'The Root' Roundup: False Premises and Elitism Edition.

Welcome to The Root Roundup! Herein, I will suffer for the art of blogging by reviewing recent essays posted on the internet’s only site produced by the WaPo, just for Negroes.

Let the roundup begin.

This week’s edition: false premises! elitism!

David Swerdlick tells Ludacris he needs to fall back.

False premise #1

Memo to Luda: I know you mean well, but Obama can still lose this thing. Very, very easily.

Actually, no. Don’t buy into the hype. Just because Obama isn’t blowing McCain out of the water doesn’t mean McCain has a shot. As the folks over at Daily Kos like to joke, the media thinks “everything is good for McCain” because that’s the narrative that keeps people tuned in. Obama is consistently ahead of McCain, and Mccain is spending so much time slinging mud he’s the only one getting dirty. This is a change election.

Swerdlick goes on to perpetrate another crime against democracy:

For the first time in American history, an entire community, from sea to shining sea, is being asked to stay on message for a whole year to help a brotha get elected.

Stay on message? To what end? The above appears to assume that Obama will be a cure for what ails the black community. We’re not electing a president for black people. We’re electing a president for the U.S. He’s not going to get in the White House and start ordering $75,000 payments to each black citizen. Do get real.

Veronica Miller writes about Stuff Educated Black People Like, but misses the point.

False premise #2

The site resonates with me and most of—okay, all of my friends. To the point where now, Lynnette and I decide which gatherings to attend based on whether they’ll be “EBP events” or not. (Howard alumni happy hour? Of course. A club where sagging jeans and waist-long weaves are the fashion of choice? Not so much.) Yes, the site is funny, and yes, it teases us for some of our most pretentious habits (i.e. No. 20, “Correcting Others”), but really, we like the site because it lets us know it’s okay to be…well… bourgie.

No, it doesn’t. You’re seeking validation. G.D. had more to say about it earlier this week.

Lawrence Bobo reviews the rituals of the East Coast elite, but pretends that these are the rituals of all Easterners.

False Premise #3 Actually, no false premise here, just lots of preening.

What is striking to me now, as a self-selected New Englander, is how much I have adopted and love the Eastern mindset. I love the clear seasonality of it. I am now a true believer in the sanctity of summer. Once I head “for the Vineyard,” I do NOT intend to be interrupted. I will saunter to Circuit Avenue in Oak Bluffs for breakfast each morning to grab a newspaper. I will do the 16-mile bike ride from Sengekontacket Pond to Katama Beach and back again each day with my buddy. I will sit out on my porch and watch a beautiful sunset over the Lagoon and Vineyard Haven Sound each evening. I will head into Edgartown or go “up island” to Chilmark for dinner with friends.

Quite the exercise, no? I actually wonder if Bobo was joking while he wrote it. Like, “how many ways can I make it clear that I’m bourgie?” It was too heavy handed to be serious. (I hope.)

Damian Mosley asks questions about banning fast food restaurants in the hood, contradicts himself, and confuses me.*

False Premise #4

It’s not bad food options, but poor overall resources, that equate to fat neighborhoods. Neighborhoods “A” and “B” can sport identical rosters of fast-food outlets; but if one has more farmers markets, grocery stores with late hours and parking lots and clean, well-lit parks, it’s a safe bet that obesity in these two places has a different curve.

Isn’t having ready access to only fast food a bad food option? If the argument had been about economics (though, no one on The Root seems to like talking about the realities of the almighty dollar), it may have made sense. For example: fast food is cheap. Healthy food isn’t quite so cheap, plus, it takes time to prepare. This is a reason why many people living in poverty eat Burger King, instead of going to Stater Bros. But Mosley doesn’t say that, or much of anything, really. He starts to talk about obsession with fast food, but then goes on to say he doesn’t eat it. This piece was just thoroughly odd.

This week’s conclusions: The Root is the peacock of bourgie. I rarely read it (unless I know the author, like my boy Mike), so doing a one-hit review of all the essays was eye-opening. The multitude of views share the same over-earnest musings of privileged black folks who are mainly interested in talking about how privileged they are. Even the essays which discussed issues that affect the majority of blacks (you know, those working- and lower-middle-class people), HIV and obesity, don’t actually address the perspectives or realities of the people affected.

And finally, because we are interested in fairness: here’s what The Root (gasp!) got right, and what you should consider reading.

Terry M. Neal says what I’ve been saying for the last month: that the media narrative about Obama being presumptuous is just code for Obama being uppity.

Jeff Winbush talks about the love Obama received from black journalists at UNITY. This resonates with me, because I was trained as a journalist at a black school, where we struggled constantly with maintaining the ethics of an industry that doesn’t truly value diversity. We’re expected to be journalists first, but only when it’s convenient. Winbush settles the question.

Dayo Olopade discusses China’s investment in African nations. Fascinating read.

*Shout-out to astute and helpful reader Aisha for explaining Mosley’s argument. Apparently, I just didn’t get it. These things do happen. I rescind my accusation that he was contradicting himself.  Nevertheless, I found the piece confusing. This may be a fault of editing, so Mosley, you’re okay in my book! (For now.)

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  • aisha

    I see I can’t take your round-up at face value. I went and read the Mosely piece since I’m a health educator. I don’t see where he contradicts himself even in the statement you posted. He’s making the point that holding the number of fast food places does nothing if you aren’t increasing access to health promoting items.

  • Duly noted, aisha, duly noted. I’m glad you clicked the link.

  • dmosley

    postbourgie… i like it. but my love stops with the title. how are you going to paint it like it’s somehow beyond class and status, but then pen an entire roundup nitpicking about elitism? anti-bourgie, maybe. post-bourgie, not even close.

    about the fast food ban in L.A., though, get at me: