Monday, December 1, 2014

What's wrong with the press part 10^100 -- people who use 'summer' as a verb

One of these days, I want to do some long posts on race and class prejudices. The two topics are so closely intertwined and so complexly related that you can't have an in-depth conversation about one without addressing the other. That's a huge problem because, thought the press might be willing to address its racism, it is in complete denial about its class bigotry and lack of diversity.

This anecdote from the Philadelphia Inquirer says a lot.
Jill Nelson says she had misgivings from the start.

On the day she was interviewed for a writing job at the Washington Post's new magazine in 1986, she recalls, the conversations seemed less about her work and more about her.

Editor Ben Bradlee, who has since retired, warmed up, according to Nelson, only after she told him she'd summered each year at Martha's Vineyard. The privileged background that Nelson had alternately enjoyed and eschewed had given her an "in."

But getting there was one thing, she writes; surviving was another.

Her book, Volunteer Slavery: My Authentic Negro Experience, is a juicy expose of life at one of the nation's most venerable institutions. In this memoir, published by Noble Press, Nelson describes four puzzling, disillusioning and demeaning years at the job and severe family strains that she had to deal with at the time.

Faced with the challenge of keeping her integrity and meeting the expectations of editors portrayed as callous and ignorant about African American sensibilities, Nelson says she knew four months after her arrival that it wasn't going to work. But she hung in, she said in an interview last week, for the money and out of a sense of responsibility. Success, she said, was an expectation of her upper-middle-class upbringing. The subtitle, she said, underscores lifelong feelings that her background had allowed her to elude the experiences of most blacks.

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