by Oliver Wang
In my haste to get that first post up yesterday, I forgot to write a basic introduction. Hi, I'm Oliver Wang, longtime reader, first-time guester.
I first met TNC back around 10 years ago, when he was writing for Time. I've never been a conventional investigative/news journalist—music criticism was my main interest—but I do think of myself as part of a larger community of writers so I've always paid attention when folks within that extended fam excel. It's been a real joy to see Ta-Nehisi's career arc in particular; to me, he's one of the foremost commentators on race and society and his eloquent insights often speak what's jumbled in my own head. Suffice to say, I consider it a huge honor to be guest-posting on his site.
I still write constantly, especially for NPR these days, but my day job is as an assistant professor of sociology at Cal State Long Beach. My primary areas of interest are in race/ethnicity and popular culture and so I'm always interested in the intersection between the two. In particular, I try to stay attuned into how popular culture/media shapes our impressions and perceptions of social identities such as race, class and gender.
Not surprisingly, one of my favorite blogs (besides TNC's) is Sociological Images, a popular site run by Occidental's Lisa Wade and Nevada State's Gwen Sharp. Every day, they post up different images from around the world—taken from print ads, television, cinema, etc.—that reveal the ways in which we frame social issues and identities. They cover a stunningly diverse range of topics, from analyzing the gulf oil spill to the racial representation in Seventeen to pretzel ads.