Poor Brian Feagans must have drawn the short straw when he got assigned this remarkable piece. I wonder if they're planning to do a series: Georgian Recalls Riding the Escalator With Tiger Woods, Atlantan Recalls Waiting in the DMV line With Colin Powell. The two women featured (a mother/daughter team with dreams of meeting Matt Lauer and Oprah, no doubt) are middle-aged Catherine, who once was assigned to a dorm room with Michelle Obama at Princeton, and the elder Driving Miss Alice, who immediately demanded a room change for her child. Eventually, Catherine came out as a lesbian and learned what it feels to be marginalized, and Alice figured out that her prejudice may have lost her a ticket to the White House.
The writing itself is horrific; I wouldn't know where to begin. But what's worse is the entire premise, along with the literal length(s) it goes to to make its point(lessness). And by the end of the article, I certainly don't have the impression anyone has learned anything at all. They made the enormous leap from:
"I was horrified," recalled Brown, who had driven her daughter up from New Orleans. Brown stormed down to the campus housing office and demanded Donnelly be moved to another room.
The reason: One of her roommates was black.
"I told them we weren't used to living with black people — Catherine is from the South," Brown said. "They probably thought I was crazy."
Society changed, and Donnelly has seen her mother nudged along with it. Says Brown: "It's become politically incorrect to talk about black people in a negative way. It's like smoking."
Brown quit smoking in 1996. She's still working on the other.
Brown says she wouldn't mind if her child or grandchild roomed with a black person today. But she's far from colorblind. "Where I draw the line is interracial marriage," Brown says. "That I can't quite deal with."
She holds firm to the belief that African-Americans don't take enough responsibility. "Bill Cosby says the same thing," she says. "Get off your rear end and work hard and improve yourself."
I haven't read anything this self-indulgent since that AJC obit I wrote about a few months ago. When it was all over, I couldn't figure out if Feagans was serious, or if he was deviously making fun of the women and giving his editors the invisible finger. If the former, wow. If the latter, what a puss.