for any information on whether the program will be coming back for a new season—I certainly hope so. To keep me occupied in the meantime, I am planning a series of posts inspired by the series reflecting a little on race, cultural authenticity, and depictions by Whites of people of color. Racialicious has a good post up about this very issue.
Some random thing I may cover:
- The first book I read that (to my knowledge) was by a Black author was Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, which I read while in high school. It would be an understatement to say that this book changed my life and reading habits forever. But I am often annoyed that it took so long for me to read a book by a Black author. I am trying to ensure that my own children do not suffer the same fate.
- An experience I have had as a parent is rediscovering children’s books I loved as a child, only to discover how incredibly racist the books are. Also, I have found some books that I loved that I know now were about White characters, but that as a child I had somehow “read myself into” them, recreating lead character in my own image. To me, for example, Pippi Longstocking was a little Black girl (though her non-Black image was clearly illustrated on the cover and throughout the pages).
- I struggle with the idea that there is an “authentic” Black experience, or authentic anything experience. I am not sure what that means, or who is to judge, or what happens to those experiences that fall outside of the realm of defined (by someone) authenticity. Yet I have very definitely read and seen depictions of Black folks that rang absolutely untrue to me. (And not all of these depictions were by White folks.)
- Along those lines, it used to annoy me in the 80s when some folks (Black, White, and other) complained of the Cosby Show that it did not depict a “real Black family.” In many ways, the Cosbys were much like my own family growing up. We were all Black. But somehow were we not “really” Black? Of course that is a ridiculous notion. But I am intrigued by what I think that statement and claim of inauthenticity really means.
Those are some of my thoughts right now. I welcome any other thoughts you may have. In the meantime, I do not know what I will do without both “Heroes” and “The No. 1 Ladies’.” So if you have any suggestions for summer TV viewing, I’d appreciate that as well.