Showing My Color: Impolite Essays on Race in America

Clarence Page, Author
Clarence Page, Author HarperCollins Publishers $23 (0p) ISBN 978-0-06-017256-5
Reviewed on: 03/01/1999
Release date: 03/01/1999
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-0-06-092801-8
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-694-51647-6
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Despite the title, this book contains far more about race than gender, and Page, a syndicated columnist based at the Chicago Tribune, is not so much impolite as pragmatic, a skeptical liberal whose views are shaped by experience. Thus, while he recognizes the value of blacks-only organizations and warns that many who call for integration really want assimilation, he also fears that a wholesale retreat into blackness harms black folk. He observes trenchantly that Nation of Islam minister Louis Farrakhan succeeds by wrapping middle-class values ""in the trappings of the racial outlaw."" Though he'd hardly say that racism and black rage have dissipated, Page also argues that the worst problem facing black Americans is the ""failure . . . to take advantage of opportunities that already have opened up."" He also analyzes pressures facing middle-class blacks, touches on the relations between blacks and Jews, defends affirmative action and muses on the prospects of a miscegenated America. The book is billed as original essays, but it sometimes reads like blenderized columns, lucid but less compelling than it could be. (Feb.)
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