James Howden, Sports, Culture & Other Obsessions posted an entry this past week on “John Updike: On Race and Being American” that quotes large sections from an essay in Self-Consciousness and reacts to Updike’s remarks about race in America.
One line that particularly stands out in a letter to his half-Ghanian grandchildren: “When Anoff was born . . . my instinctive thought was that he would do better if his parents settled in Ghana; that is, I trusted an African country to treat a half-white person better than my own country would treat a half-black. Now I wonder. Ours is a changing, merging, exogamous world, and while racial prejudice operates in the United States against blacks in many ways overt and oblique . . . at least our laws now formally insist upon equal rights. . . .”
“An ideal colorblind society flickers at the forward edge of a sluggishly evolving one . . . America is slowly becoming yours, I want to think,” Updike wrote many years before the current state of racism in America, fueled by politics.