Reflections on Race, Politics and Social Change
by Clarence Page
Book Review by Kam Williams
“These pages represent some of the valuable lessons I’ve learned about people and media over the past three decades. Among them:
1) Politics is more than a game.
2) Nothing lights a spark under news media or politics like race.
3) New media and targeted marketing have reversed the traditional role of media as a cultural unifier.
4) Political polarization encourages a new moral tribalization.
5) Many of the most talked-about news issues since the 1960s have been what I call gaffe scandals.”
-- Excerpted from the Introduction (pages 20-21)
Fans of Sunday morning TV talk shows undoubtedly recognize Clarence Page as a regular on The McLaughlin Group where he participates in the program’s spirited banter about the prevailing political issues of the day. But he is also a Pulitzer Prize-winning syndicated columnist in his own right who has been on the staff of the Chicago Tribune since 1969.
Over the years, Clarence has opined on everything from Thurgood Marshall to Clarence Thomas; from the use of the N-word to political correctness; and from Dr. Martin Luther King to President Barack Obama. Now, he has compiled an opus containing selected opinion pieces published over the past three decades.
Clarence takes pride in the fact that his articles enjoy a broad appeal, a reflection of his sterling reputation as an impartial pundit willing to criticize folks on either side of the aisle as he sees fit. On the one hand, he might indict Ronald Reagan for playing the race card by invoking the image of “welfare queens” to curry the favor of rednecks during the 1980 presidential campaign. On the other, he’ll point out how, during the 2008 campaign, Obama declared, “Race is an issue that I believe this nation cannot afford to ignore,” only to proceed to do just that once he got into office.
Again and again, the insightful author weighs-in in a pleasant fashion reflective of an introspective, enlightened than one with an ax to grind. A refreshingly-mellow, measured and moderate voice of reason all too rare in these divisive days of snarky, gotcha political rhetoric.
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