It’s hard for me to believe that February 2014 will mark the two-year anniversary of Wendy Jane’s Soul Shake. I still feel somewhat new to this journey of exploring my passion for all things race relations, yet when I reflect on what I strove to discover and connect with in 2013, I feel happy and full. I can’t wait for all that 2014 will bring my way, and thank all of you for all of your comments, and dialogue here on the blog, and in “the real world.” I truly cherish making these connections, and I hope that during the times I’ve offended, and have been enlightened, I have done so with humility. I have also cherished moving through these difficult “bumps” and embracing the opportunity to learn and grow.
Read on for the WJSS 2013 Year-In-Review:The year started off on a celebratory note, with It Was A Happy Inauguration Day, a look at President Obama’s second term swearing into office. On a more personal note, I also reflected on the possibility that I may have racially profiled two young, black men as shoplifters while I shopped for shoes in Wendy Jane Catches Wendy Jane Racially Profiling! Wait That’s Me! , a post which seemed to be a favorite with readers.
March focused on arts and culture with posts on Black Dandyism and artist, Hank Willis Thomas, an assumption on my part with I Was Wrong, Some Black People Laughed at Django Hood Scene, and my multi-cultural Seder post: Blacks and Jews and Matzo: My First Swirled Passover.
In June I was lucky enough to see and reflect on the MJ Cirque de Soleil Show, but just a month later after my sadness and anger over the Trayvon Martin verdict, I wrote What Trayvon Doesn’t Get To Do, and after seeing countless tweets and facebook posts by white people who belittled or were blind to the matter of race and white privilege around Trayvon’s case, I felt pressed to write If You’re White, Get It Right: Wendy Jane’s Primer For White People On How To Have Conversations On Race , the primer I view as still a work-in-progress.
My interview with Alex Ishmael Wiggins, who generously shared his experiences with racism as a young black man transplanted to Florida from Rhode Island, was a highlight for me, and I look forward to doing more interviews in 2014. Along those same lines, I’d like to cover more news on local culture as I had the opportunity to do with An Evening Out: Local Women of Color Artists Speak at AS220.
In October I was elated when my post I Was On Black Twitter and U.O.E.N.O. was picked up by The Root. Swimming in deeper waters, as one friend of mine put it, gave me exposure to many more readers than typically visit WJSS, most of whom were supportive, including a tweet from director/actress/producer, Issa Rae, who I note in the post. Yet, it brought also a few people who were not happy with the article and with what was perceived as disrespectful and coming from a place of white privilege.
In November I attended my first diversity conference, a truly enlightening experience–An In-Depth Look At The 2013 National Race Amity Conference, and enjoyed hearing writer, Stacia Brown’s take on what she called Important Black Film Fatigue, with current films like Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom, Django, Fruitvale Station, and especially, 12 Years A Slave, out this year.
The year ended with the passing of one of the world’s greatest leaders, and a personal hero to me, Nelson Mandela. I want to go back and read more about the details of his life’s journey, and plan to do so, along with the books on my year-end picks: Wendy Jane’s Holiday Top Ten Race-Related Books Wish List . Unfortunately, we had to go from the honorable Mandela to the ridiculousness, and ugliness, of Fox News Reporter, Megyn Kelly’s claim that Santa is just white.but, thankfully I could replay Teddy Vann’s Santa Claus Is A Black Man as a rebuttal.
Finally, A little WJSS trivia: I’m still confounded that the most popular search term this year that gets people to my blog, and the most looked at blog post on WJSS, is the July 2012 piece, White Girl Stereotypes–go figure.
I wish all of you the best for the New Year. Please let me know what you’d like to see covered on WJSS, any changes you’d like to suggest, and please continue to engage in dialogue here, and out there in the world. It’s the only way we get to understand one another, and can move forward in trying to make positive connections across races, which makes me think of an amazing person I consider a mentor, Adrienne Wallace, who keeps reminding me we are all one race anyway–the human race.