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Friday, July 13, 2012


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The post "Austin Playing Catchup with the Census" shares my thoughts on addressing the decline to the African American population.

The "you keep this up" line is about tokenism. Tokenism is likened to being the one black guy in a room full of whites. Other races have since taken it up, but it started with the idea of black tokenism.

That's what I'm referring to...if Austin continues its decline of the African American population. It's not a callout to individuals, but to the city's behavior in treating something as a real issue (decline of a key demographic vs. tweeting at shows) worth commenting on.

Ok, so the first part was basically you wondering why your post about tweeting during an ACL taping was ok, got more hits than the decline post?

I can't help you there. I was more into the latter one than someone explaining their need to tweet during a show. That blog came off more self involved and egomaniacal than i'm sure you intended, but it did not interest me.

After rereading it, I can see you really weren't looking for ways to actively help improve the growth of african americans in austin.
But the second half seemed to be aimed at something else.

This line, "You keep this up, Austin, and there won’t be enough tokens to go around." is what got me. I didn't quite understand what Austin was not supposed to keep up. The need for useless information, obsessions over the ill fated celebrity, or over dramatized experiences? Unfortunately, that's not just an Austin thing. I'd also be brave enough to say our city is better than most in that respect.

Vanessa, you realize I was totally kidding about being thanked for being Black and at a show, right? Lol. Those who know me best know I'm the LEAST race-centric person ever.

I never get comments on my blog. Well, almost never. This is cool. I promise I'm not so ridiculous to really think I should get thanked for being black.

The only real point of this blog is to point out that it's weird what drives people to comment on blogs/FB/Twitter here in Austin. When I lived in DC, I got more interest if I wrote about more "high level" stuff.

I'm going to start this one off with a joke to lighten the mood.
Austin will always have "color" because us Mexicanos are taking over the wooooorld! #jokes

I'm trying to wrap my head around this entire piece. And let me know if I've misunderstood it entirely.

You're saying I should thank you, based off the fact that you're black??
I'm afraid that I don't know ANYONE who bases their friends on race, so I apologize if you've felt like you've become the "token" dude.

I mean, I get that Austin should definitely represent the cultural melting pot we've wanted it to be. But I feel like you're accosting me for not shaking your hand and thanking you for being alive.

Don't get me wrong, you're a nice person and we've had nothing but pleasant interactions, but I don't know you that well.

Now onto trying to improve those pesky stats! It's hard to do without figuring out the root cause of the decline. There's no better place to start then at the bottom, though. I'm aware you do public speaking, but have you gone to the east side schools that the lower class have been pushed to? Talk to them, donated some of your time and Role Model books to help drive their motivation and let them know that people do care about their future? Sadly these are not things that get pushed to these kids often, if ever.

Austin itself is doing a good job at brushing them under the rug, with the closing of schools and bringing in Charter schools. These kids need someone to look up to and since you are great at letting everyone know all the things you do, why not put it to good use?!

Don't just threaten Austin and say "you'll be sorry when we are gone". Maybe miss a couple festivals out of town, and start activities with our local youth.

This type of stuff goes way beyond social media, by the way. So tweeting/blogging about it will never fix the problem.

I hate to break it to you, but the Internet is mostly not about what is fair or right or interesting. As a writer, didn't you figure this out awhile back? Thousands of people pour their souls out in various forms on the Internet and many don't care. The general public wants to see kittens and puppies. It's the way of the world- and you're right, it's sad, but not new.

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