In 2007, the one-named, author and television commentator Touré headed out on a skydiving adventure as part of a program called, “I’ll try anything once.” Along the way, the skydiving group stopped for lunch. Some African-American patrons recognized Toure, who is of that same race. Upon learning of his planned adventure, one of them whispered to him, “Black people don’t do that.” It was according to Touré another epic moment of recognition, so to speak, that he was breaking the “rules of being black.” But on he went to his adventure. While floating through the air without anything to hang on to, Touré said he experienced the most “deeply spiritual moment” of his life. It occurred to him that he was but “a speck of dust,” in God’s world. It was as if he’d gone skydiving and ended up in church. Upon later reflection, Touré concluded that if he had allowed himself to be limited by certain perceived rules of what Black people should or should not do, he would have robbed himself of the most spiritual moment of his life.
Touré’s most recent work, “Who’s Afraid of Post-Blackness,” explores the idea that Black Americans do not want to be limited by “the self-appointed identity cops.” These are scholars, critics and others who argue that certain behaviors and attitudes are beyond the boundaries of what a Black person should do. According to him, we are living in an era of “Post-Blackness” where there are no such things as Black ways of being, or speaking, or behaving. While race does inform a person’s life, he says, it’s not the same as race being a limiting factor in a person’s choices. It’s common among the identity cops to think that perhaps a hip-hop artist is more Black than a conservative politician. But says, Touré, all who share the racial identity are equally Black and they should not be “bullied” for expressing themselves in ways that are not traditionally or historically associated with their race. It is an interesting discourse.