Ask Jenée Desmond-Harris Anything

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(The Root) — Hi, I'm Jenée Desmond-Harris, The Root's staff writer and Race Manners advice columnist. I've been writing about the intersection of race with politics, culture and identity (and sometimes just stuff black people do) for The Root for a couple of years.


So I split my time pretty evenly between being outraged and laughing hysterically.

Ironically, given my own appearance, I'm infamous among our staff for failing to pick up on when people are black. (Chris Humphries?! That was news to me a little while ago.) 

I think there's a place for curiosity and fun when discussing topics that tend to bring out the worst in people.  

I've broken down why your blackface Halloween costume isn't funny, explored the implications of the country's changing demographics and tracked the most outrageous and hateful evidence of not-at-all-postracial America. I keep up with issues from voting rights to the Travyon Martin case, to the "racist" jewelry items that pop up every season. (Seriously, why do they keep making that stuff?)

Recently, in my Race Manners column, I've been weighing in on touchy questions about things like the relative cuteness of biracial kids, what it means if you think all Asian people look alike and what to do about a "ghetto" name.

My most overused line is probably "The real question is … " I find a way to work the idea that race is a social construct into everything (seriously, everything, everything, everything). My least favorite question is "Why does it have to be about race?" But it's kind of my favorite question, too, because as long as people don't get it, I know I'll still have a job.


Join me on Thursday, May 16, at 1 p.m EDT on Reddit, where I'll be happy to answer whatever questions you have about The Root, the ethics and etiquette of racial interactions, whether you're a bigot, curly-hair products that I've tried with varying degrees of success, affirmative action or anything else on your mind.