A well-meaning person suggested that it's not a good idea for me to link to this blog from Wikipedia. I replied:
I don't know what to tell you, I'm a primary source. I'm an eyewitness. It happened in my house. I haven't written a book, I've written a blog. I'm in a situation in which some reporter interviews me and the newspaper article is considered more credible than my own memory, even when they get subtle details incorrect. I imagine that if I were to write a book about Kwanzaa, that would be self-promotion. People will just have to read the material I present and judge for themselves, but there is no way the picture is complete without the detail I provide.
It's a queer situation in that being a primary source is never quite useful as one might think. I mean if it weren't for Juan Williams we would not have Eyes on the Prize. So which comes first, the interviewer or the interviewee? I leave that question for journalism students. As you see, I'm a blogger and my mind is already made up. I know what I know and I self-represent. I am, by dint of my experience and the context of my life, biased and informed. You can't get one without the other. While I recognize and respect the need for Wikipedia to appear unbiased as a reference, I cannot help but notice how this need shapes what is considered relevant. It seems to me that the best history and anthropology seeks to restore context, but I'm not going to wait for some research student's attempts try to breathe life into an otherwise bloodless text 50 years after I'm dead.
I can recall a huge debate I had several years ago with David Horowitz over in Salon before he got Front Page. We were discussing the implications of the LA Riots. I said something then that I regret now. I told him that his interpretations were so off-base that I could care less if he never got it right. It was a very disrespectful dismissal and something my arrogance had done before and would replicate again. Despite our differences, Horowitz acknowledged my persuasiveness and quality as a writer and even went on to suggest that I should apply for my own grants from Sciafe. I dismissed the notion but remembered the compliment. I don't feel particularly bad about my disagreement with Horowitz, but what I would do differently today is be more serious about my concern for his knowledge. This is something I say I officially learned this year but has been a lesson a long time coming. One should always pay attention to the quality of one's enemies, which is to say one should never be so lazy as to allow those opposed to you believe lies when the truth is at your disposal.
It is in this spirit that I defend Kwanzaa. It is in this spirit that I represent as a black man. I never say that what I know is something you can't understand, because it always implies that I'm either incapable or unwilling to explain.
That's not to say that ignorant people don't try my patience or that dainty folks annoy me with their unwillingness to face ugly facts. It is to say that I make an honest effort, even if sometimes I repeat myself. It's important enough for me to be interested, therefore it's important enough for me to make clear.
I cannot know, nor will I presume to know exactly which Strunk or White is the perfect delivery vehicle for what the Maitres D'Wikipedia prefer. I'm not interested to know. In fact my line is quite clear. I will give you what I know to be true in my own words. I leave the metadata to others.