Monday, May 08, 2006

Isn't It Ironic?

People who have studied the history of my neighborhood tell me it's always been somewhat racially mixed. Before desegregation, the population was predominantly white, but became predominantly black as a result of "white flight" in the sixties or so. But like many old neighborhoods, my neighborhood has seen an influx of white residents beginning about ten years ago, such that data from the 2000 Census show that the population is now about 53/47 black/white.

Yet, despite my neighborhood's growing diversity, marketers and political parties seem to still view it as racially homogenous. We frequently get offers in the mail to join Black Expressions Book Club and we've gotten some AOL offers obviously targeted at African-Americans. During the presidential election, the Democrats dropped off a flyer clearly targeting their traditional African-American constiuency and offering to drive us to the polls. (The Republicans, apparently drawing the same demographic conclusions, didn't bother.)

And what did I find in my mailbox the other day? An offer to subscribe to a new beatuy magazine exclusively for the African-American woman. As I, the great-great-granddaughter of late nineteenth century Danish and German immigrants, sit flipping through a magazine written exclusively for the great-great-great-etc. granddaughters of eighteenth or early nineteenth century west African immigrants, I feel like I should be having some profound insight about Race, Human Nature, or the Arbitrariness of Life. Instead, I just keep humming along with Alanis, "Isn't it ironic" -- while I use the free Oil of Olay sample that came with the magazine.

2 comments:

patricia said...

I feel like I should be having some profound insight about Race, Human Nature, or the Arbitrariness of Life
Oh, I think you about hit it ;-)

melissa said...

You just crack me up.
Our neighborhood is racially mixed as well, but we're experiencing the white flight now. Our new neighbors, across the street, include a 69 year old black woman and one of her children. She's the greatest. But, within months of her moving in---3 houses (owned by whites) are for sale right slap dab near us.
Yeah, she's so scary. (read heavy sarcasm) And folks have such a knee-jerk reaction sometimes.
I know this isn't what you were talking about, but I needed to tell someone. :P

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