Airing Dirty Laundry by Ishmael Reed
This gathering of essays written over the last 15 years represents Reed at his outspoken, polemical best. In the title piece he rebukes the national media for its tendency to associate blacks with social pathology while at the same time promoting Asian Americans as model minorities, virtually ignoring Latinos and downplaying the “far more lethal” pathologies of the “white underclass.” Elsewhere, Reed questions the “demonization” of Clarence Thomas by Anita Hill’s supporters, criticizing the media’s “lynching” of convicted rapist Mike Tyson, attacks the “gender-first faction” of the feminist movement and supports multiculturalist school curricula.
More than half of the 36 articles appear here for the first time. Reed pens incisive profiles of film director and screenwriter Bill Gunn, poet Gwendolyn Brooks, novelist Toni Cade Bambara, former Black Panther Elaine Brown and many other black intellectuals and activists. Other pieces discuss the Be-Bop revival, the Los Angeles riots, black-Jewish relations and Christopher Columbus’s respect for the skills and crafts of the natives he encountered. [book link]