Saturday, April 2, 2011

How We Viewed Chauncey Bailey in the Midwest

Notes from the Black Chauncey Bailey Book Project:

How We Viewed Chauncey Bailey in the Midwest

by John Woodford, Editor, Michigan Today,

University of Michigan

Mainly, out here in the Middle West, Chauncey acted as a gadfly--one of those Black journalists who seemed to enjoy getting a rep as a contrarian against Black progressives. Now, on one hand, that is positive in that it sparks self-criticism and open debate, which helps ventilate musty ideas and perspectives. But on the other, it can boil down to delighting the racists who like to foment public fights between all of African descent. Stimulating and exploiting financially internecine combat among Blacks is a time-old ploy. For example, right now we have this current concocted controversy over what Jalen Rose had to say about his teenage opinions of the Fab Five's Black competitors on the Duke basketball team. So Chauncey played and enjoyed that sort of role, possibly deriving his role from his conservative Catholic upbringing, which includes in part a proclivity to debate for the pleasure of it. Nevertheless, the commercial, white-dominated media gravitates toward those who will assume that role. On the other hand, it took courage for Chauncey to expose not only what seemed to be gangterism in the Oakland Black community but in the law enforcement, courts and city hall as well. And whatever differences I may have had with some of Chauncey's essentially America-Firster international politics, I admired his guts and the way he relished argument.

The anthology The Black Chauncey Bailey Project, will be released next year, 2012, edited by Marvin X. The book will be published by Black Bird Press, in association with The Post Newspaper Group and Bay Area Black Authors. You are invited to submit an essay on Chauncey Bailey for this anthology of writings.

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