A Harvard Law professor and best-selling author presents essays on the complex relationship between the 44th President and his African-American constituency, addressing such topics as Obama's responsibilities to citizens of different races and the nature of racial opposition to him. Reprint.
Timely—as the 2012 presidential election nears—and controversial, here is the first book by a major African-American public intellectual on racial politics and the Obama presidency. Renowned for his cool reason vis-à-vis the pitfalls and clichés of racial discourse, Randall Kennedy—Harvard professor of law and author of the New York Times best seller Nigger: The Strange Career of a Troublesome Word—gives us a keen and shrewd analysis of the complex relationship between the first black president and his African-American constituency. Kennedy tackles such hot-button issues as the nature of racial opposition to Obama, whether Obama has a singular responsibility to African Americans, electoral politics and cultural chauvinism, black patriotism, the differences in Obama’s presentation of himself to blacks and to whites, the challenges posed by the dream of a postracial society, and the far-from-simple symbolism of Obama as a leader of the Joshua generation in a country that has elected only three black senators and two black governors in its entire history. Eschewing the critical excesses of both the left and the right, Kennedy offers a gimlet-eyed view of Obama’s triumphs and travails, his strengths and weaknesses, as they pertain to the troubled history of race in America. From the Hardcover edition.
A Harvard Law professor and best-selling author presents essays on the complex relationship between the 44th President and his African-American constituency, addressing such topics as Obama's responsibilities to citizens of different races and the nature of racial opposition to him.
Eduardo Bonilla-Silva’s acclaimed Racism without Racists is a provocative book that explodes the belief that America is now a color-blind society. The fifth edition includes a new chapter addressing what readers can do to confront racism, new material on the racial climate post-Obama, new coverage of the Black Lives Matter movement, and more.
Author: Gregory Howard Williams
Release Date: 1996-02-01
Genre: Social Science
Winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize “A triumph of storytelling as well as a triumph of spirit.”—Alex Kotlowitz, award-winning author of There Are No Children Here As a child in 1950s segregated Virginia, Gregory Howard Williams grew up believing he was white. But when the family business failed and his parents’ marriage fell apart, Williams discovered that his dark-skinned father, who had been passing as Italian-American, was half black. The family split up, and Greg, his younger brother, and their father moved to Muncie, Indiana, where the young boys learned the truth about their heritage. Overnight, Greg Williams became black. In this extraordinary and powerful memoir, Williams recounts his remarkable journey along the color line and illuminates the contrasts between the black and white worlds: one of privilege, opportunity and comfort, the other of deprivation, repression, and struggle. He tells of the hostility and prejudice he encountered all too often, from both blacks and whites, and the surprising moments of encouragement and acceptance he found from each. Life on the Color Line is a uniquely important book. It is a wonderfully inspiring testament of purpose, perseverance, and human triumph. “Heartbreaking and uplifting… a searing book about race and prejudice in America… brims with insights that only someone who has lived on both sides of the racial divide could gain.”—Cleveland Plain Dealer From the Trade Paperback edition.
Author: Jennifer Lynn Stoever
Publisher: NYU Press
Release Date: 2016-11-15
Genre: Literary Criticism
Race is a visual phenomenon, the ability to see “difference.” At least that is what conventional wisdom has lead us to believe. Yet, The Sonic Color Line argues that American ideologies of white supremacy are just as dependent on what we hear—voices, musical taste, volume—as they are on skin color or hair texture. Reinforcing compelling new ideas about the relationship between race and sound with meticulous historical research, Jennifer Lynn Stoever helps us to better understand how sound and listening not only register the racial politics of our world, but actively produce them. Through analysis of the historical traces of sounds of African American performers, Stoever reveals a host of racialized aural representations operating at the level of the unseen—the sonic color line—and exposes the racialized listening practices she figures as “the listening ear.” Using an innovative multimedia archive spanning 100 years of American history (1845-1945) and several artistic genres—the slave narrative, opera, the novel, so-called “dialect stories,” folk and blues, early sound cinema, and radio drama—The Sonic Color Line explores how black thinkers conceived the cultural politics of listening at work during slavery, Reconstruction, and Jim Crow. By amplifying Harriet Jacobs, Frederick Douglass, Elizabeth Taylor Greenfield, Charles Chesnutt, The Fisk Jubilee Singers, Ann Petry, W.E.B. Du Bois, and Lena Horne as agents and theorists of sound, Stoever provides a new perspective on key canonical works in African American literary history. In the process, she radically revises the established historiography of sound studies. The Sonic Color Line sounds out how Americans have created, heard, and resisted “race,” so that we may hear our contemporary world differently.
