by Emily Wilson
In his latest book, “Who We Be: The Colorization of America,” which was published in October, Chang examines how Americans view race and how our visual culture has changed. The author probes conversations about race that happened in “Wee Pals” in the 1960s, multiculturalism in art and pop culture, the conservative backlash against it, multiculturalism as a marketing tool (“United Colors of Benetton” ads, for example), and the images in President Barack Obama’s first campaign, such as the iconic Shepard Fairey “HOPE” poster. He argues that our images show more cultural desegregation, while segregation rates are actually rising in housing and schools.
Chang, who is also the executive director of the Institute for Diversity in the Arts at Stanford University, recently sat down with Truthdig to discuss his new book and the challenges it raises.