Covering the “Joshua Generation”
This chapter explores how the term “post-racial” became widespread in dominant news discussions of politics and culture. Drawing on an exhaustive analysis of news items collected in the Lexis-Nexis news database, it illustrates how the term went from obscurity in the 1990s to a widely used framing device in the mid-2000s. Although “post-racial” is now a commonplace adjective used by journalists and pundits, what the term means remains controversial and in flux. The term accompanies discussions of whether pop culture consumption and racial intermarriage are clear markers of an imminent post-racial era, as commentators debated whether “Generation Millennial” would achieve “Dr. King's Dream” of a society where skin color is of no consequence. The chapter argues that while the debate over the term is healthy and necessary, applying “post-racial” could shut down many productive avenues for public discussion.
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