Everybody is YouTubing Barack Obama's March 18 speech about racial politics partly because it was one of the most nuanced political speeches in recent memory, but also because he played the futurist card. He talked about his own racially-mixed family, and speculated about how mixed-race community and people represent the future of the United States. He described several ways that racial reconciliation of the future could begin on a foundation of mixed-race identity. What do you think of this style of futurism? By answering, you can help an undergrad at the University of Arkansas, who wrote in to pose a question about Afrofuturism.
Obama's rhetoric calls to mind the tradition of Afrofuturism, in which writers, artists, and creators mingle traditional African culture with futuristic imagery and ideas. We've written about Afrofuturism at io9 before, in our interview with Junie from P-Funk. And Octavia Butler, whose book Kindred we recommended as one of twenty that could change your life, has written a series of books that deal with Afrofuturist themes (Wild Seed, Mind of My Mind, and Patternmaster).