Dori Maynard

Dori J. Maynard, a former Detroit Free Press reporter, is president of the Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education, where she works on the Fault Lines, a project that examines the ways race, class, gender, generation, and geography shape our world view.

Recent Articles

Growing up Hip Hop

The Hip Hop Generation: Young Blacks and the Crisis in African-American Culture By Bakari Kitwana. Basic Books, 230 pages, $24.00 A t a meeting I attended several years ago, a man who did not look all that much younger than me turned in my direction and announced that my generation had made a mess out of race relations and social justice. It was time, he said, for people like me to get out of the way and let his generation take over. As I was not yet 40 years old, I found myself so intent on defending my youth that I never did discover exactly what he meant. A little more than a year ago, at a town meeting on race held in Birmingham, Alabama, a mostly middle-aged crowd jammed into the historic Sixteenth Street Baptist Church. The church had been the scene of a firebombing in 1963 that killed four young girls. Many of the evening's speakers discussed the horrors of racist violence. Ananda Lewis, a television talk-show host in her late twenties, surveyed the crowd and said how she had...

A Guide for the Perplexed

S everal years ago, I was the lone African American in a small group of people spending an academic year together. It had all the makings of a great experience, except for one persistent problem: A few in the group were determined to spend at least a portion of their time exploring race relations. Unfortunately, I had been designated their unofficial tour guide, the person in charge of giving them insight into what it is like to be black in America. The problem was that sitting around discussing race with people who knew little on the subject was not what I had had in mind for the year. Looking back, I suspect the experience was frustrating to all involved. I could not fathom why my associates felt entitled to take up my time with their questions. From their point of view--one I admit I did not consider back then--they were probably equally confounded by my rebuffs. I suspect they found me hostile, just as I found them smug and ill informed. But that's the tricky...

Scolding the Race

John H. McWhorter has seen black America, and it is not pretty. It is a place populated by a people so seeped in pathology that a young girl is urged to smack a toddler who has the temerity to know how to spell the word "concrete." It is a place where nearly all African Americans, middle and upper class as well as poor, are unable to admit how much has changed since the days of segregated bathrooms and "Negroes need not apply." It is a place where African Americans have turned their back on education, convinced they can get by with shoddy scholarship and a smirk. It is a place where McWhorter has spent his life struggling against the prevailing thought. An Oakland, California, resident and an associate professor of linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley, McWhorter rose to national prominence in 1996-1997 with his vehement opposition to the Oakland school board's proposal to use Ebonics in the classroom. It was, he writes, an experience that...