Dyson reveals the pernicious influence of racial thinking across the broad canvas of American social and cultural life, from the disjunction between how whites and blacks view the world, to the way perceptions of black masculinity thwart black leadership, to the politics of nostalgia that keeps us looking to an imaginary past rather than creating ...
Dyson reveals the pernicious influence of racial thinking across the broad canvas of American social and cultural life, from the disjunction between how whites and blacks view the world, to the way perceptions of black masculinity thwart black leadership, to the politics of nostalgia that keeps us looking to an imaginary past rather than creating a positive future. Through painful examples drawn from within the black community - sexual conflict in the black church, the myth of the "head Negro, " relations between black men and women - he depicts our ongoing failure to break free of the rule of race. "In a color-blind society, we can only see black and white, " warns Dyson as he argues for color consciousness informed by history and shaped by hope. Provocative and compelling, Race Rules is the most important work to date from the "hiphop intellectual" who stands at the forefront of his generation of black public thinkers.
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Publishers Weekly, 1997-08-18 The author exposes the tacit understandings that undermine race relations. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Publishers Weekly, 1996-08-12 In this somewhat disjointed essay collection, Dyson (Between God and Gangsta Rap) argues that "we haven't learned our lessons" about racial etiquette. This ordained minister writes with rhythm and power, even if he sometimes travels well-trod ground, as when he teases out the racial ironies and subtexts in the O.J. Simpson case or analyzes the respective appeals of Colin Powell and Louis Farrakhan. Dyson also presents a self-indulgent essay on black public intellectuals; while he cogently explains this recent phenomenon, he goes on to offer tongue-in-cheek "awards" to various intellectuals and their critics. Much more interesting is his exploration of the tension between black sexuality and the black church, in which he argues that the church must develop "a theology of eroticism" to supplant "guilty repression or gutless promiscuity." Dyson, who is in his mid-30s, lectures his elders that the criticism rap music generates was once faced by jazz; he goes on to dispute Cornel West's attack on black nihilism by urging a focus on how power in the inner cities has shifted to a dangerous "juvenocracy." A final essay on Waiting to Exhale seems a throwaway, but before that, Dyson thoughtfully urges black leaders to "transform" race, to challenge white supremacy and black orthodoxy and to link to "other forms of political resistance." Author tour. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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