Friday, November 6, 2009

Books on race that also deserve "the treatment"

This week, The Root published a Top-10 list by John McWhorter on books on race that haven't received "the treatment" (Oprah, The New York Times, etc.), and that should be more widely read. Whorter writes:
And for every book on any subject that gets “the treatment,” there are a couple of others that get lost in the shuffle—and it’s not always because they aren’t equally worthy of attention. This is certainly true of race books.
Here are a few (among many) related UMP titles we recommend:

We Are All Moors: Ending Centuries of Crusades against Muslim and Other Minorities, by Anouar Majid. Argues that the roots of the current climate of xenophobia in America lies in the history of the conflict between Muslims and Christians in the U.S. and Europe. Majid places the figure of the Moor as a metaphor for all minority people on the margins of the political, cultural, and economic mainstream.

The New Nativism: Proposition 187 and the Debate over Immigration, by Robin Dale Jacobson. Examines the controversy and legacy of Proposition 187, California's ballot initiative seeking to deny social services to immigrants. Moving beyond inflammatory headlines and polarizing rhetoric, Jacobson reveals that it is not so much prejudice but the very act of defining race that lies at the center of modern American politics.

Jim Crow Nostalgia: Reconstructing Race in Bronzeville, by Michelle R. Boyd. Using two years of ethnographic research in Chicago's Bronzeville neighborhood, Boyd examines how "blackness" is used by African-American community leaders in redevelopment efforts of the region and in prioritizing their interests in community conflicts. Boyd seeks to develop a framework for understanding the contemporary significance of blackness and its impact on politics. (2009 Best Book Award from the APSA Organized Section on Race, Ethnicity, and Politics)

Listen to the Lambs, by Johnny Otis, with foreword by George Lipsitz. In his foreword, Lipsitz illustrates connections between the lessons that could have been learned through Otis's account of the 1965 Watts riots in Los Angeles and the cost of that squandering evidenced in the response to Hurricane Katrina.

Revolutionaries to Race Leaders: Black Power and the Making of African American Politics, by Cedric Johnson. Exploring the major political and intellectual currents from the Black Power era to the present, Cedric Johnson reveals how black political life gradually conformed to liberal democratic capitalism and how the movement’s most radical aims -- the rejection of white aesthetic standards, redefinition of black identity, solidarity with the Third World, and anticapitalist revolution -- were gradually eclipsed by more moderate aspirations. (Winner of the National Conference of Black Political Scientists' W. E. B. Du Bois Book Award)

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