Talking Race-Baiter with critics from Newsweek and AOL TV/Huffington Post
Since my book came out right before a crucial election, I'm not surprised that so much discussion of Race-Baiter has centered on politics, news media and social issues.
But I also tried to talk a lot about how prejudice and stereotypes affect entertainment television; from so-called "reality TV" to scripted television. Regular readers have seen my pieces on the Black Best Friend and the Five Biggest Lies About Reality TV, and Race-Baiter gave me the opportunity to expand on these ideas, interviewing alums from some of TV's biggest reality shows and talking to star Blair Underwood about why he briefly worried President Obama's election might have ended his career as an actor.
But I didn't get much of a chance to expand on those ideas in interviews about the book until I got calls from two of the smartest critics in the business, Verne Gay at Newsday newspaper and Maureen Ryan, the former TV critic at the Chicago Tribune, now at AOL/Huffington Post, who has an amazing podcast about TV and life called Talking TV with Ryan and Ryan.
In Verne's piece, we go from talking about the news media stuff to entertainment TV, packing a lot into our brief time talking. My discussion with Maureen was much more freewheeling, covering issues such as sexism and racism and why more mainstream TV critics don't talk about these issues so much (to see her most excellent work on this subject, check out her amazing piece asking why TV has such trouble hiring and promoting female writers).
I also wrote an interesting piece for the New York Times' Room for Debate column about reality TV and society, expanding on some of the themes contained in the book, noting "the question of whether reality TV is pop culture's greatest boon or worse nightmare is a bit of a false choice: it's both."
It's been hard to spread word about this book, because so many people don't want to believe the ideas I'm discussing and the urge to avoid these topics is so strong. So I really appreciate the kind words from folks like Verne and Maureen -- national-level critics who have been in the trenches as long or longer than me.
Apologies too for readers who feel I talk about this book too much in this space and my social media accounts.
But when you spend two years pulling a project together like this ,you want to take every opportunity to let the world know that its available and some pretty cool people are recommending it. (at left, the discussion during a St. Petersburg book signing at Studio@620)
Believe it or don't, it makes a great Xmas gift and with Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday and Black History Month around the corner, issues of fighting stereotypes and prejudice are sure to surface again and again in 2013.