Journalist and Author Jeff Chang – @zentronix, on Facebook, on web – was host of the June 7 Bay Area Book Festival event at a panel titled Who We Be: An Un-Panel About Our Colorized Futures described as –
Favianna Rodriguez, Oakland artist
W. Kamau Bell, comedian, FX Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell
Adam Mansbach, Go the Fuck to Sleep, Dead Run, You Have to Fucking Eat
Who’s afraid of 2043? No, really?
At this Un-panel, author Jeff Chang (Who We Be, Can’t Stop Won’t Stop), award-winning visual artist Favianna Rodriguez (Migration Is Beautiful, CultureStrike), comedian/philosopher W. Kamau Bell (United Shades of America, Totally Biased) and author/parenting expert Adam Mansbach(Rage Is Back, The Dead Run, Go The F***k To Sleep, You Have to F****** Eat) riff and rant on art, culture, race, and demographobia.
Chang, as host of the Sunday afternoon book festival event, provided a brief overview of the panel composition – Favianna Rodriguez, Adam Mansbach, and W. Kamau Bell. (My brief overview of each over here – Rodriguez, Mansbach, Bell.) Chang shared a little about his background (more on his bio), including his recently having published Who We Be: The Colorization of America (on web, NYT book review). I jotted down a few words from Chang’s intro –
… year 2043, demographics Y2K
… the majority-minority
What is with the year 2043? In a December 2012 press release, the U.S. Census Bureau summarized its projection through 2060 – U.S. Census Bureau Projections Show a Slower Growing, Older, More Diverse Nation a Half Century from Now – stating the following –
The U.S. population will be considerably older and more racially and ethnically diverse by 2060, according to projections released today by the U.S. Census Bureau. These projections of the nation’s population by age, sex, race and Hispanic origin, which cover the 2012-2060 period, are the first set of population projections based on the 2010 Census.
. . .
The U.S. is projected to become a majority-minority nation for the first time in 2043. While the non-Hispanic white population will remain the largest single group, no group will make up a majority.
All in all, minorities, now 37 percent of the U.S. population, are projected to comprise 57 percent of the population in 2060. (Minorities consist of all but the single-race, non-Hispanic white population.) The total minority population would more than double, from 116.2 million to 241.3 million over the period.
Fast-forwawrd to November 2014, from the Huffington Post’s Braden Goyette’s interview of Chang – Jeff Chang Talks ‘Who We Be’ And Why We Haven’t Had A Real National Conversation About Race –
The book explores how race has figured in American visual culture since the 60s, and the rhetorical imagery that’s driven American politics. “We can all agree that race is not a question of biology,” Chang writes. “Instead it is a question of culture and it begins as a visual problem, one of vision and visuality. Race happens in the gap between appearance and the perception of difference. It is about what we see and what we think we see and what we think about when we see. In that sense, it’s bigger than personal affinities, preferences, tastes and bonds.”
Inspired. An idea, reignited – bi-cultural improv. Chang’s Un-Panel reignited an idea that had sparked in me earlier this year, an idea that I have had in the back of my mind – bi-cultural improv. The idea is simply to be part of a troupe with members who are at least bi-cultural and who may choose characters and environments inspired by one’s bi-cultural upbringing. Me? I am Filipino-American, who grew up (for the most part) during the 1980s in East Bay part of the San Francisco Bay Area* since I was about 9 years old. (And if you ask family and friends, my brother and I likely may be considered more Americanized than other contemporaries.)
Thanks to Chang, Rodriguez, Mansbach, and Bell for a Sunday afternoon of inspiration and unknowingly reigniting the idea of a bi-cultural improv troupe.
* … and then there is Oliver Wang’s book
Legions of Boom: Filipino American Mobile DJ Crews
in the San Francisco Bay Area (Refiguring American Music)