This has a food angle to it, so I thought I should write about it. I was in NYC for job interviews, and was really hungry. I checked out the yellow pages for food tours, and some of the most popular were soul food tours of Harlem, complete with fried chicken and collard greens. As I had eaten both of those the day before I left Alabama, I said, “What the hell is this?” I had pizza instead.
Then came the great interview for a job at Connecticut State University as a Professor of African-American Literature. When I walked into the interview room, it was more than obvious that the interview committee thought I was Black, as a Southern PhD who had written widely about African-American writers. I’m the whitest guy, genetically, that you know. I just do love a great writer, and some good soul food, but we cook the soul food ourselves.
The interview was crash and burn, but entertaining. I was asked if black students would question me about me teaching black writers (none ever has), and I responded that the knowledge of literay texts is not genetic–you learn it or not. That logical answer got me nowhere.
Alas, I am in the warm South now instead of the frigid Northeast. We may have an epidemic of stupid down here, but we know good food. If you know better than that, let me know. I’ll give you a job interview.