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11/14/2009

Goodbye and Thank You

This is our final offering of THIS WEEK IN RACE. After more than three years and 165 offerings, we say farewell for now and urge our readers to continue to be meaningfully engaged in issues that reside at the intersection of race, politics and language.

Others Have Stepped Up

Partly because we have never taken advertising in this space and partly because of our interest in collaboration and solidarity with those who share a vision of a more racially just nation and world, we have never been interested in "competing" with any of the other bloggers. To the contrary, we try to promote others in as many ways as we can. Many of of our colleagues write daily or several times a day, and almost all of them have significantly more readers than we do. We have always told ourselves (and each other) that if only one person was positively affected by the work that we did here each week, it was worth it. We still feel that way, but there are so many other places where folks can learn about the complexities of these issues that we do not feel as if we are letting our readers down by bowing out now.

Filling Gaps

Scholarship is all about filling "gaps." Researchers and theorists build off one another's work to push forward the state of knowledge. Accordingly, we started this blog to fill a gap. Those of you who have been with us from the beginning will recall that we used to strive to incorporate the major stories that happened each week so that our readers were aware of what was going on with respect to issues of race and politics. That is something that we feel as if we still do well, but our Facebook Page and Twitter feed serve that purpose today. When Barack Obama emerged as a contender for the presidency in 2007, there was a noticeable spike in online content about race and politics. It is more important than ever to have that compiled in one location so folks know where to turn. In this way, the RaceProject is still unique and valuable, but shifts in the way folks get information have led us to fill this gap in other ways.

The other major purpose of TWIR was to apply scholarship in academic areas as diverse as communication, sociology, anthropology, political science and psychology to current events. While there may not be a precise substitution for that, there are a number of scholars who are making research relevant to folks who are interested in issues of racial justice. We will keep the Resources page of our website up-to-date, and we will continue to update the blogroll on the right-hand column of this space. It is worth noting that when we began writing here in September of 2006 -- five years after the founding of the RaceProject -- there were very few scholars who had blogs, very few blogs about race relations, and almost no Internet writing that featured a combination of both -- certainly not on a regular basis. As we approach 2010, the landscape has changed significantly. There are thoughtful folks -- many of them academics -- who are able to offer thoughtful, informed analysis in a timely fashion. By the time the end of the week rolls around, we are finding that there is not much more that we could add without sacrificing quality (which we are not willing to do). In short, there is not really a need for what we do here on a weekly basis.

We will continue to do what others do not. For instance, we will continue to provide guides to some of the major academic conferences so folks interested in these issues can navigate those meetings. When appropriate, we will write about what others do not, cannot or will not. We will publish here and/or in our space at Op-Ed News, and Charlton will continue to write for theGrio.

Time Crunch

Finally, the reality is that for well over a year, writing this entry each week has been a bit of a burden for us. We enjoy sharing our thoughts, and each note we get from appreciative teachers, students and folks from all sorts of places have helped to propel us along. For that reason, we are a bit sad about saying goodbye. But we spent a good bit of time together in Chicago this weekend thinking and talking about this, and we decided that, even if it does not seem that way now, our contribution to the broader conversation is better served with this decision.

We have our hands full with our traditional scholarly responsibilities, and while we are both tenured, we have professional obligations that must be (and should be) addressed with our full attention. We have a co-edited textbook to finish in the next few months, and we are putting the finishing touches on Race Appeal, the first book from the RaceProject, which will be published next year by Temple University Press. We are both teaching full time, of course, and the Facebook page and Twitter feed have created additional demands for our attention. We very much want (and expect) to finish the compilation of our congressional election database -- the most comprehensive of its kind to be made publicly available -- by 2011 (the 10th anniversary of the RaceProject), and we expect that the requests for us to speak at colleges and universities across the country will increase in the next twelve months with the 2010 election season and the emergence of Race Appeal.

With only 24 hours in the day, we are very concerned about making sure that we are attentive to our families, too -- a concern that increases with each new element of the RaceProject.

This Ain't a Retirement!

We will continue to keep this blog active so that the archives are available and that there is a place for us to write on occasion when we feel that there is a gap that needs to be filled. We will change the name to THIS SPACE FOR RACE, and we will continue to host This GUEST on Race.

We encourage you to stay connected with us by becoming a fan on Facebook and/or following us on Twitter. If you do not use either of those, you can subscribe to the content that goes out on Facebook and Twitter by clicking here and adding us to your favorite RSS reader. Please follow our Twitter friends, fan the Facebook pages that we have "favorited," and visit to the blogs that we list here and on our website. Look for our books next year, and please do not hesitate to contact us if you would like us to come to speak at your high school, college or university.

We are not disappearing; to the contrary, we may be more visible than ever. It is just that the evolution of online communities and the proliferation of thoughtful discussion about these issues have rendered this space a less valuable place for us to appear regularly.

Thank You

Thank you all so very much for the loving support, which includes your honest and challenging criticism, over the years. Thanks for sharing this blog with your friends, colleagues and family. Thanks for leaving thoughtful comments. Thank you for the re-tweets and for re-posting to your Facebook wall. Thank you for the "attaboy" emails and for the tough questions that forced us to work harder. We wish you all the best and hope to see you soon in these other spaces.

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