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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

"intellectual espresso"

Michelle McCrary, who runs the terrific website Is That Your Child?, blogged a few weeks ago about Racial Innocence. I was so happy that Michelle put my book into dialogue with the issues confronted by contemporary parents, particularly those in multicultural families. The blog post received a lot of attention, so Michelle invited me to speak on her radio program. We spoke last night for almost an hour, and it was one of the most stimulating and enjoyable interviewing experiences I've ever had. Michelle asked the most insightful, penetrating questions about the history of race, childhood, and especially toys. We talked about topsy-turvy dolls, the Clark Doll Tests, nineteenth-century black dolls, innocence, and many, many other topics--including, ultimately, the possibility of anti-racist resistance. We could have talked for hours!

Michelle has deftly edited our interview and posted it on iTunes, Libsyn and on Stitcher (for mobile users and tablet users). She also blogged again about the book as well as our interview, and the interview is posted on that webpage. In her very kind introduction to the interview, Michelle called my book "intellectual espresso," and she said, "This is a really excellent book. I can't stop raving about it, and I can't stop encouraging people enough to just go out there and get it." Michelle also added a postscript to the interview in which she shared her own thoughts about the contemporary criminalization of black children, racist sports mascots, and Joel Chandler Harris. She also made some great points about how racial innocence lives on in the claims of contemporary white adults, especially members of the tea party, who wax nostalgic for an imagined past in which African Americans "knew their place." Michelle McCrary is one of the most thoughtful, closest readers I've ever had. I loved talking with her, and I hope for opportunities to continue the conversation. Thank you, Michelle McCrary, and hats off to!

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