Patrice Evans is The Assimilated Negro, a hyperobservant, savagely pop-savvy instigator bent on pranking the crap out of our modern racial discourse. Since the debut of his popular “Ghetto Pass” column for Gawker.com, Evans has been the rare voice capable of speaking to junkies for both White Castle and Colson Whitehead with equal insight and aplomb. His first book, Negropedia, is a wide-ranging, deeply idiosyncratic tour through the tricky racial landscape of the Obama era, aimed at pop-culture consumers at the intersecting fan bases of South Park and Chappelle’s Show, Scott Pilgrim and The Boondocks.
Whether deconstructing Lil Wayne’s “no homo hypocrisy,” outlining the all-important Clair Huxtable code for finding a mate, or assessing Susan Sontag’s street cred, Evans provides a stream of daring outsider anthropology.
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About the Author
PATRICE EVANS, aka The Assimilated Negro (TAN), is a contributing writer for Grantland.com. He has written about the intersection of race, class, and pop culture for Time Out New York, Gawker.com, McSweeney’s, and CollegeHumor.com, as well as What Was the Hipster?, an essay collection published by the literary journal n+1. In addition to writing for print and online, he also writes rhymes and stand-up bits for fun and profit. He lives in New York City.
Read an Excerpt
NegropediaThe Assimilated Negro's Crash Course on the Modern Black Experience
By Patrice Evans
Three Rivers PressCopyright © 2011 Patrice Evans
All right reserved.
THE CLAIR HUXTABLE CODE
Clair Huxtable is the perfect professional black mom. Actually, Clair Huxtable transcends race: She’s the perfect professional mom, period. She also transcends generations: While June Cleaver, Carol Brady, and Edith Bunker may lose potency over time, if you go back to the archives, you’ll find Clair Huxtable still holds up strong. Every TV mom is still aspiring to be Clair. She simply covers all the bases: Effective lawyer. Attentive parent. Lightning-fast hoagie snatcher.
She raised the bar every Thursday night for years and years, and millions of black men went to bed dreaming they would someday run into their own Clair. Every black man under forty in America has used her as a guiding light in his quest for the perfect partner. When they go out on dates with black women, their eyes glaze over as they hallucinate three-cushion sofas and little Rudys and Theos walking around, being adorably bratty and dealing with very solvable life issues.
How to be a modern-day Clair:
1. Date a professional: doctor, lawyer, politician. Income, insurance, and a job that projects dignity and respect are nonnegotiables for Clair.
2. Be independently successful: You want a professional man, but no one ever saw Clair asking for money on The Cosby Show.
3. Develop the ability to raise one eyebrow--it’s the ultimate passive-aggressive tool. I’m pretty sure there are a couple episodes where Clair didn’t speak a single line, she just raised the eyebrow for every purpose, be it warning the children or luring Cliff into the bedroom.
4. Dress in age-appropriate attire that is neither fl ashy nor cheap. Clair was sexy, but at the same time we never saw more than a few inches of flesh exposed. Try to keep up with that, Kim Kardashian!
5. Health and fitness are part of the agenda but should not be overdone. Clair never bemoaned her weight, but we also never saw her coming from the gym.
How to find your Clair:
• Tour local graduate schools.
• Have a graduate degree yourself.
• Be comfortable with the fact that you will always be less put together than your woman. Be a fixer-upper.
• No drugs, no excessive drinking. Life itself is fun with Clair; there’s no need to artificially enhance.
• A small potbelly is endearing.
Michelle Obama might be taking the baton as the quintessential symbol of the professional black woman/doting mother. Being the first lady and having the whole “actually existing” thing going for her will surely help her work her way into our collective hearts and minds. But she’ll still need Barack to win a second term before she can approach the status of Clair Huxtable.
Excerpted from Negropedia by Patrice Evans Copyright © 2011 by Patrice Evans. Excerpted by permission of Three Rivers Press, a division of Random House, Inc.
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