It’s “the nuclear bomb of racial epithets,” a word that whites have employed to wound and degrade African Americans for three centuries. Paradoxically, among many black people it has become a term of affection and even empowerment. The word, of course, is nigger, and in this candid, lucidly argued book the distinguished legal scholar Randall Kennedy traces its origins, maps its multifarious connotations, and explores the controversies that rage around it. Should blacks be able to use nigger in ways forbidden to others? Should the law treat it as a provocation that reduces the culpability of those who respond to it violently? Should it cost a person his job, or a book like Huckleberry Finn its place on library shelves? With a range of reference that extends from the Jim Crow south to Chris Rock routines and the O. J. Simpson trial, Kennedy takes on not just a word, but our laws, attitudes, and culture with bracing courage and intelligence.
In Interracial Intimacies, Randall Kennedy hits a nerve at the center of American society: race relations and our most intimate ties to each other. Writing with the same piercing intelligence he brought to his national bestseller Nigger: The Strange Career of a Troublesome Word, Kennedy here challenges us to examine how prejudices and biases still fuel fears and inform our sexual, marital, and family choices. Analyzing the tremendous changes in the history of America’s racial dynamics, Kennedy takes us from the injustices of the slave era up to present-day battles over race matching adoption policies, which seek to pair children with adults of the same race. He tackles such subjects as the presence of sex in racial politics, the historic role of legal institutions in policing racial boundaries, and the real and imagined pleasures that have attended interracial intimacy. A bracing, much-needed look at the way we have lived in the past, Interracial Intimacies is also a hopeful book, offering a potent vision of our future as a multiracial democracy.
Author: Daniel Bernardi
Release Date: 2007-09-12
Genre: Performing Arts
The Persistence of Whiteness investigates the representation and narration of race in contemporary Hollywood cinema. Ideologies of class, ethnicity, gender, nation and sexuality are central concerns as are the growth of the business of filmmaking. Focusing on representations of Black, Asian, Jewish, Latina/o and Native Americans identities, this collection also shows how whiteness is a fact everywhere in contemporary Hollywood cinema, crossing audiences, authors, genres, studios and styles. Bringing together essays from respected film scholars, the collection covers a wide range of important films, including Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, The Color Purple, Star Wars and The Lord of the Rings. Essays also consider genres from the western to blaxploitation and new black cinema; provocative filmmakers such as Melvin Van Peebles and Steven Spielberg and stars including Whoopi Goldberg and Jennifer Lopez. Daniel Bernardi provides an in-depth introduction, comprehensive bibliography and a helpful glossary of terms, thus providing students with an accessible and topical collection on race and ethnicity in contemporary cinema.
Author: Mehrsa Baradaran
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Release Date: 2017-09-14
Genre: Business & Economics
In 1863 black communities owned less than 1 percent of total U.S. wealth. Today that number has barely budged. Mehrsa Baradaran pursues this wealth gap by focusing on black banks. She challenges the myth that black banking is the solution to the racial wealth gap and argues that black communities can never accumulate wealth in a segregated economy.
Author: Michael K. Brown
Publisher: Univ of California Press
Release Date: 2003-09-18
Genre: Social Science
The myth of a color-blind society is deconstructed in this powerful new look at race in America that consults sociologists, economists, criminologists, political scientists, and legal scholars in the search for answers to why so many white Americans think racism is no longer a problem. (Social Science)
Author: Imani Perry
Publisher: NYU Press
Release Date: 2011-02-28
For a nation that often optimistically claims to be post-racial, we are still mired in the practices of racial inequality that plays out in law, policy, and in our local communities. One of two explanations is often given for this persistent phenomenon: On the one hand, we might be hypocritical—saying one thing, and doing or believing another; on the other, it might have little to do with us individually but rather be inherent to the structure of American society. More Beautiful and More Terrible compels us to think beyond this insufficient dichotomy in order to see how racial inequality is perpetuated. Imani Perry asserts that the U.S. is in a new and distinct phase of racism that is “post-intentional”: neither based on the intentional discrimination of the past, nor drawing upon biological concepts of race. Drawing upon the insights and tools of critical race theory, social policy, law, sociology and cultural studies, she demonstrates how post-intentional racism works and maintains that it cannot be addressed solely through the kinds of structural solutions of the Left or the values arguments of the Right. Rather, the author identifies a place in the middle—a space of “righteous hope”—and articulates a notion of ethics and human agency that will allow us to expand and amplify that hope. To paraphrase James Baldwin, when talking about race, it is both more terrible than most think, but also more beautiful than most can imagine, with limitless and open-ended possibility. Perry leads readers down the path of imagining the possible and points to the way forward.
Author: Robert Wald Sussman
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Release Date: 2014-10-06
Genre: Social Science
Although eugenics is now widely discredited, some groups and individuals claim a new scientific basis for old racist assumptions. Pondering the continuing influence of racist research and thought, despite all evidence to the contrary, Robert Sussman explains why—when it comes to race—too many people still mistake bigotry for science.