Teresa Wiltz

Teresa Wiltz has developed a nationally-respected reputation for her influential work, especially as it relates to issues surrounding race. She has written about these issues for many top publications, including The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Root, The Guardian and Politico. She is the author of two widely-read books, including her memoir.

Teresa Wiltz on Gen Jones:
Tereza strongly self-identifies as a member of Generation Jones. In October 2020, she wrote in a feature essay in Politico titled “How ‘Generation Jones’ Shaped Kamala Harris”: “The VP candidate grew up in a cultural moment that demanded a foot in different worlds. Is that a strength or a weakness now?…Kamala Harris is a Prince fan, and while you may think you already know a lot about her, her adoration of the Purple One is truly all you need to understand her in the context of 2020’s political craziness. She grew up in a subgeneration of integration babies, sandwiched between Boomers and Gen Xers, post civil rights, witnesses to hip-hop’s earliest days…At age 55, the child of intellectuals in Northern California, she’s part of a cohort often ignored by demographers, Generation Jones, those of us who came of age during the Reagan years. We missed out on the Black Power Movement, the sexual revolution and women’s lib, Vietnam and Woodstock. All this shapes Harris the politician, for good and for not-so-good. As a Generation Joneser, she’s the Jan Brady of American politics, the perpetual middle child, wondering why we can’t all get along. And tonight, on the debate stage, facing off against Vice President Mike Pence, another (older) Joneser, she’ll be trying to thread a needle that’s getting harder to thread every year… Like Harris, I’m a middle-class Generation Joneser, a Black preppie who also swore allegiance to his Purple Majesty…Compromise and consensus are a key personality trait of Generation Jonesers, particularly among Jonesers of color, said Jonathan Pontell, a social generation expert, who coined the phrase. But that compromising nature, in this era of political extremes, can seem out of step, something for which both Harris and Obama have faced criticism…Jonesers, he said, were weaned on idealism as kids in the ’70s, only to be confronted as young adults with the money-hungry cynicism of the ’80s. We were the guinea pigs living through the real changes effected by the turmoil of the ’60s, turmoil we were too young to understand. As integration babies, Black Jonesers were raised with high expectations, expected to excel, to bust ceilings…Prince knew all this, tapping into the angst of a subgeneration. He always looked askance at the poor hand we’d been dealt, but he hid from the world, choosing to shroud himself in mystery.”

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