Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Democracy in Black (BOOK REVIEW)

Democracy in Black
How Race Still Enslaves the American Soul
by Eddie S. Glaude, Jr.
Crown Publishers
Hardcover, $26.00
286 pages
ISBN: 978-0-8041-3741-6

Book Review by Kam Williams

America's promise has always rung hollow in the the ears of African-Americans, but today the situation has grown even more dire. From the murders of black youth by the police to the dismantling of the Voting Rights Act to the disaster visited upon poor and middle-class black families by the Great Recession, it is clear that black America faces an emergency...
Democracy in Black is Eddie S. Glaude, Jr.'s impassioned response.Part manifesto, part history, part memoir, it argues that we live in a country founded on a 'value gap'--with white lives valued more than others...
Whether discussing why all Americans have racial habits that reinforce inequality, why black politics based on the civil rights era have reached a dead end, or why only remaking democracy from the ground up can bring real change, Glaude crystallizes the untenable position of black America----and offers thoughts on a better way forward”
-- Excerpted from the Bookjacket

Because the Founding Fathers saw fit to weave slavery right into the very fabric of the nation via the Constitution, many a historian has seen fit to refer to that evil institution as America's original sin. Unfortunately, inequality between black and white has somehow persisted way past emancipation, despite pronouncements by political pundits that the election of the first black President had issued in a promising, post-racial era.

That is the contention of Princeton Professor Eddie Glaude who argues that the fundamental notion that "all men are created equal" was perverted ab initio by the fact that some were always valued less than others in the U.S. because of the color of their skin. In his new book, Democracy in Black, he indicts a malingering white supremacy that he sees as standing between blacks and the proverbial American Dream. 
Instead of improving race relations, the author believes that Barack Obama's ascension to the presidency has only served to embolden bigots. As proof, he points to "the increase in explicit racism" reflected in "the deaths of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Sandra Bland, and so many others." 
Glaude also talks about the widening wealth gap between blacks and whites which has left the African-American community devastated. Home foreclosures, poverty and an astronomical unemployment rate are just a few of the host of woes visited upon the 'hood. 
In allocating blame, the author places a fair share of it on the shoulders of the President, whom he refers to as a confidence man. "In 2008 and again in 2012, Obama sold black America the snake oil of hope and change," he laments. Glaude is just as disappointed with those liberal black politicians who "refused to criticize the President" out of fear of appearing disloyal. 
The upshot, he concludes, is that black America is far worse off now than before November of 2008, and that the solution resides in a grassroots uprising independent of "the confidence men and their false hopes." That being said, in spite of the dire data, Glaude maintains an abiding faith that we are going to transform this nation via a revolution of value. 
In sum, a highly-motivated Ivory Tower academic's sobering clarion call to action and affirmation of the aspirations of the Black Lives Matter movement.

To order a copy of Democracy in Black, visit:

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