THE BLOG
03/21/2010 05:12 am ET Updated 6 days ago

The 2020 Project: At the Intersection of Identity Politics & Pop Culture

When Barack Obama was elected president, many prematurely proclaimed it marked the beginning of a post-racial America. One could argue that Millennials are the most cohesive generation in our nation's history to date, however it's clear that there is much work to do in the effort to secure equal opportunities for the communities that comprise us.

In this third segment of The 2020 Project, in which I'm asking 25 of the most dynamic Millennials I know in politics, media and technology to share their perfect vision for the next decade, I talk with my good friend and Disgrasian.com co-founder, Diana Nguyen. Diana also managed Hollywood TV legend Norman Lear's Declare Yourself voter engagement group during the 2008 election and is a veteran of many political campaigns.

The sassy tagline at Disgrasian is, "You're a disgrace. To the race." I've always thought its sentiment - and Diana's site itself - are an apt statement about where the Millennial generation stands. As the product of many empowering civil rights struggles and living now in an era of substantial victories, we are in a position to push debate and policy in a new direction, and we often test these strategies by using pop culture to communicate our ideas and garner support among our peers.

In this segment, Diana and I explore the continued importance of expressing one's identity (even in the Obama Era!) and the accessibility of blogs and social media that allow individuals to accomplish this. Within that framework, we tackle the growing responsibility of so-called "regular people" to spark conversations and engage their peers on the issues they care about, as opposed to the long-standing practice by many noble organizations of relying on celebrity spokespeople to deliver a message that will resonate. How does this change our art? Our culture? Our need to "brand" ourselves and garner 15 minutes of fame?

Likewise, it's not enough to make statements without action. On the verge of hugely important midterm elections, what has our generation learned about taking our complaints to the voting booth? Will we show our elected officials in November and beyond that the diverse generation who voted for change will also demand policies that secure equality going forward?

Listen here.

Listen to previous 2020 Project interviews here:

Michael Skolnik, Political Director to Russell Simmons and Editor, GlobalGrind.com
Jon Henke, GOP new media strategist and co-founder, TheNextRight.com