Thursday, November 27, 2014

Skip Gates in 2014 on Racial Fluidity and the Dogmatic NEH in 1996

Watching Skip Gate's final (and maybe best) show of the season Tuesday made me remember 1996. I was invited to be on an NEH panel, but in order to participate I would have been required to assert that I was of one race. I could say all Cherokee or all Choctaw, maybe, but I could not say part Cherokee and Choctaw and mainly white. I wrote a tough letter denouncing the requirement as outright racist and never got invited to work for NEH again. Five years later, ten, popular musicians were casually describing themselves as bi-racial and a few years later it was hard to find anyone in the country who claimed to be all white. I wonder what NEH's policy is now.

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