Ebony At The Gates

It's rather sad to see Ebony going down just as it's getting getting name-checked on Mad Men. I'm conflicted about this--It's a hard road for all magazines right now, and it's important to say this. That Ebony has held on this long is commendable. Moreover, I've been nurtured by black institutions all my life. I worked in one from my the time I could talk, and on into my 20s. I went to Baltimore public schools, and then on to an HBCU, where I started my writing career at the college paper.

I don't think we can overstate the importance of being self-starters, and not asking people to do for us, what we will not do for ourselves. Moreover, the magazine world is still horrifyingly white--and that actually understates the problem. The magazine world isn't just horrifyingly white, it's horrifyingly Northeastern, horrifyingly Ivy League, and horrifyingly privileged. This is more about inertia, than it is about malice or bigotry. (Though we should not confuse a reason with an excuse.)

But my point is that Ebony isn't having problems because the magazine world is stepping on their territory. Far from it. They're having problems because, all things being equal, technology has almost (almost!) rendered the question moot. There are just too many awesome places where I see myself. This world--the one where you have a black president--is the world that Ebony's agents dreamed of. This is what we wanted. It is myopic to call integration a paradox, it implies that one should get something for nothing. There's a reason we don't sing spirituals anymore.