The Nose: Can Lolo Jones' Story Serve As A Case Study On American Race Relations?

The Nose rounds up the week in pop culture.

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The Nose: Can Lolo Jones' Story Serve As A Case Study On American Race Relations?
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The Nose: Can Lolo Jones' Story Serve As A Case Study On American Race Relations?

American thinking about race has not caught up with American thinking about race.

How can that be true? Well, we have have a black president and a large protion of the electorate clearly freaked out by having a black president. But wait, there's more. Sometimes it's easier to see these things at the Olympics because the faces are new and the storylines are fresh. This week, there's been a lot of fuss about the hurdler Lolo Jones. Did she get too much coverage? Are her teammates annoyed by that? But wait.  Why did she get too much coverage. Most of te articles I've read don't mention what I think is the unspoken issue here. Jones is of mixed race parentage, but her look is closer to our conventional notion of an attractive white woman than are the looks of some of the more successful runners she has seemingly eclipsed. It's a touchy subject.
 
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E-mail from Anonymous

I called in on today's show commenting on the fact that what seemed to be lacking from the conversation regarding the "dark skinned african american women" was that they are quite beautiful themselves. You informed me that was the first thing you said and perhaps that should have been obvious. But i had been listening for a while prior to you taking my call and that really was not being reinforced throughout the rest of the conversation and i think therein lies the problem. (Certainly your comments regarding the UConn basketball team did little to convey the idea that beauty comes in all forms but i sense you regretted that comment as soon as you said it.) Instead what was being reinforced,even if unintentually, was how most people have a very narrow sense of what is considered beautiful. If we keep telling people that most people define beauty as anglo european in orgin that concept will continue to be what is perpetuated and perceived as acceptable. When in fact I think there are many people who are able to appreciate the beauty in all races and nationalities.
Many on the panel kept stating that we have to have this conversation more often. I disagree. I think we should stop focusing on what is considered to be this ideal and eventually that concept will diminish.
While i understand the argument that this is the concept of beauty that the media is embracing and thereby suggesting it is what we as a culture consider beautiful i believe that by talking about it we give this concept credence. It also serves to reinforce an ideal which i belive has changed considerably.
Having said all this i will continue to be an avid listener even though you and your guests really annoy me sometimes.