It’s Black Friday. Merchants are seeing Green as consumers continue to dream of a White Christmas in a Red economy.
The English language is nothing if not colorful, and the word “black” is the one which evokes the greatest range of polarities and emotions. On the one hand, we blackball or blacklist people for being blackguards who practise black magic or sell stuff on the black market and give other folks black eyes. Although juvenile delinquests are the black sheep in their families, even they dread the onslaught of blackheads. In medieval times, people died of the Black Death and, in our own time, we disappear into Black Holes. But, on the other hand, we copy down useful information which our teachers write on blackboards. We give out black belts to people who excel in judo or karate. And Barack Obama cannot live without his Blackberry.
Some years ago, the University of Kansas Theatre Department decided to cancel its production of Joe Turner’s Come and Gone by black playwright August Wilson because they couldn’t find enough black actors to play all the parts in the play. In its place, the department substituted The House of Blue Leaves, a dark comedy by white playwright John Guare. When the department sent out a press release announcing the change, it quite accurately described the play as “a black comedy.” But, not surprisingly, the local paper in its confusion decided to label this whiter-than-white play about a dysfunctional white family in Queens, New York, as “an African-American comedy.”
All this leads me to wonder, when the season of Red and Green is over, how Barack Obama will deal with all the other hues in the spectrum of American society. Will he hear the hue and cry of the LBGT coalition who contributed to his campaign and helped to elect him the President of these United States? Will 2010 finally see the White House flying the colors of The Rainbow?